Interview: David Makin / Palit Multimedia

Interview: David Makin / Palit Multimedia

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Q & A

Q: Are you a computer geek that is into marketing or a marketing geek that is into computers?
David: I am first and foremost a computer geek. I got my first job working with computers at my local computer repair shop because I was buying parts from them and they knew I was a geek. I used to spend hours in there just talking about different hardware and which stuff was better. My wife actually put their phone number on speed dial so she could get hold of me when it was time for dinner.

Q: Do you do any modding or overclocking to your personal computer?
David: I did my first mod in 1997 when there weren’t many clear case sides yet. Started with a dremel and ended up with an angle grinder because the side was made of steel and I got bored. I added a small refrigerator to a case once and I’ve done a fair amount of water cooling. I built a PC in an aquarium and it’s still around, still submerged and still working. Tricky to transport though as it weighs about 60 pounds and tends to slosh mineral oil all over the place.

Q: If someone were interested in pursuing a career in consumer marketing how should that person go about it?
David: If you wanted to do this for a living there are two paths I think. One is to go to college and get a degree. That’s certainly the easiest way to do it. Or you can do like I did. Become a fanatic. I learned hardware first, software second and then started gaming and doing LAN parties. Add in a pinch of luck and there you are. I can’t stress strongly enough that no matter which path you take there are still certain things you have to do.

You have to be able to write. You have to be able to wear a tie. I know, I hate wearing ties but there are times where you have to. You have to be able to follow directions. You have to be able to listen to people and tell them what they want to know, even if they didn’t ask the right question. You also need to understand business.

Q: Palit has been around for 20 years, yet I did not hear about them until Newegg started selling them. Was I asleep all this time?
David: Nope, when I first got wind of Palit I didn't know who they were either. Getting past this issue has been a great challenge for us and we are still trying to get the word out.

Q: So how do you spread the word?
David: When most people hear things like pioneer and leader they think high end but, in the video card world, that's kind of impossible given the restrictions of AMD and NVIDIA in what we can do with the high end cards. But that didn't stop Palit from advancing technology where they could. So you see things like 1 GB cards and three phase cooling.

Palit has its roots in China where they own more of the discrete graphics business than anyone else. They focused on developing a manufacturing business to supply not only their own brand with cards but other brands as well. Because of Palit's ability to custom design graphics cards and their ability to mass produce them quickly and efficiently they have come out on top as one of NVIDIA's largest partners in the world.

The most important thing is Palit has accomplished this without sacrificing quality. Sometimes this means we don't have the least expensive solution but being really really huge helps us overcome the price battle. I've spent a lot of time on the phone with the folks at the corporate headquarters in China and quality is always a topic of conversation. There are so many things we can do in terms of heatsinks, PCB design, marketing programs and so on but the conversation always comes back around to how we make those things happen on a large scale without creating more problems than we solve.

So as we build our presence in the North America we are bringing the same philosophies that got Palit where it is with us. We are looking at many different ways of doing things and then choosing the best. In many cases the solutions available just aren't good enough for us so we're building them from scratch ourselves. PalitLAN is an example of that. We wanted to give some love to smaller LAN parties but I've been unable to find a good way to communicate with them so they know we want to sponsor them.

Q: Are there others ways Palit separates itself from the competition?
David: We’re building some educational materials into our website designed to help end users choose the card that’s best for them based on what they do- NOT how many adjectives we can put behind a model number.

You might be surprised to know that I really don’t have a detailed plan of exactly what we will be doing over the next two years. Every day the current plan gets a few more things added to it and gets refined a little more based on feedback we get from our customers and distributors as well as what I bring back from end users in forums and at LAN parties. It takes time to gather all this feedback and then put it into motion.

Advanced cooling is kind of an understatement. Damulta holds the #2 spot at 3DMark for a pair of 8800 GT cards in SLI and he’s on stock cooling. 1 GB cards will be everywhere in a few months and Palit played a major role in getting that ball rolling. Strict quality control got the RMA lab audited because our return rate was too low.

Q: I am sure that there have been some crazy ideas about how to market to North America. Have any of these crazy ideas actually worked?
David: Yes. PalitLAN is humming along nicely and small LANs are getting some love. I’m working with the factory to get some new PCB colors as a direct result of the posts in the TPU Forums. The T-shirts we have are more popular than any shirt I’ve ever seen. Of course, my favorite scheme is to just give stuff away at random.

Q: Finally, is there a chance that Palit will go beyond manufacturing just graphics cards and motherboards?
David: I am unaware of any solid plans to move beyond our core competency at this time. Opportunities lurk around every corner so you never know what the future holds. But for now, our focus is graphics and motherboards.
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