An Interview with a Suit...|
TAGOR takes on a Suit from a Major Underdog in the PC hardware business.
In the hardware business, companies come and go. S3 once ruled the OEM market and 3Dfx was once a 3D Graphics Pioneer. Now we watch as infant companies skyrocket to new heights, and last years giants are fighting just to keep themselves from being bought out or put out of business. Even the mighty Intel is losing ground against the once pitiful AMD.
With the growth of these young companies, also comes the young CEOs and corperate "Suit-Types" that nobody actually takes seriously, or even likes for that matter. A few years ago they were graduating from high school, today they own millions of dollars in stocks from various IHVs and DotComs.
So when I run into a Suit from a Major Underdog of a corperation now suffering the growing pains common for a company of it's size, I thought it might be neat to get an interview from the poor sap.
It was interesting, to say the least.
TAGOR: Seeing as how the gaming industry blows and there's very little to report on, or even make fun of that we haven't already ripped to shreds, we have decided to publish some not-quite-game related stuff. We were given the opportunity to interview an unnamed Suit from, as he explained it, "A Major Underdog" in the whole hardware industry. Of course, we jumped right on the chance. He claims to have vast experience working with many reputable companies. His position now allows him to travel, putting him, luckily for us, right outside of Music City USA where I was fortunate enough to meet up with him for an interview.
Suit: Good evening.
TAGOR: So, you work for a major player, eh? I'm guessing that it's AMD, am I right?
Suit: I can't really say...
TAGOR: Or 3Dfx?
TAGOR: One or the other. Either way, it hardly matters.
Suit: Like my suit? I bought it especially for this interview.
TAGOR: What's it like working for a company that is doing so well at the moment but has to constantly face so much competition?
Suit: It's invigorating. It keeps us awake at night.
TAGOR: So how long have you been with AMD... or ... uh... whoever.
Suit: Long enough to know - excuse me, my zip is undone.
Suit: By the way, the company has lovely toilets, did you know that? Proper soap and everything.
Suit: What was the question again?
TAGOR: Something about the length of time you've been employed with 3Dfx.
TAGOR: Toilets you say? Are they American Standard?
Suit: Erm, we're an international corporation you know.
TAGOR: American Standard, it's a brand of toilet.
Suit: I knew that.
TAGOR: Did you, then?
Suit: Can I have a glass of water please?
TAGOR: Just water? I think that can be arranged.
Suit: (WHISPERS) A friend of mine over at S3 told me how awful their toilets are. Really stiff paper and that horrible industrial soap. Awful.
TAGOR: Maybe Via will change that.
Suit: Yeah, they might get some of that nice liquid soap in.
TAGOR: I don't exactly see what that has to do with your position at 3Dfx. What is it you actually do at the company?
Suit: Let's see...
TAGOR: Surely you must have a regular job description?
Suit: Let's just say I'm heavily involved in the development of our home-consumer PC electronics. That sound ok to you?
TAGOR: How involved? What products are you working on at the moment?
Suit: You know I can't go into details...
TAGOR: Why not? NDAs?
TAGOR: NDA's. Non-Disclosure-Agreements.
Suit: You mean like a vow of silence, then?
Suit: No. Nothing like that.
TAGOR: Then why can't you tell us something about your upcoming product lines?
Suit: Well, I really don't know that much about them. I haven't been paying a lot of attention at work lately, you see.
TAGOR: I see. Well surely you can tell me something about something? There must be many products, some less secret than others, no?
Suit: Well... there is one. Suffice to say, it'll have some quite impressive numbers on the box.
TAGOR: Are those Specs or are you talking about the Price Tag?
Suit: You been talking to someone? Erm....I mean, that's very funny. No, I mean we'll be pushing more polymorphines that anyone else out there.
TAGOR: Oh really?
Suit: Loads of them. Of all shapes and sizes.
TAGOR: Oh, so you guys are getting into the Narcotics business?
Suit: Worse. Graphics.
TAGOR: Oh. I wasn't aware that AMD was in the graphics business.
Suit: Lots of graphics all over your screen. Excuse me, I feel a little dizzy.
TAGOR: Following in Intel's footsteps, I see?
Suit: I like to think that we forge our own path, even if it isn't always the right one.
TAGOR: Speaking of Paths, what sort of bandwidth and fill rate were you looking at with this, er, product?
Suit: Very high. In fact, we've been working on an advanced cooling system to allow for the pure power our product will have.
TAGOR: Ah, power. Good. I was going to ask, who is this product really aimed at? Productivity users or diehard gamers? TAGOR is a gaming news site, you know.
Suit: You didn't ask me what we were going to use for the cooling system.
TAGOR: Oh, well, all cooling systems are pretty much the same, aren't they? Heat Sink? Fan? Sometimes you get fancy and use a Peltier or two?
TAGOR: What more can there be?
TAGOR: What? Like Thermal Paste?
Suit: No, the sort you buy at the grocers.
TAGOR: I don't think I follow you.
Suit: It's nice coz it comes in different colours too.
TAGOR: Oh? Like iMac style?
Suit: No more like the stuff kids have with ice-cream.
TAGOR: That sounds terribly messy!
Suit: Well, our product will have a unique outer-casing into which you'll be able to pump the jelly. It's actually quite easy, and it's great fun too.
