Kogan: Without Google, Apple would be nothing
23rd Mar 2012 | 15:30
Australian TV entrepreneur talks tech
Ruslan Kogan may not be a household name in the UK but in Australia his company, Kogan Technologies, has shaken up the TV market and proven that you don't need a shop to sell televisions, just a good online presence and competitive pricing.
Given that Kogan was recently revealed as the richest person in Australia under the age of 30, it's fair to say this approach is one which is working and he has recently taken this idea to the UK, selling Kogan-branded products – TechRadar recently reviewed both the Kogan LED55 and the Kogan FHDLED26 – and will soon offer big name brands through its UK website.
Kogan's company mantra, according to Ruslan, is to not compete with the big guys on innovation but bring products to market that people actually want to buy – and to do this Kogan looks to Google and the data it offers through its search engine.
"I am a massive fan of Google and everything they do," Kogan explained to TechRadar when we met him this week.
"We use Google to figure out just what we should make and buy. We were the first company to add a Blu-ray player to a TV and we did this because that was what people were looking for online. I'm surprised more companies don't do this.
"The problem is with companies like Sony and Samsung, they use focus groups to figure out what the public wants. But once one person asks for a coffee in these groups, the rest follow like sheep and ask for a coffee too."
Kogan is such an advocate of Google he believes the search giant is the reason Apple is so successful.
"Without Google, Apple would be nothing. They may have great phones and tablets but the decent apps and the ones everyone uses on an iPhone and an iPad are made by Google, like Google Maps.
"Google won't do this but they could piss off Apple by making their apps only available on Android tablets, they have the power."
This isn't to say that Kogan doesn't admire Apple's popularity, in fact he believes no company, including his own, can even begin to catch them up.
"We are not trying to compete with Apple – we could never make a tablet like the iPad, we don't have the resources but what we do is listen to our community," said Kogan.
"We use our forums and ask people what they want. If they want a cheap tablet with Android then that is what we provide.
"Apple works in a completely different sphere to everyone else. They add a premium to their products and their followers are so loyal they will pay it.
"I honestly don't think Apple would have sold any less new iPads if they had sold them for twice the price."
Fixing a problem
When it comes to technology Kogan is very pragmatic about how the industry works and is trying his best to demystify the notion that new products are complicated things to the non-tech savvy.
"People think that technology these days is complicated – it's not. A tablet is just a screen and a circuit board. A TV is just a panel, usually from Samsung or LG, and a power cable," Kogan explained.
"I spent my childhood repairing technology that people said was broken. I would go to the local mobile phone shop and get all their broken stock – and then use Google to find out how to fix the phone then I would sell it back to them."
Kogan's hands-on approach has meant that he can get product to market quicker.
"Once we have spoken to our forums and found out what our consumers want we can get a product out in under a month – I don't know of any other company that does their business like us."