we came back from
in 1978 until I
returned to Korea
joining Samsung in 1986,
there was nothing exciting or nothing specially achieved, for 8 years.
As we decided to live in United States permanently, AMI did not provide
either house or car any more and I had to buy house
and car by myself and to pay
mortgage, car payments, gas and insurance out of my pocket making our
financial situation very tight, just as any American salaried people.
job was again back to KMI Support Manager as before, communicating with KMI
daily, not too busy as before and traveling around whenever there were KMI
at AMI expenses. I joined Palo
Alto Hills Country Club nearby (a private golf club of about 15 min. drive
from home), practiced golf swing on the way back to home from office on
every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, played golf on Saturday and Sunday
almost every week with Korean friends who were also members of the same
club, and played poker game quite frequently.
a year after we returned from Taiwan, AMI asked me to go to KMI and assist them for a few months as there were
many internal problems (mostly management problems rather than operation
problems). Since the summer vacation was just started, I convinced company
and all family went to
Korea, stayed in Hyatt Hotel for almost 3 months and did best
KMI problems in Korea. However, because my way had been always to fix any problem fundamentally
rather than short term fire fighting, it usually required quite a long time
to fix any problem and couldn't do too much in just a few months. This time,
since I didn't have enough time to fix the problems fundamentally, I just
had no choise but to do my best for short term solutions and give some
advice to KMI
managers to follow through.
we were in Korea, I took family to drive around Korea
to Sulak mountain and Kyungju, old capital of Shilla dynasty more than a
thousand years ago, for children to learn about Korea
better. Also, At the end of the trip, I invited my eldest sister to U. S.,
came back home together stopping and spending few days in Hawaii on the way,
showed around western part of U. S. and sent to Seong-Koo in Columbus, Ohio,
to show her around eastern part of U. S. A..
the next year, my uncle and aunt in New Jersy visited us and we showed them Yosemite
National Park. However, in about a month after their visit to us, the aunt was killed by
a traffic accident near the home and surprised us very much.
tragedy was Mr. Seung-Chan
Park, the President of Gold Star Co. and the youngest brother of my 2nd.
brother-in-law who helped me to join Gold Star, visited AMI to discuss a
joint semiconductor business between Gold Star and AMI, played go-stop game
at our home one
evening, but was killed also by a
car accident only less than a week after he
to Korea, which was not only a great tragedy for family members but also for
the country of Korea.
this 8 years, however, the greatest event
was the new house construction at a hill top of Cupertino, where we lived. I had always loved to have a house with nice view and my
real estate agent showed me one day a great home site on sale at a hill top
not far from our house with wonderful view overlooking whole Silicon Valley.
I rally loved the site and decided to buy it and build a new dream house
there at the spot, though it might be little too tight for my financial
capability at the time.
took a few months to design and about a year to complete. There were a large
living room with high ceiling, family room and kitchen all at the down stair and all bed
rooms at upstair. An open den at upstair overlooking living room was
designed and all glass windows and glass doors to the valley side were large
enough to have great views. It was really a dream house for me.
this lucky guy had to have at least one misfortune in
his life perhaps. The home loan
mortgage interest rate was generally 7-8% when we started the project but shot
up to 18% due to the unexpected oil shock when we
completed the house, forcing me to pay more than two times of monthly
mortgage payment every
month than originally planned,
which was really far beyond my ability to pay with my salary at the time.
spent all my cash available to build this house but what could I do? I had
no choice but to give up this dream house and to sell it making quite a
loss. It was a quite a loss and lost all my cash on hand at the time, which
might be equivalent to one or two million dollars loss of today for me
probably. This was my greatest failure in my whole life. However, it was a greater regret to me that we
could never live in this house,
than I lost such a large amount of money.
usually never repent anything. Since human has no ability to foresee even a
minute later, I might do the same thing again if I face same decision under
same circumstances. What would it do better for me, even I repent thinking
about it over and over without even sleep in the night? It is all over and
there is nothing I can do any more. I am a firm believer that the past has
no more value than to review, to learn for the future and to forget as soon
as possible, especially when it was a unpleasant failure. I made a great
mistake due to unpredictable future mortgage rate this time loosing a large
amount of money. So what? Well, I am still young and would have enough
chances to make money again and to build better home again. (That house is
currently valued much more than 2 million dollars now.)
than this big event of dream house construction, there was nothing much
happened during these 8 years. Just to be prepared of children to get jobs
easier after the college graduation, we applied citizenship and became
time, AMI business had been slowly deteriorated and decided to close down
all Santa Clara facilities to move to Pocatello, Idaho, where they had wafer
fab facility. Since Idaho state is very quiet farminig
town at far northern part of United States with very cold winter producing a
lot of potatos (They call themselves Potato State), I didn't like to live
this kind of place, quit the AMI where I had worked for more than 16 years
at KMI, TMI and AMI since 1970 and became an unemployed. (This was just
another case of my optimistic "ENJOY TODAY" philosophy that I
wouldn't do anything I don't like to do today without much consideration of
what to do then in future.)
spent a few months without job playing a lot of golf almost every day (alone
many days). One day, Dr. Ilbok Lee, who was a Director
of SSI (Samsung
Semiconductors Inc., a subsidiary of Samsung in Silicon Valley.)
and a good poker and golf friend of mine, asked me whether I would work for
Samsung Semiconductors in
. It was the time Samsung Semiconductors had started DRAM business only 2-3
customers were all large computer makers such as IBM, HP, DEC, Unisys, NCR
etc. in United States
mostly. Since it was very early stage of Samsung Semiconductors, Samsung had
of quality problems with these major customers in U. S.
and wanted me to work as a Quality Director to support these customers
technically. They needed some one technically strong about semiconductors,
speak English and understand Ameican companies well.
of bad memory in Gold Star, I didn't like to work for any Korean company at
first. However, I was jobless for a few months already, tired playing golf
too much almost every day, didn't have enough money to send children to
colleges in the near future and heard Samsung was the best managed company
in Korea at least. Also, I liked Samsung's management principle that it was
not a family company without family member of founder Mr. Lee in the
management, while Gold Star was managed by all Koo family members at the top
management by contraries. Therefore, I accepted the proposal, joined Samsung
Semiconductors by the arrangement of Dr. Ilbok Lee, went to
alone first and started to work for Samsung Semiconductors in early Dec. of