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Half an hour later, at the office building where the online authors’ class was being held…
Ma Yiqun led Pei Qian towards the ‘lockdown area’ that Zhongdian Chinese Network created.
Although Ma Yiqun had left this class entirely to Zhu Xingan, he had to personally tend to and report to Boss Pei now that the latter was here.
“Boss Pei, this is the plan for our class.
“This is a template of the agreement we have signed with the writers.
“This is the daily schedule…”
Ma Yiqun brought each set of documents before Boss Pei, looking and sounding very proud of himself. He was indeed quite proud because the figures and traffic for the website had evidently increased during this period!
If only one author had started uploading many chapters each day, it would probably only affect his own novel’s figures and have minimal effect on the website.
Yet, what if more authors started uploading multiple chapters each day?
Every now and then, the website would organize events that gave readers double the number of votes, or something similar, to motivate writers to upload more chapters and thus improve the traffic on the website.
Now, the class was causing the mid-tier writers to upload multiple chapters per day. Naturally, readers of each book were reading more regularly, and the website’s figures were improving.
“Boss Pei, these are the website’s increasing figures during this period. “These are feedback from the readers.
“All in all, the class has been a major success! It’s been a win-win situation for readers, writers, and the website alike!
“We’re planning to hold the next class immediately after this one ends. We’ll continue to accept new writers and turn these classes into the norm.
“Of course, at the end of the day, you were the one who pointed us in the right direction, Boss Pei!
“You were right. We can’t keep thinking about poaching novel gods over. We have to cultivate them on our own.
“I’ve thought about it already. Even if we poached novel gods from other websites and quoted them extremely high prices, the website would still have lacked the right environment and driving force to maintain the novel god’s popularity. “Now, the class is going to nurture novel gods. As long as we keep nurturing these mid-tier writers, I’m sure that our website would become better with each passing day. It would only be a matter of time before a novel god emerges from among these mid-tier writers!”
Pei Qian was speechless.
If Ma Yiqun had not said those things, Pei Qian would not have guessed that the problem had become that serious.
At that moment, the writers were still touring around Jingzhou with Zhu Xingan. They had not returned yet.
Thus, Pei Qian and Ma Yiqun could keep talking there without being interrupted. Pei Qian casually switched a computer on and realized that it entered the lockdown state automatically. There was no way anyone could do anything entertaining on this computer.
Then, he read the contents of the agreement…
As a slacker himself, Pei Qian’s heart turned cold at once.
This was a well-hidden trap!
Isn’t this akin to a factory that turns huge batches of slackers into hard workers?!
Pei Qian felt the urge to destroy this factory and free the captive writers based on upholding the Tengda spirit.
However, on further thought, he realized that he could not force his way through this problem.
That was because Ma Yiqun had stipulated that the writers were to work eight hours a day and not a single minute overtime!
In name, that had not gone against the Tengda spirit. Furthermore, the website was even providing food and accommodations, a basic salary, insurance, and funds. That was better treatment than most could ask for.
The only problem was probably the automatic lockdown state that the computers went into once they were switched on.
Pei Qian thought that he could start here.
However, he needed to find a logical reason to get rid of it. He needed the writers’ cooperation.
Without revealing his own thoughts, Pei Qian continued chatting with Ma Yiqun about other details of the class while waiting for the writers to return.
They had gone out at 1 PM. Pei Qian guessed that they would be back any time soon.
Soon after, they heard footsteps outside. “The famous historical sites in Jingzhou are quite ordinary. They don’t look that nice, but I did take a few photographs so that this wouldn’t become a wasted trip.”
“Fish-Catching Internet Cafe is not bad. Why haven’t I seen it in other cities?”
“Jingzhou seems like quite a livable city.”
The schedule for the afternoon had been quite simple. First, the writers went to Jingzhou’s few historical sites, which were not that well-known. There, they had a taste of Jingzhou’s history and culture. After that, they went to the nearest Fish-Catching Internet Cafe to rest.
Since the schedule was quite simple, nobody felt tired.
At that moment, the writers were walking back to the ‘lockdown area’ where they normally worked. That was when they realized that the door was open. Ma Yiqun was seated there with another young man.
Everyone paused and then greeted him one by one. “Boss Ma!”
Ma Yiqun smiled and stood up. “Did you have fun, everyone? Let me introduce all of you to this man. He is the President of Tengda, Boss Pei Qian. He came down today especially to visit all of you…”
As Ma Yiqun briefly introduced Boss Pei, everyone greeted him. He was the boss of their boss; of course, they had to be respectful.
Most of the writers did not know or care for the ways of the world. However, they still had basic manners.
Pei Qian did not care about those things either. He had waited all this time for a reason. Thus, he cut straight to the chase.
“You’ve been working hard during this period, everyone! If there’s any area in which we are lacking, please feel free to raise it up. We’ll correct it at once.
“What do you think about this online authors’ class? Has it been effective?”
Seeing how polite Boss Pei was being, everyone quickly replied, “Boss Pei, you’re too kind! Boss Ma has been taking extremely good care of us. We’re very thankful. Of course, we don’t have any complaints!”
“The class is very effective. We’ve been more creative, our lives have been more regulated, and our health has been improving. All in all, we’re very thankful to Boss Pei and the website for giving us the chance to attend this class!”
All the other writers expressed their agreement.
Pei Qian was speechless.
That was disappointing! Pei Qian had hoped that the writers would pick on the class’ problems. He only needed one writer to raise a single problem. Then, Pei Qian could use it as an excuse to make Ma Yiqun modify the class.
