Posted by Benjamin Webb on Sep 21, 2012

Interview With Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan

Earlier this week, us here at Capsule Computers were given the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with the CEO and Chief Gamer of Razer, Min-Liang Tan. The interview was conducted by myself, Benjamin “LinkageAX” Webb, and we talk about the upcoming Razer Blade product from the company. You will find the full written interview below. We hope that you enjoy it.

Me: Bllbbllblbllbl
(laughter)
Min: Most people just start with testing 1,2,3. (More laughter) But that works too I’m sure.

Me: Min, you are the CEO of Razer?
Min: Yes, I co-founded Razer with Robert Krakoff, who is better known as RazerGuy. And uh, I am also unfortunately the CEO of Razer.
Me: So, You don’t look you’re old or anything people would normally associate CEOs with old dudes with grey hairs and stuff.
(Laughter)
Min: Thank you, you’ve gotta get this guy a beer in the morning (more laughter).
Me: So, uh, how old are you anyway?
Min: I’m 34.
Me: 34?
Min: Yes. I just had a really great nights sleep, no I had a horrible nights sleep. I actually look like I’m 18 with a good nights sleep. (More laughter).
Me: So what’s it like being a CEO at such a young age with all the responsibilities?
Min: I dunno, I haven’t really thought about it. You know it’s great fun. I’m doing this because it’s great fun, I mean I go to great events and I meet hot Razer girls, play games and get to design. So it could be worse, much worse.

Me: So we are here to talk about the Razer Blade, the device itself could you briefly run us through what it is for those who may not have heard about it?
Min: First I want to talk about why Australia first. So I’ve got my Facebook page online and I talk to my fans a bit and I’m on my Twitter most of the time and I manage these things myself. I don’t have a team doing that, I actually enjoy talking to my fans and stuff like that. And a great number of them are from Australia. And one of the things they’ve always said; and I don’t know if this is true or not, so now that I’m here you guys can tell me, but they always tell me that Australia get all the cool stuff last. Right, and I get that all the time. Now I don’t know if that’s just about Razer or it’s something else, but they keep telling me that. You know we’ve heard about the Blade and we want to get that. And one of the things that really got to me was that when we launched the first Razer Blade, two guys from Australia flew all the way from… I think Sydney, to New York to be the first couple of guys to get the Razer Blade. They put up their unboxing on Youtube and I actually showed the unboxing at my PAX keynote about three weeks ago for the new Razer Blade and it was really cool. So I got my team together and I said, “Okay guys, it looks like we have a bunch of guys that really want the Blade over in Australia, let’s do something about it.” So we have been spending a lot of time over in Australia setting up the support, looking at how we can really look at getting the Blade over here and long story short, here I am. So it’s time to launch the new Razer Blade here in Australia. Now what is the new Razer Blade? In a single line it is the worlds first true gaming laptop, which is a pretty ballsy statement to make because a lot of guys were like: “Hey, wait a minute, aren’t there already gaming laptops on the market?” So we think there are gaming laptops, absolutely, but they’re more like luggables – 2″ thick, 10-15 pounds type thing, nothing that you’ll want to carry around with you. So those are one of the problems, so you’ll go out and buy one and I’ve had a lot, and these are great machines if you just care about performance. But when I get on the road or if I travel, it’s not exactly what I want, it’s a little too heavy, it’s too bulky, it’s just not worth the trouble. So what we’ve got with the Razer Blade is what we deem to be the worlds first true gaming laptop where its’ got a bit of both performance and portability at the same time. So it’s three things, it’s extreme performance, it’s ultra portable and it’s got this whole new user interface that we’ve just designed for it. Performance: we’ve looked at all the other gaming laptops out there, they all tend to be quad-core, Intel quad-core chips, GTX 660s for the baseline and we’ve done just that; we’ve taken the exact same baseline performance metrics of a gaming laptop; those 2″ thick and 15 pounds and we’ve taken all of that and put it into something like that.
[Points to Razer Blade] I’m just going to very quickly show it to you.
Me: No worries.
[Move myself around table and meet Min around on the end]
Min: Have you seen one in real-life yet?
Me: Not in real life, no.
Min: So, it’s… most guys when they first see it are like “Wow this is a lot thinner than I expected.” This has got the same performance as a traditional gaming laptop. Which is like double the thickness. Exact same performance, you can play Battlefield 3 on Ultra, you can play Battlefield 3 on High with a great frame-rate, umm.. it’s super-think, it’s super-light and it’s really fast too.
[Min fiddles with the laptop for a second]
Min: This is my personal unit so I’m gunna… [Types password, I look away] We’ve even customised the boot-up sound (Swish!) this is my custom wallpaper.
Me: Ah yeah.
Min: So you can customise the wallpaper, this is the Switchblade UI [Points to touch-panels on the side]. We’ve got everything from Youtube, you can watch Youtube with this, walkthroughs if you’re in the middle of a game, Portal if you’re stuck there, build maps, three finger swipe you can go into the CS:GO applications, Team-Fortress 2… you can be like a Pyro and this is all with dynamic-adaptive keys. I can Tweet directly from this, umm… Oops, we don’t have an internet connection here… So pretty much Gmail. So this is Switchblade application and I will talk about this more this evening I hope you can join us.
Me: Yep!
Min: Just three things, Extreme performance – the same performance as traditional gaming laptops, ultra thin form factor this is 0.88″ thin, 6 pounds, we’ve redesigned the power-supply which is something I’m super proud of. I must be one of those guys that… I just… (laughter) It’s just the amount of time and effort we took to do this was just insane. So the traditional gaming laptop power supplies are 3 times the size of this. Two of those traditional power-supplies are the same weight as a Razer Blade, so it’s pretty insane. So we’ve redesigned the power-supply and this is super-thin a third of the weight, a third of the size, this is half the thickness, half-the weight and this is why we think that this is a true gaming laptop. Not just gaming, but laptop, it’s not just a luggable of sorts. So, that’s what we’re showing off this time in Sydney. It’s my first time being here and it’s been lovely.

