Secretlab's Ian Alexander Ang And Alaric Choo Are Engineering Comfort For Gamers One Chair At A Time
Ian Alexander Ang and Alaric Choo founded gaming chair company Secretlab in 2014, fuelled, to a large extent, by the backaches and strained necks they experienced after spending long hours playing computer games. They first met as professional gamers at a tournament, before Ian reached out to Alaric with the idea of creating a chair that could provide “incredible comfort for long hours, is aesthetically beautiful, uses industrial‑grade materials and has local warranty”.
After the launch of their first chair in 2015, Ian, who as CEO oversees engineering, marketing and product strategy, and Alaric, who is technical and partnerships director, have expanded their product line with three models: Throne, Omega and Titan. Each chair delivers supreme comfort with a level of firmness for good posture—the result of extensive R&D and quality testing.
The pair have since also achieved other milestones: they have sold over 100,000 chairs worldwide in 2018 alone; scored a global partnership with Riot Games, the developer of popular esports title, League of Legends, as well as a partnership with One Championship's esports venture, One Esports; and gained Temasek’s Heliconia Capital Management as an investor.
The meaning behind the name
Ian Ang (IA) The words “Secret” and “Lab” describe our company’s most important values. “Secret” suggests something mysterious and is such an alluring word—two qualities we want in our products. “Lab” points to our pioneering approach towards R&D and also how much Alaric and I love the product development process. Take our latest 2020 Series, for instance, which we launched after three years of R&D and quality testing. Also, very few people know what’s in Secretlab’s pipeline. We prefer to keep it a mystery.
Problem solving is just one part of the daily grind
Alaric Choo (AC) We have to tackle tough challenges and decisions constantly. The difficulties scale at each juncture so while we become more experienced, the challenges evolve as we grow… sort of in the same way they unfold in games.
IA Grit is needed in achieving success. This doesn’t mean blindly going at something endlessly, but having the mental fortitude to take on multiple problems all at once without giving up or settling for the safe or easy solution.
The power of gaming lies in the lessons learned
IA Gaming has taught me more about business than anything I’ve learned in a classroom. I’ve learned the concepts of economics, cost accounting and even organisational structures from playing massively multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft and RuneScape. Finding the most efficient way to complete a mission often requires you to think outside the box, which can also be applied to running a business.
AC Gaming will always play a central role in our lives. It has broadened our network and given us the chance to forge lasting friendships. While a lot of the simulations are virtual, you can learn a great deal about a person’s character which you might not have been able to in reality.
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