Departing editor Dominic Sacco shares some of his memorable articles and moments during his time with PCR.
It’s my last day at NewBay Media today, and I didn’t want to just end it with some goodbye emails. So why not take a trip down memory lane and round up some of my favourite articles and moments as well?
I hope none of you see this as pretentious – that wasn’t my intention (and please, if you weren’t mentioned it doesn’t mean anything!) – I just thought it’d be nice to reflect on a small pick of articles that I had fun working on over the years.
Trade bodies clash over ‘tech police’ (September 2013)
This was one of my first exclusive pieces written for PCR, based on an interview with Synaxon’s Derek Jones. CompTIA wasn’t too pleased with it, if my memory serves me correctly, but it ended up generating an interesting response from people within the industry (plus I got to put a picture of Robocop in the magazine).
British PC manufacturing ‘back with a vengeance’ (January 2014)
When Centerprise acquired Yoyotech back in 2013, the company allowed the system builder to create some brilliant new machines, and held a launch day to celebrate.
I had a chat with Rafi Razzak and CK at the event, and spoke about everything from the resurgence of the desktop and the strength of the UK PC market.
I also want to give a shoutout to Yoyotech’s man-cave (thanks for the pizza)!
‘PC games have surpassed console games globally’ (April 2014)
When I wrote this piece I had no idea what kind of traction it would get. A quick follow-up with an analyst fed me an interesting piece of news – that the PC games market had now overtaken the console sector in terms of revenues.
It soon got picked up by other sites and for a time was PCR’s most-read article. But what I like about it the most is probably the rather worrying comments section.
Network Group invited me along to one of their expo and gala days a few years back, and Phylip Morgan gave me a quote that really ticked off a bunch of people in the industry (namely indies).
He told me what someone needed to do in order to join Network Group: "First of all, you need a passion to grow your business. There’s no room for lifestyle businesses around here; we are totally serious about what we’re doing. If you’re generating £1 million per year, we want to know what you’re aiming for next year, where that’s going to come from and where the opportunities lie – can that work for somebody else?"
Phylip, honestly that ‘lifestyle businesses’ line still gets mentioned by some people to me today.
Another little mention should go to this article: ‘Should Synaxon and Network Group merge?’
‘Let’s stop putting lipstick on a pig’ (December 2014)
Mionix caught my attention at an Entatech trade show. They were shoved in the corner with a tiny stand, but had popcorn machines, were blaring out hip-hop music and wearing T-shirts and caps, setting themselves apart from everyone else in the room.
I introduced myself to CEO Carl Silbersky who immediately freed up his time for an interview. And he told me how the rest of the PC accessories industry was getting it wrong.
The ‘will they, won’t they’ debate around Ebuyer and Overclockers potentially opening physical stores seemed to last forever. In the end, neither of them bothered, but I had fun covering this story along the way.
It was also great to take the Ebuyer warehouse tour with former MD Stuart Carlisle.
The Jon Atherton interview that never was (June 2015)
Between winding me up and trying to get me to play Counter-Strike with him, I would occasionally interview Jon Atherton for PCR.
When he left Entatech, I was promised the first interview with him as an Exertis executive. And it was a great interview, very brash, very bold, very real. Incredibly cheeky. It was probably my best interview I’ve ever conducted with him.
Unfortunately, it never saw the light of day (possibly due to some of the things he told me). Eventually we agreed not to run it. And I sulked for a while. But I would’ve loved to have seen your reaction if we did run it.
In the Hot Seat: Kriss Akabusi MBE (June 2015)
The gold medal runner gave a legendary motivational talk at the 2015 Synaxon conference, and I was lucky enough to get 20 minutes with him afterwards.
Aside from the interview being funny and frank, the personal advice Kriss gave me will stick by me forever. Thanks for the wisdom, Kriss.
I’ve got to be honest, I do enjoy the rivalry between these two. There was a point where they seemed to be almost at constant loggerheads.
Whenever I had the opportunity to interview AMD’s gaming scientist Richard Huddy, he always gave me loads of great quotes, which usually got a reaction out of Nvidia, and the hordes of AMD/Nvidia fans.
I’ll admit I probably went a bit sensationalist with some of the headlines (can you blame me?). After that, AMD seemed to be a bit more careful around what they said to me in interviews.
Richard also once told me that AMD’s FreeSync tech would be cheaper than Nvidia’s, only for Nvidia to say it couldn’t comment on ‘products that don’t exist’. Love it.
Michael Dell interview (November 2015)
It was great to speak to Michael in person about retail at the Dell EMEA Solutions Conference last year, as part of a panel.
When I joined PCR I gave myself the challenge of interviewing several of the industry big boys, but alas was unable to secure the likes of Brian Krzanich and Bill Gates. Sorry!
5 honourable mentions…
Witnessing the legendary overclocking area of Ian "8Pack" Parry stands out as a memorable moment for me.
During a behind-the-scenes tour of Overclockers’ warehouse, I came across a table awash with modified components, described by staff as a ‘man’s paradise’ and ‘a mess’.
A selection of words from the piece:
I ask how much gear Parry has broken or damaged over the years in order to be the best. “Oh God,” Relic replies with a pained expression on his face, as his brain figures out the total amount. “Tens of thousands,” he adds. Is that the number of pieces or value in pounds? “Who knows, who the hell knows,” Relic sighs.
On a tour of Ingram Micro’s new UK office back in February 2015, I was astounded by the amount of vendor/partner logos dotted around the place.
They had an Office 365 desk, Crucial cushions and even a wall cupboard sponsored by Brother. When the former UK MD Brent McCarty told me I should think about getting the PCR editor’s desk sponsored by a company, I couldn’t tell if he was being serious or not.
Yes this is a book written by WD’s component sales manager Yemi Elegunde, and no he didn’t pay me to feature this here! I just think it’s a brilliant read and an emotional insight into being a young boy taken from the UK to coping with life in Nigeria.
Yemi is quite the author – perhaps WD should open a publishing division.
The Arnie cover
Okay, so it’s not a PCR article, but it’s still a highlight for me.
During my time on PCR sister title ToyNews, we once conducted a Christmas spending survey with parents, and there was no other picture to accompany this quite as perfect as Arnold Schwarzenegger from Jingle All The Way. So that’s what I did (or at least, convinced my then editor to do).
When I first started calling people up about this topic, I was almost put off writing it. Several execs were worried about putting their name in print, and a few more tried to wean me off doing it.
But I got there in the end, and it drew a positive response from readers.
It’s been a great journey over the past three years, and I hope you’ve enjoyed our content within that time. The PCR ship is in safe hands with Jonathan Easton and Sophia Murray going forwards, so please make them feel welcome.
Stay in touch and I look forward to seeing which direction PCR goes in the future.