So after work today I stopped by my local Microcenter, because I was looking at the i7 930 processor they had for $200 vs Newegg’s $290. While I was standing next to the processor cabinet, two guys approached the area and started talking about a computer they wanted to build. These two guys were far from computer geeks, and were certainly approaching a 10 on the “bro” scale, and the nearby sales associate picked up on this pretty quickly. Being a good salesman, he took them under his protective wing and began his sales pitch.
It was not surprising, salesmen at Fry’s do this all the time, and I’m used to this. They will take advantage of someone’s lack of knowledge of technology to sell them more than they need. This is how Monster Cables got so popular in the first place. The guy at Microcenter wasn’t terribly sleazy, but did give a bit of misleading information. The guy who the computer was for stated that he mostly used his computer to watch ESPN videos online. What processor did the employee try to pitch to him? The Core i7 930 from Intel, of course. He mentioned that Intel used Hyperthreading technology that made each of its cores act “the same as if it was two cores”. I left before I could hear the conclusion, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy walked out of the door with a $200 processor and a $200 motherboard, when a $75 processor and $90 motherboard would have been just as effective for him.
This experience gave me an idea. There should be a computer concierge company that will escort you through a computer store and help you build your computer. The target audience would be people who are maybe enthusiasts, but have never built a computer before or are not sure of they decisions. But the service wouldn’t be limited to in store help. Maybe the guy would just want to chat on the phone, or exchange emails on advice between two choices, or on advice on a particular subject. Maybe they just want to meet for coffee and have a casual conversation about how to go about choosing parts, or what they need. Maybe once the person has bought all the parts, they need help putting the computer together.
Surprise, Surprise, I’m actually gonna try this out this fall. I’m gonna post on craigslist and be very upfront about what I offer. I’ll charge someone maybe $20 and I’ll meet them at Fry’s and help them avoid overpaying for a computer. I don’t expect to make much money, but I’ll be doing something I enjoy.