Marc Hijink | It's ASML All the Way Down...

The Most Important Company In The World

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ASML is certainly among the most critical businesses to the modern economy. They make the machines that make the microchips which makes modernity go round. 

Marc Hijink is the guest on this episode, he is a Dutch journalist and tech reporter for Handelsblad and recently went down a three year journey with unparalleled access to ASML and produced a wonderful history of this phenomenal company. 

If you’re keen on this, than you’d be stoked with the following. My hope is that these three episodes consumed together would make for a decent intro to the wonderful world of chips and ASML.

And of course, the main business of the day!

Forward this email or share this podcast episode with a fellow ASML fan boy!

Marc Hijink
I kind of stumbled upon ASML and discovered that it was a company that was like a Dutch high -tech fairy tale. And for me, it was great to have the opportunity to tell this story and to research it. And sometimes I have to pinch myself to see that I got access to such a... That's really cool.

to such a big and important company. That also gave me the opportunity to not only speak to their leadership and to the employees, but also do research within their supply chain or talk to criticism or external experts so I could create a holistic view of the company. They really wanted to...

They asked me to make an objective, to create a mirror for the company so they could lick themselves in the eye. And the funny thing is the company is so much focused on just building one machine. It's like a one trick pony, a very expensive one trick pony, but it also kind of loses attention for all the other things happening on the side.

geopolitics was one of them, but also their logistics was somehow, sometimes a mess. And also the way they handled HR was a huge problem for the company.

Ryan
So they wanted you to create a mirror for them. Did anyone not like the reflection that came through your book?

Marc Hijink
Nice way of putting it. I think in the end, ASML is a company that really appreciates an honest view. And so they gave me all the freedom just to talk to everybody and they never tried to intervene or to steer the conversations I had. Which was also a thing I had to pinch myself in the arm for, because they really appreciate an honest view and a holistic view. And I guess that's part of their engineering culture as well. So it doesn't help the process to be polite to each other. You just have to catch it. To make a deadline, you have to be fully aimed at being blunt and creating the least bit of latency, which means you have to be direct and...

to be honest with each other. And that's the thing I wanted to emphasize in my book as well. And I think that was perceived well at ASML, so to speak.

Ryan
I'm happy for you that they received it really well. And it must also be quite cool that as a Dutchman, as a proud, honest, blunt Dutchman, you got to report on, you know, the biggest, baddest company that your country has created in modern history.

Marc Hijink
Yeah, but you know, the funny thing is that a lot of Dutch people actually don't realize how important ASML is for the rest of the world. So there's one of the problems that the company was quite obscure because its technology is so complex and... Right, right. It's, well... And people just take for granted that a semiconductor is just another component in their electronics.

Yeah, but the ecosystem is depending very much on ASML and also the ecosystem of ASML is growing with the company. So the whole supply chain has to accommodate ASML and ASML has to accommodate the growth of the semiconductor industry. So kind of the whole manufacturing industry in the Netherlands is leaping forward and...

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