Alienware Interview

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posted 3/18/2004 by The GN Staff
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Gaming Nexus: Who do you think is your biggest competitor right now?

Brian Joyce: Honestly, we really look at Dell more than anyone else. Maybe because they have such a great history of operational performance and they’ve essentially built their business plan on how much they can squeeze out of their supply chain and things like that. They are definitely somebody to watch when they get serious. Again over the long run, I don’t know how successful they are going to be but we do watch them more closely more than anyone else.

Gaming Nexus: Can you tell us some of the research and development process that goes into a new line?

Brian Joyce: First thing is, it’s probably a lot longer of a project than you would imagine. Even something like the revamp of the Alienware case. That design started as an initiative even before I came on board so it’s probably a year and a half type of an effort between getting the outside to look right, figuring out what features you want in the case, what materials, how it was going to be tooled, finding the right partners to work with, going through testing and validation. And sort of beta testing it with some customers and getting their feedback, putting that back into the design process. It’s much like anything else. It takes quite a while. We made some specific investments in engineers and technologists that can bring it to next level which is why we’re focusing on our innovation at this point. A lot of it is still built on recommendation from folks like yourself who are hard core gamers who play all the time, know what they like, know what frustrates them when they open the PC, know how to make it easier on themselves and by extension on people like themselves.

Gaming Nexus: So a large part of your research can be attributed to something such as doing surveys on gamers to see what they like or what their favorites parts are.

Brian Joyce: Absolutely. We monitor our own internal forums. We monitor the public forums. We do do surveys both over the phone as well as web surveys. We watch industry trends as much as they are applicable to our market. We’ll take input from anywhere. And we monitor closely what reviewers have to say about our products and what letters to the Editor have to say and things like that and take all that into account.

Gaming Nexus: Sounds like you’re a lot more customer friendly than a big corporation like Dell in terms of what goes into their system.

Brian Joyce: We’d like to think so. Absolutely. We definitely place a high value on our customers in trying to make things right. We’re not always perfect. No one is. But we always try to fix the issues that we run into occasionally and make sure it’s a systemic fix so it doesn’t happen again. Arguably the lifetime value of a PC enthusiast customer is huge. They buy frequently and upgrade frequently. They’re willing to spend more for the very best. These folks are worth a lot to keep happy.
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