Interview With John Chow From 1999

I was going through some old designs on the Wayback Machine of my old company l that I had sold back in 2002. I happened to find some interesting content, including an interview with one of my favorite bloggers and somebody I’ve known for a long time, John Chow. John Chow is what you would consider a “dot com mogul” (at least according to him :) ). At the time that I had met John, we both owned computer hardware review websites, he is still running his. One of the articles I had written for my site was an interview with John, but it hasn’t been online for a long time. I happened to stumble across it on my computer, and figured there would be a good amount of people, including himself, that would get a kick out of some of the responses (TTZ is John):

SL: Tell us a little bit about yourself (Age, Location, etc.)

TTZ: John Chow. Nick name “Moto”. 34 from Vancouver BC Canada. Born in China, came to Vancouver, Canada with my parents at age 7. Been here ever since. I guess I would be considered a grand dad to most of the young techies. I have a daughter name Ashley who is 8 years old. My background is in finance. I graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a degree in Financial Management. Computers are a hobby. Always been interested in them.

SL: What exactly got you started working on The Tech Zone?

TTZ: The Tech Zone started out as Moto’s Project 504. It was a personal home page about the first computer that I built myself. Never dream it would become what it is now. Back then, the whole site was just 6 pages long.

SL: How long do you spend working on your site a week?John Chow

TTZ: I normally spend 2 to 4 hours a day updating it. I use to have to find the news. It’s much better now that most sites send me their news to post. Most of my time is spent testing products and writing articles.

SL: How many people do you have working on the site?

TTZ: No one really “works” for me. The Tech Zone is still run like a personal site. I don’t want to get too commercial with it. Most of the articles and reviews are done by myself. I do have others write for me from time to time. Right now the site is run by me acting as Editor-In-Chief and Kahthan “Kat” Deane will be the new webmaster and CGI guy. Kat also runs SavageXtreme.com and was a webmaster at the Review Zone. I also have people working behind the scene to help make the site run smoothly. Pauline Taylor is the most important. She puts in long hours to help me out with the site. Then there’s Mick?, Mudzy? and Kincaid?. I always seem to be using their computers as guinea pigs. :-) I also have a few Tech Babes who model products for me.

SL: What do you like to review and how often?

TTZ: I would have to say video cards and CPU. Let’s face it, there isn’t much different between one 7200 RPM drive to another.

SL: Who designed your site, and what sort of technologies did you use?

TTZ: The site is done by me. However Kat is going to do a complete redesign of it soon. The new site will be database driven. You’ll have to wait and see.

SL: Who are your influences in life and why?

TTZ: A girl who’s name I don’t know, because I didn’t have the guts to ask her for it. This was when I was about 15. I was on a bus going home and seated a few seats away was the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen! However I was very shy at the time and never made eye contact with her. When I saw her looking my way, I would turn away. Anyway, my stop came and I got off. Turning around as the bus left I saw her looking at me…..and she smiled. I would given everything to get back on that bus but it’s was moving and I couldn’t out run it. :) I went back on that bus for a few day after hoping to catch her again, but never did see her. It was at this point in my life that I decided if you really want something really bad, you’re just going to have to go for it. You never know what could have been.

Did that sound too corny? :-)

SL: What are some of your future plans for the site, new features, etc?

TTZ: We got some cool plans for it. But mostly, it’ll be more reviews and articles. The goal is to get to one new review or article a day. I think that is possible with some help from others.

SL: Other than computers, what do you like to do in your spare time?

TTZ: Hmmm, I guess LAN parties is part of computers huh? :-)

SL: Do you get a lot more of fan mail, or flame mail?

TTZ: Mostly fan mail. It’s always nice to hear that your article or review help someone out. Most of the mail I get are questions about computers. However I’ve been getting quite a few email about the Tech Babes. :)

SL: When did you get involved in computers?

TTZ: My first computer was a C64 with like 64K or memory! I’ve been into computer ever since. The first computer I built myself was Project 504 which was a PII-300 overclocked to 504Mz. Project 504 became The Tech Zone

SL: What kind of advice would you give to people who would like to run a site like yours?

TTZ: Do it because you love it, not because it can make you a lot of money. I never started The Tech Zone to get rich or make a lot money from it. This is my passion. I would do it for free and was doing it for nothing.

Advice I can offer is this.

1. Get a domain name! If you really want a serious tech site, you MUST have your own domain name.

2. Content! Content! Content! If you’re just going to do a news site with no unique contents, you can forget about ever been big site. The news is covered very well by sites like Blues News and Voodoo Extreme. You’re not going to be able to topple them. Without unique content, visitors have no reason to come to your site. They can read news anywhere.

3. Update the site EVERYDAY. A stale site is a dead site.

4. Find a good web host that can handle the kind of traffic you plan to run. I been kicked out of more host than I care to remember because my traffic level was too high. Lots of web host offer unlimited traffic with a * next to it. Read the fine print! You will find that unlimited isn’t really unlimited. My current host, Digiweb, is great. They don’t care how much traffic I run.

SL: What is the best part about your job?

TTZ: Getting all the free toys from manufacturers. This is the best job in the world! I get all the latest and great computer stuff free! :)

SL: What do you least like about your job?

TTZ: Nothing. This isn’t a job to me.

SL: Is your website your only job, or do you do something else as well (school, work, etc)

TTZ: Besides the tech zone, I own a local print and copy shop in Richmond.

SL: How do you think the chip war between AMD and Intel will progress, who do you will come out with the best chip after next year?

TTZ: Intel will win.

SL: Will Macs ever become as good as the PC’s in the gaming industry?

TTZ: No. Not with Steve Jobs running the show. He’s more concern with how a computer looks and feel than how many fps it can get in Quake.

SL: Who do you think will be the leader in graphics technology in the next 6 months?

TTZ: nVidia. They seem to be doing everything right lately. Got all the good OEM contracts and one whale of design team working there.

SL: What??s your opinion on overclocking? Do you do it? If so, what do you overclock and how much?

TTZ: I don’t have a computer here that is not overclocked. Currently I have a PIII-500 running at 630Mhz and a Celeron 366 running at 605Mhz. Overclocking is a good way to get more power out of your computer. I have no problems with overclocking as long as it’s done right..

SL: So, what is the LAN parties you frequently hold about?

TTZ: The Tech Zone LAN party is held every Saturday. We start at 9AM and go till about 2AM.

SL: What happens at them and do a lot of people attend?

TTZ: We have a core group that always show up and anyone is free to join as long as their computer is up to stuff. We mostly play Quake 2 and 3, but have been doing some Unreal T lately. It just a fun way to spend a day. We even get in some testing of new computer stuff during the breaks.

SL: Anything else you would like to add about anything?

TTZ: Ya, digital cameras rule!

SL: Who do you want to as the next United States president or what character from a computer or console game would make the best president/teacher/wife, and why?

TTZ: I don’t care as long as he don’t nuke Canada.

Maybe I should do a follow up interview, since much has changed in the past 8 years!