The Dead Pixels Society podcast

Crafting Digital Legacies: How Projector Turns Family Films into Modern Streaming Experiences

January 18, 2024 Robert Marks Season 5 Episode 148
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
Crafting Digital Legacies: How Projector Turns Family Films into Modern Streaming Experiences
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Imagine transforming a clutter of dusty old family films into a sleek, modern viewing experience. Robert Marks, CEO of Projector, explains the compelling reason behind this new digital video service in this interview with Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society. Marks' entrepreneurial spark ignited from a personal need to easily access and enjoy his own family's cherished visual memories, leading to the creation of a unique platform that's been called 'Netflix for your home movies.'

This episode unpacks the nuts and bolts of Projector's annual subscription model and its standout feature: Turning photo albums into cinematic slideshows right on a TV screen. The conversation leads us through the user-friendly design and Marks' vision for a future where our personal histories are as streamable as our favorite shows.

Lastly, Marks gives us a behind-the-scenes tour of how Projector's growth was propelled by affiliate marketing, rather than costly advertising. He shares insights on forging fruitful partnerships, such as those with The Photo Managers and IPI Photo, which helped garner an enthusiastic early adopter community. The discussion reveals the strength in leveraging established networks and the low-overhead, high-reward business model that's setting Projector apart in the digital legacy space.

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Hosted and produced by Gary Pageau
Edited by Olivia Pageau
Announcer: Erin Manning

Erin Manning:

Welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast, the photo imaging industry's leading news source. Here's your host, gary Peugeot. The Dead Pixel Society podcast is brought to you by MediaClip. Advertite Printing and Independent Photo Imagers.

Gary Pageau:

Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixel Society podcast. I'm your host, gary Peugeot, and today we're joined by Robert Marx, who's the co-founder and CEO of Projector, and he's coming to us today from Cleveland Ohio. Hi Robert, how are you today? Hey, gary, great to see you and thank you for having me. So you're a relatively new company in the imaging space. We actually ran into each other at the Dead Pixel Society coffee meetup prior to Visual 1st this year. You know, didn't know anybody and you met a bunch of people and that was great and we got to learn all about you and your award-winning service. So before we get into the award-winning service, can we talk a little bit about what Projector is?

Robert Marks:

Sure, I'm also new to this industry. This is not an industry I came from. I am a serial entrepreneur, started many companies over the last 35 years and I want to tell you that I have a wife and four children, and that's very important because I'm also on the keepsake side of this industry. I'm not a photographer, I'm not a videographer, I'm not an expert in anything, but keepsakes are very important to me, whether it's our home movies, photos, photo albums, all that cool stuff. I was trying to solve a problem, and the problem was that I had 600 gigabytes of digital video home movies. I did a great job of organizing them, converting the old media to digital, and I had no way to watch them, and that's why I came up with this idea of Projector. Projector is Netflix for your home movies. You give your wife, or the remote, control over home and she rules the world. You stream everything. We have probably subscriptions that every streaming app you could think of, but we can't watch our home movies. And I thought well, if I had my own Netflix and my wife can cup three clicks on the remote, we could watch my 26-year-old daughter's first birthday. We could watch my 24-year-old son's basketball game in high school and I have two other kids who we got, as you can imagine, an amazing amount of events. I was also the kind of person in my larger family, my older family, my parents' family, one of six children, and I ended up with all my dad's collection. So I also have all that. I watched my high school basketball games and let my kids laugh at my short shorts. So one day it hit me because I've been trying to solve this problem for decades and I know we don't want to go down that road, probably now, but one day it just hit me. I put the internet with smart TVs. I wanted to upload my videos, I wanted to create a video streaming app that looked like Disney Plus, looked like Netflix, looked like HBO's Max product, which is great. That's what I wanted and nothing existed. And YouTube channels and Vimeo and all the existing products are cool, great, have their purpose, but they're not this, they're not that Netflix viewing experience. So I said you know what the pandemic hit? I was already theoretically retired from a previous industry I had a okay good career at and I said I'm going to do this thing with no past experience in the industry and no past experience developing software, let alone TV apps, which is a whole different world.

