Global markets | Opportunity and impact | Needed measures | Dialogue
"I'm as optimistic as I have ever been as the leader of a technology company - the growth opportunities are tremendous," TI President, Chairman and CEO Rich Templeton told an audience of 800 North Texas tech industry executives and community leaders.
Templeton made the remarks during a keynote address at the Dallas Regional Chamber's 10th annual "State of Technology" Luncheon and Innovation Showcase. His address focused on the future for TI and the region and offered insights on how North Texas tech companies can excel in the global marketplace.
|TI CEO Rich Templeton addresses North Texas business, academia and legislative officials at the Dallas Regional Chamber's "State of Technology" luncheon.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
Click here for some facts about TI in Dallas.
"There are three key things everyone can take advantage of," Templeton said. "First, global markets are opportunities, not threats. Growth via technology is a wonderful opportunity. And finally there's what I call 'leaders don't stand still.' I talk to a lot of other companies, and I'm always happy when I return to North Texas, but we can't take what we have for granted."
TI's forefathers didn't know boundaries for where they sought customers and markets in the 1950s in Europe, the 1960s in Japan and Asia and the 1980s in India, Templeton said.
"I grew up in a company that didn't see borders, and today 90 percent of TI's revenue comes from outside the U.S.," he said.
"Global markets open opportunities. Five hundred thousand jobs in Texas depend on tech, and North Texas is more than half of that. We design and make chips here. We have accountants and lawyers to operate our business here. And we bring jobs back here."
Opportunity and impact
Templeton said technology is an opportunity, and years ago, people never imagined what would happen.
"If we asked the 6 billion people in the world today, we'd find that 80 percent of them have a cell phone," he said. "Twenty years ago, they would have asked 'what's a cell phone?'"
Templeton encouraged the audience to think about this technology evolution and apply it to different industries such as power use in the home. He cited medical, automotive and healthcare as three areas where the tech industry can solve problems and have a profound effect on peoples' lives.
"If we want to (still be) standing here in 25 years, we have to invest today," Templeton said. "We have to enhance what I call the 'innovation ecosystem.'"
Templeton told the audience that the U.S. at the local, state and federal levels needs to fund basic research, pass the America Competes Act, improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; embrace open trade, build needed infrastructure; and keep costs low (including taxes).
He pointed out that the U.S. corporate income tax rate is the second-highest among more than 30 developed countries.
He drew spontaneous applause when he mentioned doing a better job on education and keeping taxes low.
"We need to make STEM education a local, state and national priority," he said. "That will determine what we're all doing in 25 years. Our company's view is that we have to begin in our backyard. We do what we can to have an impact in the community where we live – like UTeach programs to get better teachers in front of our kids to get them excited about studying math and science."
Read more about TI's support of education.
After his formal remarks, Templeton was joined by Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, dean of Southern Methodist University's Lyle School of Engineering, for a Q&A session. Dr. Orsak asked where Templeton thinks America is going.
"If you look at technology companies and research universities – the U.S. still has a strong position," Templeton said. "The world is curious about us. We have to do more than play defense. For TI, China is our largest market, and it's a 'can do' market. Companies like TI have a choice – do you want to work with them or be on the outside?"
"TI was the first to go global – where will TI go next?" Dr. Orsak asked.
"We're building out networks in Eastern Europe and Russia," he said. "We will run out of continents eventually," Templeton joked.
Finally, Dr. Orsak asked, "So is TI better at guessing the future?"
Templeton replied: "Nobody has the corner on foresight. What we're doing is staying outward-looking and engaging with customers. You have to keep your organization pointing outward. As a corporation, the only thing scarier than change is not changing. It's served us well every time we've changed."