News | 09 November 2011
Tan Min-Liang (RI, 1994) is the Chief Gamer and CEO of cult computer gaming peripheral manufacturer Razer USA. Its first high-end gaming mouse, released in 1999 and christened Boomslang, made waves for being the world’s first 2000dpi mouse. Recently, Razer again made headlines for creating the world’s first gaming laptop, the Razer Blade. Min-Liang had once worked in the legal industry – he holds a degree in law from the National University of Singapore – but he had a great passion for gaming even then, and confesses that ‘it wasn’t a hard choice between games and dusty law books’.
You’ve been asked this question one time too many, I think – but humour us and tell us about how you met Robert Krakoff and how the both of you started Razer, and how Razer is positioned within the IT industry.
Krakoff and I met in California ages ago, and we quickly hit it off, talking about how there was a lack of true competitive gaming gear for gamers like ourselves. The rest is history. Razer’s position is rather unique – we pretty much focus on designing and developing anything that would give gamers an unfair advantage.
What makes Razer peripherals stand out from the competition? How do you go about dreaming up such deadly-cool names for your products (Megalodon, Anansi, Naga, etc)?
We do all our design in-house, and we design everything ground-up. All our engineers and designers are gamers too, and we essentially work by iterating over and over again to create perfect designs and products. This is how we built a cult brand around our products – the gamers understand that we know what they want.
Funnily enough, back when we were trying to think of a great name for our first mouse – we didn’t want to call it 1.0 or X225 or something lame like that – we thought of it eating up after all competition; eating up other mice. Hence, we named our first mouse after a snake and other snake-related names followed suit.
What has your biggest Razer moment been, to date?
My biggest Razer moment happened at the end of August 2011, when we launched the world’s first true gaming notebook – the Razer Blade. The press said that we weren’t just changing the face of PC gaming; we were changing the face of PCs themselves.
There are Razer offices in USA, Germany, Singapore, China and Korea, and you also entered the Indian market earlier this year. What’s it like holding together a global operation of this scale?
Well, we have just opened another office in Taipei – it’s been crazy and I’ve been living on a plane. We have about nine offices worldwide at the moment, and all of them are designed in-house to very exacting standards. We have a singular culture that revolves around our brand; meanwhile, each office is designed with its own unique take on the brand. For example, the Singapore office has its own in-house café where lunch is served to the staff and there are gaming machines stationed everywhere for their use. The entertainment area in the Singapore office serves about 200 people, and it’s named ‘802C’ after the Pantone code of the green in Razer’s logo.
What are your best memories of your time at Raffles? Were those experiences in any way formative? Is there a subliminal link between the school colours and the Razer colours?
Well, I remember my time in RI the most fondly of all my school years. The camaraderie, the friendship and the competition I experienced in RI have moulded me, and I still keep in close contact with my old classmates. Entering RI was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I hope to give something back to the school someday.
As for the colours – well, they must have weighed on us when we started work on the design for Razer.
Where’s Razer headed in the next three to five years?
We are one of the world`s largest gaming user interface companies, and we intend to continue growing our brand and global reach. We look forward to becoming one of the largest tech companies in the world, but more importantly, we look forward to changing the lives of gamers everywhere. Life is short, and we want to make a lasting impact on the world.
For Gamers. By Gamers.
To visit Razer on Facebook, please click here.
© This article was originally published in the 04 issue of ONE , the RI Alumni Magazine. To read the magazine online, please click here for our publications page