Gary Pageau:

So how did that come about? So you're home with the pandemic, you're thinking that you know people want to look at their pictures and memories, so so, so, so where do you go for that expertise? What did you do? Because I mean, obviously you didn't like take a crash course in coding, you didn't do this yourself, right, you got some help. So how did? How did that come about?

Robert Marks:

Well, as an entrepreneur, the first thing I do whenever I come up with an idea is I build a pitch deck, a PowerPoint. I try to keep it under 10 slides right, Lay out my business idea. Here's the idea Netflix for your home movies and I lay it out how it'll work, how we'll take it to market all these things. I made this pitch deck and I started calling people I knew from past lives marketing agencies, development houses that I knew, people I knew in the industry, people I had hired to do my marketing to my previous businesses said I have this idea. We're going to solve the home movie viewing problem because no one can view their stuff. This may sound morbid, but when my father passed away in 2010, I was able to go to his house in Florida, grab a couple boxes of stuff and succession of the home movies happened. Now it's all digitized on my hard drive. If I disappeared tomorrow, that stuff is just gone. I wanted to solve this problem of home movie viewing and I pitched it to at least 12 different entities, including when it needs some financial service places and venture capital firms. And another idea think tanks, incubators, things that I knew from previous business and said I have this idea. What do you think I'm telling you? Everybody sat there and said, oh my gosh, my dad would love this. Oh my gosh, my mom would love this. Oh my gosh, I could do this for my family. We have the same problem. No one wanted to touch it. I didn't understand because I thought it's so simple. Remember the Apple? You have your own Netflix on your Roku or Apple TV. It's great. They knew something I didn't know because they were smarter than me. This would be very expensive, significantly harder than I believed it would be, and would take a very long time to get it going. And even when you get the product working, to get traction, subscribers become a sustainable, viable business. It's not like we're going to become Mark Zuckerberg tomorrow. They knew that. I didn't, so I realized you know what, I'm just going to have to do this myself. And so I found business people that I could work with and said I'm going to start this company, I'm going to build it myself. And I partnered with the correct people who knew how to do the things I didn't know, like the coding and stuff. That's really how we evolved Started from a pitch deck. That pitch deck is now hilarious to look at because it's so different and often amateurish, to what the product looks like today. But now we're three years later from that time and we have built and launched. We actually officially launched the product December 1st of this year. So, just but 17, 18, 19 days ago, we now have subscribers on four continents. Three days ago, I got a client in Columbia who requested some customer support to help. Well, guess who does customer support? The CEO and co-founder here, and I'm talking to this woman named Anna in Columbia, and she even allowed me, gave me permission, to look at her projector and it's unbelievable. She has her own Netflix on her family TVs and she got the idea and loved it. So it's slow traction, it's cool, but you can imagine how it warmed my heart. Light years away from actually being financially sustainable and successful in this business, but people are getting it. It just evolved from that old pitch deck to talking to Anna from Columbia which, by the way, I did all of my iPhone through a little chat on our website that you can talk to a customer support person on, where you can, other sites, because technology today is unbelievable and what you could do today starting a business being virtual and the tools, the software as a service applications. It's amazing this couldn't have been done 10 years ago. So that's the start.

Gary Pageau:

So let's talk a little bit, kind of, because when I first saw it, like I said, at Visual First and I didn't know anything, so I was, you know, watched your presentation, your award-winning presentation. When we'll be getting to that, you know, I'm like well, you can do this on a personal YouTube channel, you can do this. I can watch YouTube on my Chromecast or, you know, or on Apple TV. So what is the difference? Right? Is it just for technophobes, or what is some of the compelling features of this that you think makes it worth a subscription fee?

Robert Marks:

First let me specifically answer your question in three words the Netflix experience. But let me get back to that. I tried a YouTube channel. I tried a Vimeo channel. If you've ever heard of this application called Plex, I built a Plex server. When iTunes first introduced the Apple TVs, the Mac Minis and iTunes, I put a Mac Mini in my basement with iTunes and I built the same concept locally. When hotels in the early 90s started having their first video on demand and interfaces that we all use where you're in a hotel and you could choose movies and TV shows and live TV, I'm like what is this? I can have this in my house to play my home movies. And I found it was a Linux space software. I built a Linux server in my basement. Sorry for those who aren't techno geeky people.

Gary Pageau:

One of my people get that.

Robert Marks:

My audience gets that I had the same thing. If you went to a high place in 1995, I had that same thing running my house with a HDMI cables running around the house through the walls that I ran and we were doing it locally. I've been trying to solve this problem. They all had their issues which we can go down, but for YouTube alone. Here's simple. My wife will watch the Netflix experience. She will not use YouTube for this functionality. She's probably on YouTube every day and doesn't realize it because she loves all the YouTube and Facebook and TikTok videos and people are sending her links all the time. But she's not gonna go to our TV, go to the YouTube app, go to our channel and watch commercials for Pennzoil Oil and ED dysfunction issues While she's watching my daughter's birthday. She's gonna have a hard time navigating it. Youtube is great. This is not a bash on YouTube. I think YouTube is amazing. If I needed to know how to play the violin tomorrow, I'm gonna go to YouTube first. But watching my home movies, I wanted the Netflix experience. It's that simple. Any TV, anytime anywhere?

Gary Pageau:

Have you run into any issues calling it the Netflix experience? Have the Netflix lawyers called you up and said I can't wait. I can't wait. I'm not trying to take advantage of them.

Robert Marks:

I'm trying to compliment them. It's like Kleenex. I decided to come up with a tissue. I'm gonna say, hey, it's the Kleenex, for whatever it is.

Gary Pageau:

for guys like me It'll be interesting for the see the lawyer sort that out, I hope they find it as a compliment.

Robert Marks:

I often say Disney Plus 2 because when I started developing, disney Plus actually launched right as I thought of this idea and I'm like, wow, they're categories with Star Wars, national Geographic and Pixar. It's really what I want. So if you look at projector, if you're on projector, it has way more of a Disney Plus experience. But Netflix is the Kleenex of video streaming apps. So it just that's what I say. I hope they be complimented. I hope they get mad and approach me. That probably means I've gotten some traction. At that point. Right now they don't know why I'm only here to do Well and the lady in Columbia who knows who you are. So Australia knows me now too in North America and Canada. It's kind of cool, but not enough yet, yeah, so you've got an Apple or an iOS app.

Gary Pageau:

You've got a Google Play app. You can get it on a broke. You can get a fire TV and get an Apple TV and a Google TV. So it sounds like you've got your bases covered there. If you've been able to get on any of the smart TVs, what are some of the possibilities there? Because I think that's once it's built in, then you're golden. So that's great question.

Robert Marks:

So we realized that the two that were the most important globally, let alone North America, is Samsung Smart TV and LG Smart TV Right. Then you have Vizio. It's very expensive when you launch on eight, nine, 10 platforms. You also have to have the iOS for the iPad and iOS TV and web. The web version, which is the most important version, is how you manage and upload your content. That's another platform. You have to manage all these platforms. So by adding another, smart TV is another platform. So I commissioned in August for Samsung and LG. We completed both of them 10 days ago. We submitted the application to Samsung to put in their app store and this is not a mock on Samsung, they're probably the best TV you know. Always my premier TV in my family room is a Samsung and then I buy cheap Roku's. Everywhere else you don't have the processes that Roku, google, amazon, fire, apple TV do. So we're still waiting to hear from them when it's going to go live. So it may be live in the next 10 minutes. On Samsung, lg, we haven't submitted yet. We will, but if you look here, that TV, right there is my first LG Smart TV I've ever owned. I just got it on Amazon, delivered about three weeks ago because we'll be on LG. My hope was by December 15th both would be live. But I'm worrying how to work with their app stores and I think that LG if my developer had my developer correctly is they're still trying to figure out how to submit it to LG. So yes, we'll be on. We've got to be on close to 98% access to the North American TVs when you're on those big four platforms plus Samsung and LG. So that's happening.

Gary Pageau:

So let's talk, let's throw that a little bit into the offering a little bit, because you know it's not cheap. It's, you know, 129 bucks a year. So what do you get for that? What are you know what's the best way to get it? You know what's the besides the lovely experience and all this ease of use and all that you know, are there privacy features involved or they're sharing features? What are some of what's the basic, like bullet points of those?

Robert Marks:

And I will try not to make this the longest answer in the history of this podcast. So it's $129 a year. I went for an annual subscription because I'm trying to get this launched and keep it simple as a minimal, viable product which is a very impressive MVP type product. It's very well done and very feature rich. But People seem to be sick of another 999 or 1295 a month package. I thought I'm gonna do one package, 129 annual subscription, so you don't have to deal with the monthly bill and your credit card. Everyone's sick of it. Everyone's trying to figure out. I cut the cord with my cable. I have internet separate. I have seven streaming apps. Now I'm paying more and they're frustrated. So I went annual subscription. I will eventually bring in a monthly subscription. $129 is unlimited uploading. I just told you I have 600 gigabytes of videos. I also have 100 gigabytes of photos. Another feature projector it's the first video streaming app that I'm aware of that can play photo album slideshows. You can upload 200 photos from your family's trip to Cozumel and in three clicks, like playing a Netflix movie, you're watching a slideshow on your TV. When we were at that visual first conference in San Francisco, even though we were in a room full of 200 tech people. I bet you a vast majority of them do not know how to easily play a slideshow on their TV. My 84 year old non-tech social worker mother can play a slideshow on a TV because she has projector. So another cool feature about that unlimited uploading. You could put on two terabytes, we don't care, my costs aren't storage. 120 hours upload. You get a video streaming app on all your TVs. If you have multiple locations, you could put it. You could if you have kids who live around the country, they could put it on there. I would have paid three, four, five times this because you know I've been trying to solve this and I can't be alone. There's got to be millions of families like me who want this. This is also an early adapter price, because when I have a million subscribers and I hope someday I get there that won't be the price. The price will be a lot. So let's call it like Tesla. You want that first fancy Tesla. You may have to pay $100,000, but now you can buy a Model 3 for $39,000. It's just the reality. I need to make this thing sustainable and it's $10.83 a month to have this power, to be able to see it. People are paying a lot of money to have a digital photo frame. They're paying a lot of money to have digital photo books. What's it worth to you? I mean, if you choose between canceling Netflix, which now their premium is $22 a month, and canceling your children's memories, your family's history, the most important thing ever, maybe your memories for $10 a month, are you gonna cancel that? Are you gonna cancel Bridgerton or Game of Thrones? I think you're not gonna cancel a projector. So I think it may sound like a lot, but to me it's not. And boy, if this product existed, I didn't have to build it. I'd be the happiest $129.99 a month customer ever. But I do envision. I don't mind telling people this, gary, I'm very open about it. I think at some point this could be a $79.89 a year subscription, but it's a quite powerful offering. This product is powerful.

Gary Pageau:

Now for that. You get uploading, you get viewing, sharing. Now, is there a limit to the number of TVs you can put this on? Is there a? I mean is there. I mean, is this the Netflix for your memories? Meaning that they're gonna say you can't share the password Is? Are you gonna go that Netflix route?

Robert Marks:

