Chu knows his customers. He knows ViewSonic devotees like to talk about the brand. He knows it firsthand because he's made a habit of going into tech-talk chat rooms to find out. Reading international reviews of ViewSonic products and going through all the e-mail from customers also helps him figure out what the future will demand. It's not a game of create, get feedback and revise. It's about knowing what consumers want before they can possibly imagine it and making the highest-quality version of it.
By staying abreast of technology innovations in general, Chu has managed to find a place for ViewSonic and identify each opportunity the company could use to solidify its reputation and extend its reach. ViewSonic's edge lies in its focus: visual technology.
"We're focused on what we do best," says Chu. "Everything we do is for the display, [as opposed to several of] our competitors, many of whom are much larger companies selling everything from microwaves and computer devices to satellites." The problem with such broad product offerings, he says, is that they result in a more bureaucratic way of doing business and, in the end, slow down the company's response time in meeting the needs of the market.
Not the case at ViewSonic. "From when they wake up until they fall asleep, all 700 employees are thinking about what our customer wants, and they know very well what product to offer," says Chu. "That's a big advantage."
Nothing could be more advantageous, however, than being a visual technology company as we enter into a time when "one chip" computers will be the norm (you'll watch the size of your standard CPU shrink, but you're still going to need something to view the data on) and digital TV will be a must. At press time, ViewSonic was developing its version of the universal monitor, which, with a resolution three to four times higher than that of current TVs, makes Internet surfing in the living room more tolerable. It's also perfect for high-definition TV content, which Chu acknowledges might not be in great demand this year, but will be in full swing as we approach 2005--the FCC deadline for everyone to switch from analog to digital. "Our dream for the future," says Chu, "is to offer from 1-inch to 300-inch visual technology products."