Me: Cool. With the device, how compatible is it with Razer products? Does it come with pre-built software?
Min: Well it comes with Synapse installed and this is because of the Razer Switchblade-UI. So when I moved from my previous Blade to my new Blade, everything sort of came across. All of my settings on how sensitive or what acceleration I had, even my wallpaper came over immediately. So it comes with Synapse, you plug the Razer device in and it downloads all of the stuff from the cloud, right from the get go. I’m super-proud of it. Other than that  we’ve taken out all of the bloat-ware. So one of  the things about the Razer Blade is that we designed it for ourselves, so I didn’t want any of those anti-virus thingies telling me that I’ve gotta register after 15 days and stuff like that. To be honest I kind of designed this to be the laptop that I think gamers want to have, you know. There aren’t guys who want optical drives, I mean, I run steam. You know? That’s the thing. I haven’t used any discs in a long-long time, so we’ve taken out the optical drive. It’s got an SSD Cache which I love, that’s fast, It’s got a hybrid hard disc drive, a beautiful 17″ screen. So right from the get-go this has got a 1080p high def screen, you know, none of those dodgy type plastic things that we don’t want… yeah. (me: giggling)
So yeah, I’m excited to bring it to Australia. It’s a huge, huge, step for us so I’m hoping that moving forward, not just with the Blade but with our new products: Ouroboros, Tiamat; we’re trying to ship as many Tiamats in Australia as possible. Australia is going to become one of our focal markets moving forwards from here and hopefully someday we’ll actually set up an actual office over here.
Me: Sweet.
Min: Yeah. I must admit that this is my first time visit to Australia, so it’s something for us. So it’s something for us,  it’s a huge step for us.

Me: Cool. So, I think that’s pretty much everything that I wanted to cover, you kind of just went everywhere that I was going to go. So do you have any closing statements about the Razer Blade or Razer in general?
Min: Closing Statements? I think the Blade, the Blade is a product that we came up with because we wanted to come up with it. It wasn’t just, it wasn’t born from a couple of guys in a boardroom sitting there saying “Hey look, this is a market segment or an industry that’s segmented and categories and stuff like that”. If we did that, we wouldn’t have designed any of our products. You know, a lot of our products tend to be generations ahead of what other people have. Then all of a sudden  everyone’s got a gaming mouse, all of a sudden everyone’s got a gaming mouse-pad and we dare say in 3 years or 4 years, everyone’s going to say “Hey, look, look at my super-thin, light gaming laptop” and things like that. And some guys ask me if it bothers me, and it does not. I think it’s great, it’s great that gamers get more choice and it’s important that we bring gaming and innovation in gaming to the forefront. I mean, when was the last time anyone got to excited over a PC laptop?
Me: I dunno…
Min: Yeah, nobodies been passionate about it. I mean it’s always the same thing over and over again. And all of a sudden a tiny company like ours, and we’re tiny compared to the guys like Dell and HP, and we come out with something and everyone goes “wow”. But, why can’t a company like Dell or HP make something like that? They absolutely can, but nobody cares about the PC gamer. So that’s a problem. So it’s a bit of a mission for us. I hope we’ll be able to maintain this mission. It’s an expensive mission because we design everything ourselves [taps on sleeves] we design our sleeves ourselves and stuff like that. So it’s, umm, yeah. It’s a personal “for gamers, by gamers” mission. And fingers crossed that we’ll be able to propagate this. So I hope you’ll get the chance to experience the Blade and get this out there in Australia.

Me: Thanks for your time and we hope that we’ll get to talk to you later!
Min: Absolutely, looking forward to that.

We would like to thank Min-Liang Tan for giving us the opportunity to interview with him and we wish the best of luck to Razer with their launch of the Razer Blade in November. You can also check out our coverage of the Razer Event here in Sydney at this link.

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