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  1. TSMC
  2. Dr. Morris Chang Wiki

The success of TSMC and Dr Morris Chang himself can be summed up in three words: Business Model Innovation. Other business model innovators include: eSilicon, ARM, Apple, Dell, Starbucks, Ebay, Google, etc…. I would argue that without TSMC some of these businesses would not even exist.

Definition: Business Model is a design of the operations of a business which focuses on how revenue will be generated

Definition: Innovation is something new or different introduced: introduction of new things or methods.

Dell changed the way personal computers are manufactured and sold. Starbucks changed the amount we would pay for a cup of coffee. Ebay took the yard sale out of our yards. TSMC took the semiconductor manufacturing costs off our balance sheets and out of our capitol investments.

If you believe a person is a SUM of their experience here is Morris Chang’s reduced equation:

His education started at Harvard but quickly move to MIT as his interest in technology began to drive his future. From MIT mechanical engineering graduate school Morris went directly into the semiconductor industry at the process level and was quickly moved to management. At Texas Instruments, after completing an electrical engineering PhD program at Stanford, Morris leveraged his process level semiconductor management success into an executive level consumer product management position in which he failed. After a quick stay in NY Morris went to Taiwan to head the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) which lead to the founding of TSMC.

Morris Chang worked on a four transistor project for TI where manufacturing was done by IBM. This was one of the early semiconductor foundry relationships. Also at TI, Morris pioneered the then controversial idea of pricing semiconductors ahead on the cost curve, sacrificing early profits to gain market share to achieve manufacturing yields that would result in greater long-term profits.

Morris also noticed in the early 80’s at TI and GI that top engineers were leaving and forming their own semiconductor companies. Unfortunately the heavy capitol requirement of semiconductor manufacturing was a gating factor. The cost back then was $5-10M to start a semiconductor company without manufacturing and $50-100M to start a semiconductor company with manufacturing. Some of these engineers went to the IDMs to get wafers from excess capacity but this was not a customer friendly process and sometimes they were getting wafers from a competitor.

Morris Chang speaking to a semiconductor IDM CEO: How do you evaluate your fab managers? IDM CEO Yield, cycle time, productivity, monthly billings, etc….. how do you do it? Morris: How much complaints I get from customers. Customer satisfaction is tracked not fab P&L.

In 1987 TSMC started 2 process nodes behind current semiconductor manufacturers (IDMs). Morris Chang made the first TSMC sales calls with a single brochure: TSMC Core Values: Integrity, commitment, innovation, partnership. 4-5 years later TSMC was only behind 1 node and the orders started pouring in. In 10 years TSMC caught up with IDMs (not Intel) and the fabless semiconductor industry blossomed enabling a whole new era of semiconductor design and manufacturing. In the last 20 years and still today even the remaining big IDMs are being forced to go fabless or fab-lite at 28nm and below due to cost and daunting technical challenges.

Morris Chang Degrees
  • 1952, "Bachelor of Science" MIT
  • 1953, "Master of Science" MIT
  • 1964, Electrical Engineering Ph.D. Stanford University
  • 1997, National Chiao-Tung University honorary doctorate
  • National Tsing Hua University honorary doctorate
  • National Central University honorary doctorate
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (U.S.A) honorary doctorate
Morris Chang Awards
  • 1998, "Top 25 Managers of the Year" and "Stars of Asia" by Business Week.
  • 1998, "One of The Most Significant Contributors in the 50 years of Semiconductor Industry" by Bank of America Robertson Stephens.
  • 1999, "Exemplary Leadership Award" from the Fabless Semiconductor Association (now Global Semiconductor Alliance), the first recipient of the award; now the award bears his name, "Dr. Morris Chang Exemplary Leadership Award"
  • 2000, IEEE Robert N. Noyce Medal for Exceptional Contributions to Microelectronics Industry.
  • 2005, "Nikkei Asia Prize" for Regional Growth
  • 2005, "Top 10 Most Influential Leaders of the World" by Electronic Business.
  • 2007, Received the Computer History Museum's Fellow Award, for dramatically accelerating the production of semiconductor-based devices and systems by developing an independent semiconductor manufacturing foundry.
  • 2008, "Semiconductor Industry Association's Robert N. Noyce Award"
  • 2009, "EE Times Annual Creativity in Electronics Lifetime Achievement Award"
  • 2011, IEEE Medal of Honor.
  • 2011, "R.O.C. Order of the Brilliant Star"
  • 2011, "SEMI Akira Inoue award for Environmental, Health and Safety Leadership"
  • 2013, "Barron's 2013 World's 30 Best CEOs"
  • 2014, "SPIE Visionary Award"
  • 2014, "Stanford Engineering Hero by Stanford University"

Dr. Morris Chang is the founding Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC), which was established in 1987. TSMC pioneered the "Dedicated IC Foundry" business model and is a powerful force in building both the foundry industry and the "fabless" semiconductor industry. TSMC Executive Biography Morris Chang.

"Not having us would have slowed down innovation in the industry," Chang maintains, pointing out that those little companies would likely have had to invest in manufacturing capacity instead of R&D or share their intellectual property with a TI or an IBM.

"Morris Chang completely changed the landscape of the semiconductor industry," says James Plummer, dean of the school of engineering at Stanford. "He enabled start-ups to start with a few million dollars rather than a few hundred million. That makes a huge difference."

"It would have been impossible for Marvell to start without foundries—it would have needed $100 million to build factories, the entry barrier was so high." "Morris's foundry model unleashed an army of engineers," says Roawen Chen, vice president of manufacturing at Marvell, "and made people's dreams come true."

"I loved that TSMC's intentions were pure, that their success only came with our success. Morris and I were both building our companies; Nvidia had to move fast to keep up with the competition, and TSMC kept up with our needs," said Jen-Hsun Huang, cofounder, president, and CEO of Nvidia. Today Nvidia has revenues of nearly $4 billion a year, and TSMC still does virtually all of its manufacturing.

Dr. Morris Chang turned 86on July 10th 2017, I see him in Fab 12 on occasion and around Hsinchu. Morris returned to the CEO job in June of 2009 and is still the Chairman. He works from 8:30am to 6:30pm like most TSMC employees and says that a successful company life cycle is: rapid expansion, a period of consolidation, and maturity. The same could be said about Morris himself.

Here is a 5 minute video from TSMC. I highly recommend watching it:

Pioneer of Dedicated IC Foundry Business Model

: morris+chang
Morris Chang MIT Keynote 2005

Morris Chang: Foundry Father
Morris Chang Wikipedia
TSMC Website

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