San Francisco – A farmer from Cork goes to China and sets up a billion dollar company. Then he starts up another huge company in California. Silicon Valley thinks he is the greatest thing since sliced bread or perhaps silicon wafers.
A Chinese fairy tale perhaps, or an Irish legend?
No. It is all absolutely true.
Liam Casey, 48, is an unlikely tech super hero. He lives modestly, loves working 18 hours a day, and carries three phones – one set on U.S. time, another on Chinese and a third on Irish time.
He is an Irish Super Mario, always tackling the next challenge and leaping over adversaries wherever they are in the world. Casey, from Cork, wants to conquer that world one continent at a time.
His company PCH International employs over 5,000 people between China, San Francisco and Cork. The revenue is over $1 billion and he is the apple of the eye, excuse the pun, of the tech world.
Wired magazine in a major story recently said Casey was “the man making Silicon Valley go crazy for hardware.”
Previously Casey had been labeled “Mr. China” by The Atlantic writer James Fallows, who dubbed him the only westerner who understood the business culture there.
In China, Casey was the man at the end of the line when you clicked “purchase” on that Apple accessory or the offerings of many other major firms. He reinvented the supply chain and made hundreds of millions.
Now he is conquering the U.S., not with software, but by focusing on hardware start-ups.
Wired said his company PCH “resembles Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing platform that’s now estimated to comprise a mind-boggling one percent of the entire Internet.”
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Casey is seeking to do for hardware what massive companies have done for software – making billionaires all over the valley in the process.
Sitting in his conference room in a San Francisco Industrial Park, formerly home of the Bay Guardian newspaper, it is not hard to contemplate the future.
Casey’s new California venture is an incubation city, where hardware start-up firms come to grow and learn in a tech university environment.
Most of these companies would never have the funds to get started on their own and would depend on crowdfunding.
Now with Casey as the angel investor and guiding hand, they refine their company ideas and eventually pitch to the Silicon Valley venture capital world, the most exclusive on earth.
Casey oversees all the projects, weeds the wheat from the chaff and makes them ready for prime time.
At least I think that is what he does, given that he seems to have dozens of ventures world-wide all happening simultaneously.
He is a true Irish phenomenon, still relatively unknown in his native land but revered and looked up to in California and China.
Through it all he keeps the “aw shucks” attitude, remaining as grounded as any rural Cork boy who makes it big can.
Chances are you have Casey-delivered devices in your home, attached to your computer or your smart phone.
Given his next sprint to success in San Francisco it is only a matter of time before you will be shipping more.
A true Irish visionary and all around innovator, Casey is an example of the Irish at their best.