Entrepreneurs love adventures. The destination of a journey is the inception of another. Look at it in another way: Real entrepreneurs never stop innovating. They enjoy the process rather than the applause that greets them at the destination.
That's how Lin Hwai-Min, the founder of Taiwan's famous Cloud Gate dance troupe, sees his works: "I lose interest in the work right after the premiere."
What an artist says reflects his or her state of mind and profundity. You can perceive the core values and mindset of the artists from their inspiring phrases. I cannot agree more with what Morris Chang said: "Business models are the privileges of entrepreneurs." For successful entrepreneurs, it is essential to start with the most basics to sustain their own business model over the long run. In his speech for the 20th anniversary of Monte Jade Science and Technology Association of Taiwan, Chang showed slides he made in 1998: from the first slide "All The Basics" to the last one "Strategies," they were all fascinating. I tried to interpret the master's words and merge their essence with my experience, and came up with my own slide (see below) taking into account the context of today's digital economy era.
The Cloud Gate founder is revered as a great master in the art of dancing. But Lin would rather liken himself to an artisan who carves Buddha head statues in the temple. He added that lying behind the graceful dance on the stage were strict disciplines. After the Asian financial crisis, probably under financial pressure, the business director of Cloud Gate sought my advice on ways to expand their financial resources.
Lin once said that his father had warned him that dancing was a "beggar's business." Nevertheless, everyone chooses his or her own occupation trying to find one's own value. Does it matter what others comment on the choice? Lin may be a dancer, but I would rather describe him as an entrepreneur whom I met only once.
About 10 years ago, we co-hosted the Asian IC Design Industry Summit with GSA. The guests invited to dinner were leaders in the IC design industry. Jeremy Wang, GSA's Asia Pacific president, asked me who we should invite as our honorable speaker for the banquet? Someone suggested it must be a "great master." I suggested maybe we could invite Lin as a cross-boundary leader.
I said IC design houses are TSMC's customers. We often listen to lectures of the great master from the semiconductor industry, but most people have not heard any of Lin Hwai-Min's thinking and insights which must be inspiring.
That night Lin showed us several videos and elucidated the journey of his mind in creating his works of "Legacy," "Moon Water" and "Cursive." Lin has indeed enriched Taiwan's diversity. I have been chewing over Lin's saying: "I am not a great master but an artisan who carves Buddha head statues in the temple."
(Editor's note: This is part of a series of analysis of Taiwan's role in the global ICT industry.)