As a young student visiting Tokyo during the height of the electronics boom, Thomas Chien was enamored with the products he saw and how they were influencing popular culture. This inspired Thomas to pursue a design career in his home country of Taiwan – at the time, a country becoming a growing force in mobile computing.
A few years later, during a job interview with HTC CEO Peter Chou, he was attracted to the big ambitions of the start-up company. Thomas recalls Chou telling him to “Come to HTC. We’re going to change the world. People will work and connect differently in the future because of us.”
Now, 12 years later, Thomas is HTC’s Vice President of Design in Taiwan, where he’s still driven by a design philosophy born on his trip to Japan. It’s an approach to design that combines human observation with tackling challenges and opportunities that others say can’t be done.
“It’s important to identify what the next smartphone should deliver, how it should be built, without thinking about difficulty,” Thomas said. “Develop the concept, identify the challenges, and then make it real.”
Looking back, it’s easy to see the impact Thomas, and many others on the design team, have had in recent years. From the “2010 Phone of the Year” (HTC Hero) and “2011 Device Manufacturer of the Year” awards from the GSMA, to this past year with two “Best in Show” awards for the HTC One X. Most recently, HTC’s design innovation continues with the introduction of the world’s first full 1080p HD screen – HTC Butterfly (Droid DNA) with the highest DPI of any phone in the world.
Now, as Thomas sees new designers entering the field, his advice is simple: “always stay focused on delivering the best product design. Be inspired and don’t ever accept ‘it can’t be done’ as an answer. It’s your dream, stay focused, take action and make it a reality. You will have fun.”