Morris Chang: An Emphasis on Excellence [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

17.5K views
May 13, 2014
by
Stanford eCorner
YouTube video player
Morris Chang: An Emphasis on Excellence [Entire Talk]

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Summary

In this video, Dr. Morris Chang, the founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), discusses the impact of TSMC on the semiconductor industry and the growth of Taiwan's semiconductor manufacturing industry. He also shares insights into his decision to start TSMC, the challenges faced, the importance of manufacturing excellence, and the role of education and literature in his leadership style.

Questions & Answers

Q: Did you anticipate the tremendous impact TSMC would have on the semiconductor industry and the growth of Taiwan's manufacturing industry?

No, when I started TSMC, I did not anticipate the level of impact it would have. The business model of a pure-play foundry was a solution looking for a problem at the time. However, as the industry evolved, TSMC's existence helped accelerate the formation of many fabless companies. The early nineties saw a rapid increase in fabless companies, and TSMC played a role in that growth.

Q: How did TSMC impact the growth of Taiwan's semiconductor industry?

TSMC became the most successful semiconductor company in Taiwan just a few years after its inception. It set an example for other Taiwanese companies in terms of corporate governance, sales and marketing, and gross margin. TSMC showed that to be a world-class and successful company, Taiwan needed to focus on innovation and have higher gross margins.

Q: How did you decide to focus on manufacturing excellence and speed up the production of new semiconductor lines at TSMC?

My decision to focus on manufacturing excellence was influenced by my years of experience in the semiconductor industry, particularly 30 years at Texas Instruments (TI). I had observed the available roads in the industry and realized that as a newcomer, I needed to find a new road. The pure-play foundry model emerged as a new business model, and with TSMC's focus on manufacturing excellence, we aimed to bring semiconductor designs to production faster.

Q: How did you navigate the challenges of starting TSMC and gaining the trust of customers?

Initially, TSMC faced challenges in gaining the trust of customers, as there were already established semiconductor manufacturers that the fabless companies preferred to work with. Our technology was not trusted enough at the time. However, as the industry evolved and more fabless companies emerged, the need for a dedicated foundry like TSMC became evident. We focused on building trust through delivering high-quality manufacturing and working closely with our customers.

Q: How did your education and love for arts and literature influence your leadership style?

My education at Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, as well as my interest in arts and literature, played a significant role in shaping my leadership style. Literature, classical music, and history provided me with different perspectives and life lessons. I often compare competitive battles in TSMC's industry to historical battles, seeking lessons from both. My diverse interests added richness to my life and influenced my leadership approach.

Q: What progress do you see in the MEMS industry, and does TSMC aim to standardize MEMS technology?

MEMS is a major part of the future in terms of IoT and wearables. TSMC is involved in the MEMS industry and aims to create a standard-based technology platform for MEMS, similar to what we achieved with CMOS technology. Standardization is essential for scalability in the MEMS industry.

Q: What challenges do you see in balancing the increasing complexity of circuit design and the demand for faster time-to-market?

The increasing complexity of circuit design poses challenges in terms of meeting the demand for faster time-to-market. However, as the industry evolves, we may see consolidation among fabless companies, leading to more efficient design processes. Intel's approach of having multiple teams working in a leapfrog manner could become more common.

Q: What motivated you to return to Taiwan and start TSMC after successful positions at TI and General Instrument?

At a certain point in my career, it became clear that I would not achieve my goal of becoming the CEO of TI. The same situation arose at General Instrument, where I realized I did not want to be the CEO. At that crossroads, Taiwan presented an opportunity. I was 54 years old and financially independent, so I decided to take a risk and start TSMC in Taiwan.

Q: Can there still be cost improvements in transistors beyond the 28 nanometer node?

While it becomes more difficult to achieve cost improvements beyond the 28 nanometer node, there is still potential for cost reductions. The rate at which costs decrease may not be the same, but advancements in technology will likely continue to bring down costs.

Q: Have you considered publishing an autobiography?

I have written an autobiography in Chinese, which became a bestseller in Taiwan. I attempted to translate it into English but was not satisfied with the result. So, I did not publish an English version.

Q: Any advice for a startup specializing in buying and selling secondary semiconductor manufacturing equipment and establishing a relationship with TSMC?

There is a market for buying and selling used semiconductor manufacturing equipment, and TSMC has a potential interest. Building relationships with TSMC or other relevant companies in the industry could be beneficial, as long as the startup provides value and demonstrates its expertise and reliability.

Q: How do you balance the need for faster time-to-market with the increasing complexity of circuit design?

The industry is likely to see consolidation among fabless companies, leading to more efficient design processes. Collaboration and learning from Intel's approach of multiple teams working in a leapfrog manner can help balance the need for speed and complexity.

Q: What made you decide to go back to Taiwan after achieving success at TI and General Instrument?

The decision to return to Taiwan was driven by a combination of factors. Firstly, I realized that I would not achieve my goal of becoming the CEO at TI or General Instrument. Secondly, Taiwan presented an opportunity, and I felt I could take a risk at that point in my life. Finally, I was financially independent, which provided the freedom to pursue new endeavors.

Q: How do you approach the challenge of balancing the demands of complex circuit design with the need for shorter product life cycles?

The increasing complexity of circuit design and the pressure to deliver products in shorter cycles present challenges. However, the industry is likely to see consolidation among fabless companies, which can lead to more efficient design processes. Companies may adopt approaches like Intel, where multiple teams work in a leapfrog manner, ensuring a continuous pipeline of designs.

Q: How did you overcome the challenges of gaining trust from customers when starting TSMC?

Gaining trust from customers was a challenge for TSMC in the early days. Our technology was not initially trusted enough by the fabless companies, and established manufacturers were preferred. However, as the industry evolved and more fabless companies emerged, the need for a dedicated foundry like TSMC became evident. We focused on delivering high-quality manufacturing services and working closely with customers to build trust over time.

Q: How did your experience at TI and General Instrument influence your decision to start TSMC?

My experience at TI and General Instrument played a significant role in my decision to start TSMC. At TI, I had climbed to the top of the industry and realized that as a newcomer, there were no available roads for me to compete. This led me to explore a new business model and eventually start TSMC. My experience working in the industry helped me identify the gaps and find a new road to success.

Takeaways

Dr. Morris Chang's journey in founding TSMC and its impact on the semiconductor industry and Taiwan's manufacturing industry highlight the importance of innovation, trust, and manufacturing excellence. The success of TSMC's pure-play foundry model was not anticipated but ultimately contributed to the growth of fabless companies and propelled Taiwan into a major player in the semiconductor manufacturing business. Dr. Chang's education, love for literature, and lessons from history have influenced his leadership style and decision-making. The challenges faced in navigating the complexity of circuit design and shorter time-to-market demands are being addressed through collaboration, consolidation, and more efficient design processes. Dr. Chang's story shows the value of taking risks, finding unique solutions to problems, and the power of trust and continuous learning in building a successful company.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from Stanford eCorner 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: