The PocketVJ started in early 2014. As an artist I had a project, with limited budget, to build a seasonal projection mapping installation around a huge building. After an unsuccessful search for a small, reliable and syncable video player, I decided to build my own player, PocketVJ 0.1 was born. A few months later people started to ask me for multi-screen solutions, I realized that others needed this player too and I started to sell this tiny mediaserver. Many artists, technicians, theaters, galleries are using the PocketVJ happily in their daily production, with their feedback I constantly update the feature list of PocketVJ.
While looking out for a copy-protection mechanism, I realized it will be much better to make the whole player open-source. The pros are certainly on hand. Every user can modify the player for his needs, it opens the door to legally integrate tools other people wrote and in term of environmental impact its possible to re-use the unit for far more operation purposes. The first units where printed on my 3d printer and the packing was made from wood on my laser machine. While trying to promote my invention to event-companies, I often got the feedback: "It looks cheap, we do not like the packing and its not expensive enough to be a reliable mediaserver". At this time I had several fully automated projection mapping shows running on the PocketVJ without any issues at all! On lightfestivals I saw company's with huge and expensive mediaservers, sucking a lot of energy, running proprietary software with licence dongles and they had stability issues, just to mention.
The next logical step was to create an even better model, with a deluxe packing and a metal case. I spent nearly a year searching for locally produced materials. I found a manufacturer which would make me packaging from recycled cardboard here in Switzerland. After the first estimation one box would have cost me around 200.--, which was, with all ideology in mind, not acceptable. Even a production in European countries did not match a cost/performance ratio for a small quantity. Finally the current packing of PocketVJ Exhibition was produced in China in a batch of 100pcs. For the metal case there was no Swiss company willing to produce me a small batch of 75-100 pcs. Luckily I found a company in Italy. For the expansion board I knew its impossible to get something locally produced. So I set the focus to engage a person which knows the matter and is running a one man business as I do. Thanks to the internet I found someone in India who designed and built me the board with passion. I also engaged some opensource developers which rewrote and/or are still writing code.
I am active in the opensource-scene, helping with testing, documentation, feedback and donations. Its time to think about where your money goes, are you really okay in supporting huge, data-hungry, environmental polluting and human existence destroying companies? I am not! I am also not perfect, but I do my best.
After talking to professors in economy and successful entrepreneurs to ask for a better market strategy for my product, I was very confused. All of them gave me the advise to create a phone app, collect data of my clients (which is you), creating a yearly subscription model and make separate licences for each function on the player. I decided not to follow their advice! A fully profit-orientated and conditional way of selling tools to creatives feels bad to me. Please keep this in mind and support PocketVJ.
The long term goal is to give creative workshops to people, to sell enough units to pay rent and living in a friendly, motivated and future orientated environment. I am curious about your PocketVJ projects, please send me pictures of them and I am very open for constructive feedback.