Min Liang Tan Success Story: The Unconventional Gaming Guru
He has a cult-like status in the gaming industry; he is unconventional, unassuming and absolutely unassuming. Over 500 people across the world have tattooed his company’s three headed snake logo on their body, and he is the co-founder of a $1 billion company. Can you guess the person we are talking about?
Well, chances are you have not even heard about him if you are not an avid gaming industry enthusiast. Yes, we are talking about ‘Tan Min Liang’, the 38-year old owner of the firm Razer, which designs all those must have equipment that hardcore gamers absolutely rely upon.
How Razer Came Into Being?
The story of Razer is almost absolutely linked to the story of Min Liang Tan and it is absolutely impossible to talk about one without discussing the other one. The journey dates back to as long as 1998. As the young Min Liang Tan tried to build his prowess as an expert gamer, he realized that his PC mouse was not geared for it and invariably could not keep up with clicks.
Increasingly what was happening that he put his energy into creating a prototype that could tide over the click issue of the earlier PC mouse and help gamers achieve a significantly better gaming industry. To test the efficacy of the product, he entered a server at the far end of the 90s to test for their performance. Though he was thrown out almost immediately, a word about the mouse started spreading organically and demand continued to grow.
Though the company Razer was not incorporated for almost 5-7 years after this, i.e. in 2005, it’s this mouse that created the fantastic journey Razer has begun. Min Liang Tan’s responsibility pretty much remains the same. He tries to identify and create products that offer serious gamers a better gaming experience without compromising the quality of their game. As the company’s motto says, “For gamers, by gamers” they continue to build products that they themselves like and want to have. No doubt, their book of records clocks such amazing numbers like:
- 13 million connected devices sold thus far
- Garners a user base close to 4.7 million gamers on an average every month
Razer today has a wide product range including gaming software, laptops, headsets, controllers, mouse/keyboards, wearable as well as an Open Source Virtual Reality Platform. Needless to mention, in many ways, Razer is a true reflection of the maverick personality of its founder, Min Liang Tan.
Meet Min Liang Tan
Considering his Carlsbad, Calif-based company now employs close to 600 professionals and joined the ‘Unicorn Club’, and he is often included in the list of tech giants like Satya Nadella, Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick, he is pretty assuming and maintains a rather low profile. He comes across as rather unconventional and is hardly anything that you expect from a founder of a $1 billion plus company. But, perhaps in a way, it is this low profile that he maintains and enables him to fly under the radar and continue to keep excelling in the core business prowess, i.e. designing new and unique products.
He runs his own Twitter and Facebook account and is rather uncensored in his approach from the profile picture that he uses where he is standing next to a woman with her midriff exposed to the language he uses to connect with the crowd; it is hardly something that you would expect from a Silicon Valley trained profession. But again, it is this dash of unconventional and an out maverick mannerism that is instrumental in creating the absolute success and focus of the company and the product line-up that he designs.
In his own words, Min Liang Tan was “one of the laziest bastards you’ll see in any place.” He regularly missed classes and grew up on a steady diet of some gaming industry classics like Wasteland, Road Runner and even Rescue Raiders. These not only helped him in developing a keen sense of understanding about what worked and what not in the gaming industry but was also in a way responsible for helping him bring in a certain amount of precision in the overall product efficiency that Razer now peddles.
Eyes On Future
In Min Liang Tan’s words, “the future of the gaming industry is essentially interlocked with the brilliance and excellence of the virtual reality experience as we perceive it now. No doubt that this would promote not only a lot more visceral gaming experience but also the most immersive types that would involve a lot more active and complete participation of gamers anywhere and everywhere in the world”. In many ways, he feels the future of gaming is about successfully blurring the lines between reel and real, games and global realities.
His recent creation, a smart band, Nabu X is all about breaching these conventional boundaries. It goes on to offer its gamers both offline rewards like eight hours sleep and online bonus like extra life during the course of the game. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that while Min Liang Tan’s products are continuous trying to make games as realistic as possible, his business module is all about gamifying this entire corporate conundrum pretty much the way you would see it on the sets of the “World Of Warcraft”. They do not concentrate on setbacks, keep challenging their own boundaries and are continuously on the quest to beat the best.
It is almost needless to mention that Min Liang Tan and his brand of corporate success exemplifies the brilliance of keeping it simple and genuine and never really giving up the childlike thirst to understand, deconstruct and remake a product that pretty much becomes a cult in the gaming world. His intense ability to maintain the passion and drive of a young entrepreneur despite the phenomenal success that Razer has experienced in the past decade has ensured that product excellence and innovation is something avid gamers have begun to associate with Razer to the extent where they do not mind tattooing the three headed snake on their body.
Good luck 🙂