This monthly series spotlights an amazing member of the team here at Neato. We take a moment to get to know the people behind the scenes, the robots, and the business… Let’s meet our NEATONIANS!
Thompson Cai is an enthusiastic marketer with a likability that is infectious, and a sensibility that most of us could probably learn from. He manages all marketing and promotional campaigns for Neato in China and is currently working on the product launch campaign for the Neato D7, which will go live in that region in May.
Thompson is all business when it comes to his career, but nothing is more important to him than his growing family. Let’s dive in and learn more about Thompson.
I am expecting my first child in August, so I will celebrate both my wife and the baby. I am excited, but very nervous about having our first child!
— On expecting his first child
If you could throw any kind of party, what would it be for?
I would throw a party for my new baby. I am expecting my first child in August, so I will celebrate both my wife and the baby. I am excited but very nervous about having our first child! I am not sure about parenting, but yes, I would throw a party for them.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is of me spending time with my Grandpa. The memory in particular that I am quite fond of is of a trip we took together to Beijing City when I was just four years old. I remember this as the first time I ever flew in an airplane, and while in Beijing City we went to Tiananmen Square to see the rise of national flag early in the morning. I cried because I didn’t want to get up early, but my Grandpa held me in his arms for two hours… He never got mad. It was such a special time with him.
What is your favorite meal?
Homemade fried rice made by my grandma or my mom. It has bacon, eggs, special seasonings, and secret sauces that only they know about. I have no idea what is in it or how to cook it, but I love to eat it!
What is your greatest fear?
Right now, at this moment, I am afraid of becoming a parent. I want to be an amazing father, a great father, but I worry because I don’t want to let my wife or child down. Before knowing I was going to be a dad, I would say failing in my career here in China was a fear of mine.
When you have 30 minutes of free-time, how do you pass the time?
If it’s a weekend I will hang out with my wife and play with my cat, her name is Kitty. She was previously a street cat when we adopted her. She looks just like the cat in the Neato videos! Maybe in that time I will read a little to my wife, a book we recently read together was From Fish To Human: The March Of Vertebrate Life In China.
…I don’t know. 30 minutes goes by very fast. If this was 30 minutes of free-time once the baby is here, I will sleep!
Yellowstone was beautiful but very cold. I think if I had to recommend a stop along the trip it would be the Grand Tetons, it’s close to Yellowstone Park, and has beautiful mountains with snow and the most peaceful lake
— On driving from Los Angeles to Yellowstone National Park
What is your favorite indoor/outdoor activity?
Indoor, I like to play badminton. I don’t think it’s that popular in the US, but in China, most people love to play this game, especially the teenagers. It’s like tennis but quicker and harder to play.
Outdoor, I like driving. I have driven in the US about 4 times, the longest distance being from LA to Yellowstone Park, then to Salt Lake City and back. Yellowstone was beautiful but very cold. I think if I had to recommend a stop along the trip it would be the Grand Tetons, it’s close to Yellowstone Park, and has beautiful mountains with snow and the most peaceful lake… it was amazing there.
Do you do much driving in China?
Yes, I love cars! Before I joined Neato I was at Michelin for 5 and half years. I had the opportunity to drive a Formula 3 race car on the track, three times! That was amazing. I love to drive fast, but you must remember that safety comes first. Honestly, racing cars is a lot less scary then driving in the United States. I think everyone is speeding and driving crazy (laughs)… Where are the police? They never seem to be around to help regulate the speed.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
If I was not working for Neato….I would still focus on the eCommerce industry, which has been growing tremendously in China over the last 5 years. I would stay in marketing and continue to focus on the smart home category, which will be key for market growth in the future.
What’s your favorite karaoke song to sing?
“They Don’t Really Care About Us” by Michael Jackson
Imagine that we finish the interview and you step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
10 million… US dollars? That is a lot of money in China… I would donate 20% to Harvard or Stanford to help secure a permit for my child or children in the future. I would take another 10% to upgrade the lifestyle or quality of life of my parents, so they can travel the world and retire in comfort. For the last 70%, I would split it up and give 35% to my wife to establish a mutual fund—she is a mutual fund manager in China—and that way she can manage her own money and not have to worry about reporting to anyone, and the last 35%…. I will save it for a rainy day. The future is not certain, so I will hold on to it.