For example, one of the writers could say ‘we can’t play games or watch videos on our own computers, and it’s very inconvenient’. Then, Pei Qian would have a valid reason to ask Ma Yiqun to get rid of the lockdown state on the computers.
Yet, all the writers were only interested in sucking up to him!
Pei Qian had no words. However, the more those writers spoke that way, the more determined Pei Qian was to change things.
The class is proving so effective; that means I have to modify it all-the-more!
Pei Qian cleared his throat and gave them a hint. “I wonder if all of you have gotten used to the lockdown state in the computers. I think writing is a creative process. Would imposing a lockdown state kill your imagination and creativity?
“What if we get rid of it?”
Pei Qian had expected the writers to cheer and clap in agreement. Then, in the name of complying with the majority, Pei Qian could ask Ma Yiqun to get rid of the lockdown states in all the computers.
However, Pei Qian’s words had stunned a few of the writers in front of him. They began to shake their heads profusely. “Boss Pei, you mustn’t do that!
“The lockdown state helps us to keep away from distractions and improves our productivity. You can’t get rid of it!
“If you get rid of it, we wouldn’t be able to write eight to ten thousand words a day anymore!”
Everyone else spoke up in agreement. “Yes, yes, yes. You can’t get rid of it!”
Pei Qian’s mind was filled with question marks.
Oh, no, I have a bunch of pig-headed writers…
You don’t even want me to get rid of the lockdown state for you?!
Cui Geng, who was right behind, wanted to agree with Boss Pei at first. However, after some thought, he kept his mouth shut.
It was not because he was embarrassed; in fact, he was extremely thick-skinned!
A week ago, Cui Geng would have been the first to stand up and ask Boss Pei to get rid of the lockdown state for him.
However, he was hesitating now.
That was because he had had a few days to get used to it. Cui Geng had found out that under exceptional circumstances and with the help of the lockdown state, he could indeed write eight to ten thousand words each day.
Without the lockdown state, he would probably go back to uploading one chapter a
That meant that his achievements, income, and reputation among readers would slip down to the way they had been before.
Then, while everyone else in the class continued to improve and see better results, he would be left in the dumps. That would be extremely embarrassing for him.
What’s more, Boss Pei might be smiling, but who knew if he’s actually trying to bait fish?
What if I get called out as a bad example once I raise my hand?
Thus, Cui Geng kept his mouth shut.
Pei Qian scanned the group and realized that not one of the writers wanted to get rid of the lockdown state. His heart felt weary.
D*mn it! I have an entire house of hard workers! What should I do?!
Pei Qian turned to Ma Yiqun, who was grinning back at him with his eyes filled with praise.
It was almost as if Ma Yiqun was saying, ‘Boss Pei, you’re doing a good job of loosening the reins to get a better grip on these writers! Unfortunately, no one fell for it.’
Pei Qian was at a loss for words. He felt like his good intentions had been mistaken for ill intent.
Since the ‘hard’ method was not working, he had no choice but to look for alternatives.
The writers had now formed a community. Most of them were already bonded by the hardworking mindset. Now, Pei Qian had to think of ways to divide and conquer them. He looked around at the group. “Alright, since all of you like the lockdown state, i’ll let it remain.
“However… I think the current mechanism is insufficient. It’s egalitarian, and there are no penalties or rewards.
“Thus, I’m going to set up a penalty and reward system!”
All the writers’ expressions became somber. In their hearts, they confirmed that no company head could be that kind.
Was Boss Pei finally going to show them who was boss?
Yet, none of them dared to ask any questions, They could only listen as Boss Pei explained himself.
Pei Qian cleared his throat again. “Each day, the writer who uploads the most number of chapters would not have to come to work the next day. Instead, he would be allowed to do whatever he wants for the day as his reward. Of course, there would be a strict prohibition against writing more.
“On the other hand, the writer who uploads the least number of chapters would have to go to Tengda’s headquarters the next day as punishment! There, he would be educated on the Tengda spirit. “Both would not be constrained by the original agreement. “Let me see how many chapters all of you have uploaded today.”
Pei Qian turned to Ma Yiqun.
Ma Yiqun quietly accessed the platform’s data on his computer. “Ming Yu has written 8,712 words and uploaded the most number of chapters today. Cui Geng has written 3,287 words and uploaded the least number of chapters.”
Since they had team activities that afternoon, those were the results of three hours of work in the morning. Ming Yu had written close to nine thousand words in three hours; he was the ultimate tentacled beast.
Cui Geng’s face drained of color. “Boss Pei, please listen to my explanation! I was making adjustments to the overarching plot this morning; I wasn’t slacking,” Before he could finish his sentence, Pei Qian smiled and said, “Someone will pick you up tomorrow.”
With that, Pei Qian turned to leave.
At once, Cui Geng felt light-headed and unsteady.
He was going to be educated on the Tengda spirit at Tengda’s headquarters?
His brain was filled with images of mountains covered in knives, ponds of hot oil, and prison guards in business clothing.
On the other hand, Ming Yu—who had written the most number of words, scratched his head. “I can do whatever I want? How do I upload new chapters, then?
“Forget it, I’ll probably continue writing in my hotel room…” He had just finished mumbling to himself when Ma Yiqun patted him on the shoulder and sighed.
“Don’t even think about it. When Boss Pei said that you can do whatever you want, he meant anything outside of work. Quick, tell your readers that you’ll be taking a day off tomorrow.”
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