TAGOR: Wouldn't a standard heat sink be more than enough?
Suit: Not as much fun to look at. Besides, we're the only company developing jelly technology you know.
TAGOR: I hadn't really thought about it to be honest.
Suit: We spent millions on market research and found that this concept has never been given any serious consideration. Well, maybe not millions. Thousands. Hundreds. Well, really we just did a web search and came up empty.
TAGOR: But the real question is do you think there is a market for such things?
Suit: God knows.
TAGOR: So your marketing department didn't actually do any real demographic studies?
Suit: Are those the things that look like sales graphs with arrows pointing at the floor?
TAGOR: Maybe. Who was it you said this product was aimed for again? Diehard gamers, was it?
TAGOR: So it is a gamer's card?
Suit: It's a power-user's card, with the best value for gamers and casual users alike. If you get my meaning.
TAGOR: So there will be two versions of the card available, then? One for the mass market, and one for people with too much cash?
Suit: I can see you're trying to put words in my mouth...
TAGOR: Well... I...
TAGOR: You see, I just figured most everybody was running hard with the idea seeing as how Creative Labs has done so well with it.
Suit: Yes, it allows us to concentrate on the customer.
TAGOR: Of course. The Customer.
Suit: And his income.
TAGOR: His income. I see.
Suit: Or her - we're not sexist about who we take money from. Frankly, we don't care what frigging size, colour or shape our customers are. We're not prejudiced like that.
TAGOR: So what sort of price-range are you targeting this thing at?
Suit: To quote the marketing manager, it's going to cost tons. Not sure what he meant by that. Did you put something in this water by the way?
TAGOR: Er, no. It's just Nashville tap. You know how they put chlorine in swimming pools to make them clean? Well sometimes pools get too much chlorine in them and swimming in that kind of water can cause people's eyes to burn. Nashville tapwater can cause blindness. Anyway, where were we?
Suit: Just let me just loosen some buttons here.
Suit: Oh, sorry, I didn't mean you to see that.
Suit: That's better. Can I have another glass?
TAGOR: Here's a pitcher. Help yourself. The PH is way off, though. So when is this new product going to be available?
Suit: Thank you. Soon. But not too soon.
TAGOR: This year, perhaps?
Suit: You're probably right.
TAGOR: So you don't actually know?
Suit: These things take time to get right you know. After all, we wouldn't want to release a shoddy piece of crap - we tried that before and got found out.
TAGOR: So you're saying quality is top priority, then?
Suit: Yeah, we're willing to give the concept a chance.
TAGOR: Well that is certainly good to hear.
Suit: Man, this water is good.
TAGOR: It'll bleach your clothing.
Suit: Sorry, I'm getting off the point again. What is the point?
TAGOR: I'm not sure. Did you say this product was a Video Card?
Suit: That could be one of its functions, possibly.
TAGOR: So you think it'll be competing with the GForce 2 then?
Suit: Hehe. That piece of crap. LOL!
Suit: Sorry, I was thinking of our last card...
TAGOR: ...I was about to say...
Suit: Erm, yes, it will be lined up against the GeForce 2.
TAGOR: And how does it stack?
Suit: Well, we've got a winning strategy to take on the GF2....
TAGOR: And what's that?
Suit: A bigger box! It's gonna be huge - it'll take up a whole shelf all on it's own.
TAGOR: Don't you think retailers might not like that idea much?
Suit: Yeah...that's a point. Let me just write that down. B-i-g b-o-x i-s o-u-t .
Suit: How about a fluorescent box?
TAGOR: Didn't somebody try that already? They're probably bankrupt now, though.
Suit: Good, they can't sue us for using the idea.
TAGOR: What do you think the biggest hurdle getting this onto the market is going to be?
Suit: I see our biggest challenge is being distinctive in the eyes of the customer. That's why we're always concentrating on new ideas, so that we can stand out from the crowd.
TAGOR: Well, that's certainly a problem in today's competitive market, but aren't you the least bit worried about fabrication capacity, or effectively keeping costs within budget?
Suit: Have you ever seen those little Chinese kids work? Man, they can kick the stuff out of the door faster than you can say Shanghai! So, to answer your question - no.
TAGOR: So you're telling me this product will be manufactured in China?
Suit: Might be. Either that, or we'll fly a load of them over here. We can easily turn one of the warehouses into some sort of suitable accommodation.
TAGOR: Is that legal?
Suit: Who knows, but paying them $2 a week sure keeps the costs down and the result is a cheap product for the consumer. That's important.
TAGOR: I will concede that inexpensive products are a boon, but aren't you worried about workmanship? And there's always moral issues to consider.
Suit: It's never worried us before.
TAGOR: Well, I think that's all we have time for. Tell everybody back at AMD, TAGOR says hi. And if we might could get one of those new Athlons we'll surely give it a good review.
Suit: I don't work for AMD.
TAGOR: Oh, right. 3Dfx. A new Voodoo 4 or 5 then?
Suit: No no. Not 3Dfx either.
TAGOR: Well who then?
Suit: AMfx. Can I take this water with me?
TAGOR: Oh. I see. Yeah. Sure thing. Take it with you.
Suit: Thanks. They don't let me have water at work. I like the way it makes me light-headed. Good morning.