A letter from Tianqiao Chen and Chrissy Luo
Seventeen years ago, we established the very first virtual community for online gaming users. It blossomed to a community with more than 10 million users online at any given time, within just five years. Since then, we have taken this business to achieve great success which has brought us wealth and a deeper understanding of the world around us. Along our path toward success, many questions also emerged that we are still pondering today: Why do some participants react irrationally to the success or suffering experienced in the virtual world as if they were occurring in the real world? Why does the same stimulus lead to drastically different perceptions for different people? Why are we often hijacked by our own emotions which cause us to suffer, despite our ability to analyze and make rational judgments? In today’s world, we are surrounded by so much more material abundance than our ancestors. We can fly to the moon or dive into the deep sea, but do we feel freer? We can enjoy gourmet cuisine from all corners of the world, but do we feel happier? Does the world around us truly exist in reality or only in our mind’s perceptions? Over the years, these puzzling questions have enticed us to seek answers from multiple perspectives – philosophical, religious, scientific, etc. However, these attempts often left us even more perplexed.
These questions and contemplations accompanied us as we entered into our forties and started planning the next phase in our lives. In addition to our stewardship of Shanda to continuously innovate and operate efficiently, we are reflecting more than ever on how we can give back to society and contribute to the advancement of humanity in a meaningful way. These are questions with profound implications and also inspire a great deal of creativity and imagination. It has propelled us to march forward with the same passion as we did starting our first business seventeen years ago. As we did then, we found ourselves studying every sector that we may potentially venture into, developing various strategic plans from scratch, enjoying the excitement of victory in one moment and pondering over defeat in another. But we are certainly more fortunate today in that we are surrounded by many more wise and candid friends and mentors than we did seventeen years ago. They motivate and support us to pursue answers to these questions which entice and bewilder each and every one of us, with utmost courage and determination. We decided to make this the new goal in life for us – to be devoted to mankind’s never-ending efforts to deepen our understanding of the human brain and mind.
While making this decision was not easy for us, making this dream a reality will be even more difficult. As one of the most complex areas in science, the study of the brain is both alluring and daunting. We know that with this decision comes two inevitable challenges: Tremendous amounts of investment and prolonged time horizon to achieve the desired results. We are ready to confront these challenges with this declaration – We will dedicate our wealth to this cause and never stop until the mission is complete.
Improving the human experience through greater understanding of how our brains perceive, interpret and interact with the worldRead More