Viram Shah
on 06 March, 2013

From Noodles to Galaxies - Samsung


Last fall, on a mid-September morning, amidst great hype and fanfare, Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook stepped onto the stage to reveal to the world, the iPhone 5. Simultaneously, far away, in a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Los Angeles huddled up around laptops and TVs, were a geeky group of marketing executives, carefully tracking each new feature they introduced and monitoring the swarm of online comments via blogs and social media websites.

Two hours later, when Mr. Cook stepped off the stage, the group had already drafted a series of print, digital and Tv ads. The following week - as the iPhone 5 went on sale - the company aired their TV ad mocking the Apple fans queuing up for the new phone. The commercial went on to become the most popular tech ad of 2012, with 70 million views online. The company that remarkable pulled this off - Samsung Mobiles.

Samsung started out in 1938, with forty employees, selling noodles and groceries in a province called Su-dong. It was fairly good at what it was doing, but not even in his wildest dreams would Lee-Byung Chull, the owner, have imagined the heights his small business was going to scale, the records it was going to break, the fact that eventually it would find its place at the very zenith, looking down on them all.

An interesting anecdote that changed the course of Samsung transpired in the year 1995, a red-letter year in the history of the company. That year, Kun-Hee Lee, the then chairman of Samsung, sent out the company's newest mobile phones as New Year's presents. Word filtered in, that the phones did not work; enraged and livid; Kun-Hee went drove to his company's plant and set the entire inventory ablaze. Since then Samsung has made R&D one of it's primary activities and hence made quantum leaps in the world of electronics.

Today, Samsung is one of the largest conglomerates in the world and South Korea's knight in shining armor. It is the world's largest information technology company and the world's second largest shipbuilder. But what interests me the most is its mercurial rise to power in the mobile phone industry over the last three years. With the Galaxy S3 dethroning the iPhone and becoming the world's best-selling phone, and with Samsung displacing Nokia to become the market leader in the cell phone industry (with a market share of 28%), they have announced their presence; loud and clear.

Samsung's unfathomable success in the smart phone industry over the past few years can be credited to the South Korean mentality; to compete, to be disciplined and to move fast (quite literally, they walk fast, talk fast, eat fast) amalgamated with the western hunger for innovation and research. They might not have been the first phone to use Google's Android operating system, but they sharply moved ahead of the pack by developing one which has a strikingly thin, bright and large screen, equipped with cutting-edge features like the ability to 'beam' photos by pressing together the backs of two phones.

Aided by a tight supply chain, Samsung has percolated into every corner of the globe, churning out 215 million smartphones last year. From launching the F480, the most stylish full touch smartphone of 2008 to the impending launch of the Galaxy S4 which is rumored to be equipped with the Octa CPU and the SmartScroll which tracks' the users eyes to scroll through pages, Samsung has come a long long way.

All in all, observing Samsung's phenomenal rise to power, what excites the engineer in me is the abound scope of innovation the field of electronics possesses, what excites the tech-geek in me is the progress these smart phones have made and the boundaries they are yet to breach, most of all what excites the entrepreneur in me is the inspiration to persevere and claw my way to the very top, following the very good example set by the mighty Samsung.


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Viram Shah


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