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Author: Max Liu (Co-founder, CEO at PingCAP)

2021 has finally drawn to an end. As everyone begins to celebrate the beginning of the new year, I cannot help but reflect on our journey so far and the mission we are on. 

Like every other startup story, ours started more than 6.5 years ago when Ed, Dylan, and I were sick and tired of the way databases were managed, scaled, and maintained, while working at leading Internet companies. We knew that the MySQL scaling problem was a nightmare for many developers. Seeing no good solution on the market, we decided to build one by ourselves — and we did it as an open-source project in order to build trust, speed up product innovation, drive adoption and feedback, and pool talents.

As Charles Dickens mentioned in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The pandemic in the past two years threw the world into a situation that no one had previously anticipated, sparing no efforts trying to isolate the entire world and the entire human race. But, we humans never yield. We always find our ways to connect and we have now fundamentally transformed our lifestyle, our business styles, and our work style digitally. Now, we can talk to each other much more easily than ever before–just a click away!

These changes are giving rise to new challenges for decision-makers in every line of business, from C-level executives in large enterprises to startups entrepreneurs. As applications are becoming more and more data-intensive, unexpected traffic surges may suddenly hit their carefully designed monolithic architecture and hang their entire software stack. This would, unfortunately, result installed business growth and lost opportunities. 

These global innovators need an easy way to prepare for the unpredictable. And here at PingCAP, in everything we do, we are determined to make growth easier by gearing them up for the unpredictable world we live in. We built TiDB to be a scalable HTAP database so that you can have a single and real-time source of truth using SQL, the easiest language to make use of data; we created TiKV and donated it to CNCF, setting it up for being the infrastructure of infrastructure for the cloud-native world; as for Chaos Mesh, you can simulate all kinds of failures you can imagine to ensure the resilience of your system–you can break to better create!

I believe the world has changed to be incrementally better because of what we have done together, compared to where we started more than 6 years ago: TiDB, TiKV, TiDB Cloud, Chaos Mesh, DM, TiCDC, and the tools we built by ourselves are now widely adopted by thousands of companies in different industries, from social networks to core banking systems, helping countless developers around the world deliver highly scalable and resilient cloud-neutral applications. I’m proud of what we have done and we still have a long way to go. There are still countless developers struggling with outdated, complex and fragile databases and infrastructure stacks. We can help them. Fortunately, the Cloud era we are in makes it possible and easier for us to do this than for our predecessors. We can’t afford to fail and lose this opportunity. This is our mission. This is our time.

We aim to become the best and most admired infrastructure software company in the world by empowering engineers and enterprises to innovate with speed, agility, and scale. We are doing this by helping them build applications easily, thus transforming the world by improving the efficiency of data processing and applications. We want to make growth easier for the application developers, for the business owners, and for everyone in the data economy and ecosystem. I am lucky to have the trust and confidence from our community, our employees and their families, our customers and our investors.

While we are building the solutions to make growth easier for our users, adopters, and customers, we also want to make it easier for the personal growth of our contributors and our employees. 

I believe everyone is born different, and everyone deserves an opportunity to do what they love, no matter how under-represented they are. That’s why we are fully committed to the open-source community so that our contributions can be visible and available to anyone who needs it. That’s why we built open-source courses like Talent Plan so that whoever wants to build distributed systems using Rust or Go has the access required to learn, to try and to build. That’s also why we launched programs like Returnship to provide opportunities to those who had been out of the workforce and were ready to re-ignite their careers. We started small, and we will continue to do more by delivering even more compelling innovations.

Happy new year!

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