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William Wang Quotes

William Wang

William Wang quotes: the TV titan takes us to school.

“I was born and raised in Taiwan. I came to California with my parents when I was 14. It was a difficult adjustment because of language problems, cultural problems. I came to the U.S. without any knowledge of English.”

“If you don’t spend your time overseas, you don’t know what the American dream is all about. You don’t have the freedom. You don’t have the luxury to think big in Asia. I mean, none of my friends wanted to be entrepreneurs. None of my friends thought that they were going to have their own businesses. None of my friends thought that they can be a leader in their particular field. We just didn’t have the luxury of thinking that big. Living in Asia for 12 years made me appreciate America so much more and makes me feel great about being here, being in the U.S. and living the American dream.”

“I didn’t study that hard. I wasn’t a great student, but I learned a lot in college. I learned how to deal with people. I learned how to cope with a crisis. I learned how to deal with taking exams. You better study pretty hard. I think the most important thing is that I learned how to deal with pressure: pressure of not being the best, pressure of not being able to finish first, pressure of facing reality.”

“So, I think I kind of learned that discipline from college, because I failed. My GPA was like 2.3 or 2.4. I couldn’t get into grad school. All my friends went on to grad school. When I went from Taiwan to Hawaii, all my friends are gone. After graduation, all my friends are gone again. I’m all by myself because, again, I had no choice but to be done with school because my GPA wasn’t good enough. I failed again. This later on set the foundation and the tone for my working discipline.”

“I got my first job in the computer industry as a technical support specialist, answering phone calls for a company that built computer monitors for IBM. I credit my parents for immigrating to the U.S., which opened the doors, and for modeling what hard work looks like.”

“I was pretty inspired by the freedom. The possibility to start a company. I was inspired by the American lifestyle. The word entrepreneur is a word I learned in the U.S.; I don’t think it’s a word I heard in Asia, back then. I looked to American entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs for inspiration.”

“I will readily admit I’ve made some blunders along the way that cost me a lot of money. I thought I knew everything. I was a kid. I was a CEO at 26 and I didn’t even know what CEO meant. I didn’t know how to look at a balance sheet, but I was running my own company. I made my first million dollars before I was 29 years old.”

“I was still looking for the next big thing. It was probably the most difficult time in my life. Financially, it was a disaster. When everything was collapsing on me—all my businesses—I was in an airplane crash. It was November of 2000. I had finished meeting some of my creditors about my cash flow problems and was coming back to Los Angeles.”

“Half the passengers died. I guess several things went through my mind when the plane blew up. One thing was my family. The second thing was that all my headaches were suddenly gone. I was still stuck with all these bad businesses, but I had a better attitude. I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all going to die, right? So after the plane crash, it took a year or two to clean everything up.”

“Vizio started off really small: just two employees and me. We started the company with $600,000. I borrowed some money from my parents, mortgaged my house, and had a couple of friends who helped me. Basically, friends and family. Later we got venture financing. And a couple of manufacturers have ownership. I’m still the majority holder of the company.”

“We’re here to make innovative technology a commodity. Anything that’s popular will become a commodity.”

“It’s hard to build a big company. You have to be a lot better than the competition. We also have to be careful how we spend our money. There’s a difference between being lean and being cheap. Being cheap is when you don’t want to spend any money and just keep it yourself. Lean is keeping costs really low.”

“I’m so fortunate that I’ve been able to do this one more time. When I started, I worked 14 hours a day. I’ve cut down on that. I work eight hours a day. The company is not me, it’s many people’s efforts. And it’s not just all about work—it’s being able to appreciate one another.”

“When I was growing up, there was a brand of watch that I really wanted called Vizio. It was a really well-made and cool-looking watch, and I always said that I’d name my company after it. Plus it sounds a little like video.”

“Maintain your entrepreneurial spirit. In a market like the one we have today, where things change constantly, keeping that spirit alive is very important because it lets you react quickly and bring new and innovative products to market.”

“You’ve got to believe. You’ve got to have faith that your mission statement is right. I want to build an enterprise made of great, talented people who I want to hang around with, who I know will carry us through hard times.”

“We really do have a friendly, forward-thinking and collaborative environment.”

“When you run into problems, you just have to keep going at it. Entrepreneurs always have to tell themselves that.”

“Always seek out professional managers for help. I have worked hard to craft Vizio’s management team. I used to try to micromanage. Now I work to put together teams that have skills I don’t, and empower them as much as I can.”

“Everyone on the team plays an equal role. My role is to create the wave and everyone on our team keeps the wave going.”

“Even today I always try to tell myself: ‘You really don’t know what you don’t know.'”

“When I first started out, I used to think of my job as managing a business. Now I think about it in terms of managing and empowering a team of people.”

“I take cues from my mother, who always put others before her; they were a higher priority. I try to run my company like that. Vizio is only as good as the managers I uplift.”

“Conversations with people are key. Listen to their ideas. Treat everyone with respect. That’s the number one priority.”

“The TV remains the most private device in the average consumer’s connected life.”

“We’re living at a time of arguably some of the best entertainment, from television series to movies. I am certain that the at-home entertainment experience is going to keep getting better.”

“TV should be the center of a connected home. This starts with advertising and shifting our thinking around the traditional 30-second spot, and instead thinking about impactful, interactive and targeted advertising measured through attribution. A connected device means that brands can get feedback from the consumer and help consumers act immediately.”

“I have always liked to build from the ground up, both in the figurative sense that I built my company from scratch, and literally. When I was younger, I wanted to be an architect. In college, I realized that engineering was a more lucrative industry, and so I took a different path. But I’ve never totally lost the architecture bug. In my spare time, I build houses.”

“My parents are very supportive and because of their support, it allowed me to be an entrepreneur. That gave me the comfort and the luxury of thinking big and to take risks. And if they didn’t support my crazy, risk-taking career, I don’t think I could be here. I grew up in a great family that allowed me to take risks and my wife allows me to take risks. It was pretty risky considering the only thing we had back then was my house.”

“I often tell people who want to be an entrepreneur that you first have to make sure you have an environment that allows you to take risks. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, know that all the statistics are against you. How many businesses last more than 10 years? Not a lot. It’s difficult. It’s not easy to be risk averse. It’s just a completely different business. I think most people can’t afford to take risks. If you have a kid, a family which you need to feed, how do you really take that risk and put all your lifetime savings in a really vulnerable situation? It’s tough. So, not everybody can be an entrepreneur. Again, I think I’m pretty fortunate.”

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