Another fantastic article at The Verge, this time covering Vizio in-depth, written by Nilay Patel. “Vizio is one of the best-kept secrets in consumer technology. The tiny Southern California company consistently sells the most HDTVs in America, but it’s a sure bet that you know virtually nothing about it. Hell, most people don’t even know Vizio is an American company, even though all but three of its 417 employees work in the US.”
Vizio: a quiet American success story takes on sleeping giants
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2012-06-15 4:52 pmkaiwai
Too bad they don’t ship outside of the United States – the management of Vizio have ensured that their computers never see the light of day outside of the United States.
Honestly, what the f–k is up with people running organisations who refuse to see their potential market as the whole world and instead erect barriers for potential customers? I swear these are the same dickheads who design downloadable video and audio stores but ignore the fact that the internet is international.
Edited 2012-06-15 16:52 UTC
2012-06-15 5:02 pmThom Holwerda
I’ve explained this to you before. There’s so much involved with selling internationally, you wouldn’t believe. Every product has to be licensed, checked, pass regulations, etc. etc. Even merely just shipping it can be hell; for instance, I have to pay several hundreds of euros tax on computers I order from the US. To circumvent this, a company has to set up a distribution chain – which is insanely difficult, especially for complicated electronics.
Not even Apple can pull of a truly international launch – they usually launch in like 10 countries first, followed by another 20-30 a few months later – with the rest of the world in stages. And Apple is the largest company in the world!
How do you think a small company like Vizio – virtually still a startup by looking just at age – is going to do that?
I agree that it sucks, but it’s the way it is.
2012-06-15 5:50 pmacobar
And Apple is the largest company in the world!
Apple is not the biggest company of the world, they are the company with the biggest market capitalization, what is quite different. By sales, they are close to 45 position I think, on a market that changes astonishingly fast so, really, they better keep putting out good products or they will watch the fortune wheel turn around once more like on so many times before.
2012-06-15 7:00 pmmkone
I think you will have difficulty finding companies that have more cash than Apple in the world, including banks. Apple is the biggest company in the world in terms of profitability, and that is the only metric that matters when talking about company size.
2012-06-15 7:55 pmNich
I actually read an article on this and it is dated 18apr2012 (GMP dated or 04/18/2012 for the rest of us in the US)
in which they ranked the top 2000 companies with equal weighting of sales, profits, assets and market value . in this full list Apple comes in at a respectful 22 place .
you can sort this list by sales and Apple comes in at 26 . sorted by profits Apple is number 2 which i find very impressive that their sales allow for such a high profit margin . by assets 177 . market value number 1 which i would think makes it way over valued , but i am no stock analyst .
2012-06-22 7:33 pmzima
dated 18apr2012 (GMP dated or 04/18/2012 for the rest of us in the US)
You what’s most telling WRT the sensibility (or lack) of mm/dd/yyyy format? That Forbes, one of the premier US publishing houses (so, in most general terms, presumably striving to provide clear information) uses… yyyy/mm/dd (conceptually basically equivalent to dd/mm/yyyy) where it matters, in their URLs
BTW, 18 IV 2012 should do OK in the period of transition.
Edited 2012-06-22 19:35 UTC
2012-06-20 6:28 amzima
Really, profitability “is the only metric that matters when talking about company size”?
Well, then I guess what you really think is that the “audiophile” scammers are the biggest companies in the world… (you know, the usual cheap junk, cables for example, sprinkled with bling, with claims that go against established hard science and ABX tests; sometimes sold with what easily seems like >1000x profit margins)
2012-06-15 9:17 pmbassbeast
Hell even just selling in the states can be hard enough with the different taxes one has to collect but to try to deal with all the regulations on a worldwide scale? NOT fun.
This does look like a good opportunity though for a company to set themselves up as basically a “middle man” between the small startups so that they can cut through the BS and jump through the hoops in return for a percentage of sales in those regions.
But I can see why a small company wouldn’t want to do it themselves, just the amount of legal consul required to get everything to pass muster for all the various countries would probably break them financially. remember folks we are talking about a company with less than 500 employees TOTAL, with a company that small hiring on a team of international lawyers well versed in trade law simply isn’t in the cards.
2012-06-20 6:19 amzima
But, realistically, it’s not worldwide we’re talking about.
EU alone gives you over 2x larger potential market, and also among the most “profitable” ones. Then threw in few more such places around the world – Australia, New Zealand, some in Asia (China, Japan, South Korea).
just the amount of legal consul required to get everything to pass muster for all the various countries would probably break them financially. remember folks we are talking about a company with less than 500 employees TOTAL, with a company that small hiring on a team of international lawyers well versed in trade law simply isn’t in the cards.
I don’t follow? Yeah, maybe the number of their own employees isn’t that large – but largely because they outsource virtually everything.
How does that differ from “outsourcing” legal counsel? Why that would be such a financial strain for the top-selling US HDTV brand?
2012-06-16 6:46 amkaiwai
And I have explained numerous times that it is the importer who takes on the responsibility regarding compliance with the relevant local standards. All the vendor in question would have to put is a disclaimer noting that it is the importers responsibility for taxes, tariffs and local regulatory requirements. In all due respects it is a cop-out at the end of the day – provide an option for shipment internationally and let the customer deal with any issues that arise.
I own several Vizio TVs. I had no idea they are an American company! I believe Syntax/Olevia (now gone) were also an American company. Both made/make very good products and are a great value for the money.
2012-06-15 6:14 pmZan Lynx
I had an Olevia HDTV once. It was not a good product. For one, they used a thick glass on the front which raised the weight of the display to well over 70 lbs on a 47″ screen.
For contrast, the Sony I replaced it with is only about 30 lbs.
The second thing is that the display electronics partially failed in the second year I owned it. Probably because of overheating. I could feel the heat coming off the back of that thing. Crazy design.
2012-06-22 10:55 pmzima
I own several Vizio TVs. I had no idea they are an American company! […] make very good products and are a great value for the money.
Maybe more like US brand …they hardly make anything.
(“several”? …oh my)
Edited 2012-06-15 18:47 UTC
An entire market in the world’s most powerful (not for long) and richest (not for long) country is dominated by a company that is 417 employees strong?
And this is an American success story? Which Americans? All 414 of them who live in the U.S.?
This is the real knowledge economy. It’s not about “buying American” anymore, or even being savvy enough to demand laws that list what percentage of components are domestic. When our politicians in the West tell us that we will be fine if we invest in education, that we will leave the dirty stuff to “emerging” economies–as if that were anything more than an orientalist fantasy–this is what it means: 417 souls and their families on a razor thin knife.
How many 417-person companies would it take to crush the competition and satisfy all consumer demand?
For it isn’t just Vizio’s designs that are model specimens, but the company itself is the acme of our economy. Capitalism at its finest and most terrible.
2012-06-15 9:11 pmtails92
I couldn’t agree with you more. Vizio is an handbook example of today’s capitalism, companies which just rebrand things and outsource their manufacturing (and thus real products) out. This is the kind of company one must be against.
I have owned some Vizio TV’s and I must say that for the price you simply cannot beat them. You pay hundreds of dollars more from top brands to get the same size and quality of vizio. I’ve done some research on the company and their business model is fantastic, and quality is great.
I love their all-in-one design and that trackpad looks intriguing. Not too sold on the keyboard though. I want ALL the keys.
This. A million times this.