Victor and Janie Tsao: Founders of Linksys Corporation
Victor and Janie Tsao founded computer accessories manufacturer Linksys, now part of technology giant Cisco Systems, in the garage of their modest Irvine, California home. They immigrated to the Unites States from Taiwan in the ‘70s and worked their corporate jobs while starting their own business.
The Tsaos parlayed their connections in the Taiwanese technology manufacturing sector to profitable partnerships with American companies seeking lower-priced makers of computer peripherals. The first product that spelled major success for the Tsaos was a printer-to-personal computer connector that extended the reach of existing cables from 15 feet to 100 feet by using telephone line technology.
Linksys grew by leaps and bounds with new products that included Ethernet hubs, cables, and network cards and other peripherals that allowed households and small businesses to link their computers and peripherals to facilitate data sharing. The success of Linksys hinged on the Tsaos risk-taking strategy of popularizing existing technology by presenting less expensive alternatives ahead of the competition.
Linksys was among the first to launch a line of wireless routers and computer cards compatible with the 802.11b standard, now known as Wi-Fi technology.
They kept their operations lean, displaying their frugal lifestyle even while Linksys’ profits were already breaching $300 million. The Tsaos sold Linksys to Cisco Systems in 2003 when revenues were over $500 million. Victor and Janie Tsao continued to work with Cisco in different capacities for many years.
James Chu: Founder of ViewSonic Corporation
James Chu, founder of ViewSonic Corporation began his sales career as a salesman of Chinese-English dictionaries and English language instruction tapes. He came to the United States as an underpaid sales manager of a small Taiwanese keyboard maker. He was forced to leave this job and strike out on his own in the U.S. at a time when he spoke very little English. He founded Keypoint Technology in 1987, sold keyboards on consignment from his previous employer until he was cut off for being too successful. He found another source and never looked back.
In 1990, Chu launched the ViewSonic line of color monitors. Within a year, the brand became one of the highly-rated computer monitor manufacturers along with big names such as Sony, Panasonic and NEC. By 2000, ViewSonic became the largest manufacturer of computer monitors in the U.S. and Japan. The company acquired Nokia Display Products in 2000.
ViewSonic continues to grow as computer display technology evolves. It has received numerous awards over the years as the leading vendor of computer monitors in the U.S. Chu remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, although he has relinquished much of the day-to-day management to professional managers.
Morgan Chu: Intellectual Property Lawyer
In the world of intellectual property litigation (IP), Morgan Chu is approaching legendary status. He is recognized as one of the country’s top trial attorneys and among the leading minds when it comes to IP litigation. He is an alumnus of Harvard, Yale and the University of California at Los Angeles. Chu is currently a partner at Irrell and Mannella LLP, one of the first Asian Americans to be at the helm of a major law firm. Morgan Chu was recently named one of California’s “Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators,” the latest in a very long list of accolades earned throughout his stellar career.
These success stories are repeated many times over in the immigrant communities all over the U.S. The enterprising spirit of the Chinese American hero will continue to inspire the next generations of businesss leaders.