No, this is the beauty of it, and let me get and I didn't answer sharing last time. I didn't wanna talk so much, so I'll touch sharing on this too. Netflix sells subscriptions to watch their content. They spend billions of dollars on content. So if I'm paying $19.95, they don't want me to give Gary my account. They want you to pay $19.95. Projector is a different concept. We're bought if you're uploading, if you upload to us, that's an account. And whether you put it on six TVs, 12 TVs, 40 TVs, it doesn't matter to me, doesn't take anything away from me. However, I could share it with three, four, five friends. I could share it with 50 friends. The reality is projector is private vault storage. This is not about social media and getting likes and comments. Netflix doesn't have likes and comments. What you realize when you have a projector account is it's not like having a YouTube channel or having a Facebook account where you wanna invite a thousand people. You're probably only gonna share it with a very small group of people. That's just the reality of it. So you can, you can share it with them. Those people can watch for free. So I can share my projector with you. You can create a projector account. I can invite you to watch it and on your TV, wherever you're at in the world, you can watch the Robert Marks family videos. However, if you want to upload, you wanna host your family. That's when you pay and that's the thing. And I can also say Gary, you know what? You probably don't wanna see all my videos. This is the Cleveland cold. I apologize, it'll be here until March. You probably don't wanna see all my videos. I could even decide hey, gary can see these videos, my brother can see this, other videos, my mom can see everything. So it really has really cool, powerful sharing things. But when it comes to the, how many TVs, who can see it? That's not my cost structure. My cost structure is gonna be developing the product and hiring staff. Technology wise. I don't have those copyright materials to do it. And, by the way, not only is it private storage and there's no commercials. I don't regulate what you put up there. Putting a file on projectors like putting a file on Google Drive. We're not scrubbing it and looking at it, what you're doing with it, it's private. I can't even see your videos. This is true private vault storage. Yes, it's in the cloud, which may scare people who don't want their stuff in the cloud, but there's no other way to make a streaming app work without the cloud. The good news is, if you use projector, we don't market ourselves as storage in the cloud. If you want true storage in the cloud, please go to Google Drive, please go to Dropbox. There's a million other things you can do. But if you do put a projector guess what? You're backed up in the cloud because we sit on AWS. We all know who Amazon Web Services is. I chose them. I wouldn't have been able to pull off projector, if you asked me, without incredible network and services and staff that AWS has. It is cloud storage too. You are kind of getting it. Throw a terabyte of storage. You're gonna pay more than $10.83 to put a terabyte of storage with Drive. With me, you get video streaming, Even though I'm not a storage company and I don't want to be held accountable to that. Please keep your stuff backed up locally.

Gary Pageau:

I'm drawing my Right, yeah yeah, read your terms of service people.

Robert Marks:

Yeah, yes, I put that all on my website. It just tells you don't put everything with us and delete it. That would not be wise.

Gary Pageau:

But you also have this sort of preserve forever thing, where you can name a successor. Talk a little bit about that.

Robert Marks:

Yes. So what was I trying to accomplish? And I'm still thinking do I need to keep this or not? I came up with three things I was trying to accomplish. First of all, view Solve the viewing experience that Netflix experience Got it.

Erin Manning:

Share.

Robert Marks:

Had my developers and the business requirements, make sure I can share it so that my brothers I have five brothers and my mom could see them, not my kids watch it. I have three kids that don't live at home anymore. They could log on I can share with them to watch it. The preserve forever is kind of like what's the point? What's the point of us taking all this stuff if my great-great-great-great-grandkids can't be immersed into my life because we had this incredible photography and videography equipment to capture our lives so they could see what Halloween was like, they could see what Christmas was like, they could just see what my voice sounded like. What wouldn't you do to be immersed into your great-great-great-great-grandkids? So the preserve forever is successors, and I'm telling you, before I knew that Facebook had some kind of way to preserve your Facebook account, and way before Apple ever had theirs, I thought of that. So we are going to have, as we develop this business, a very robust succession department where you can name a successor and if your account is ever in a situation where it's not, the credit card expires or gets no one's paying for it anymore and we can't get ahold of you, we will contact the successors and say hey. So I have this vision of a tree where, at some point, my great-great-great-great-grandkids can have a projector account for their family, but they can click on and see their parents, their grandparents, their great-grand-grand. You know that.

Gary Pageau:

You're going to get into sort of that genealogy kind of space there.

Robert Marks:

I think I'm more ancestry than I am Netflix. Yeah, that's true, I was talking to some guy who wanted to invest in me and he literally said this well, the streaming wars, how are you going to retain clients? And I'm like I'm a keepsake, I'm not competing with Rizarton. I'm not competing, you know, with my football games, with that Apple and Amazon are fighting over. I am a keepsake. I'm fighting with a photo book which, by the way, I'm not even competing with those. You should have all those things if you care. And this guy literally said well, I took home movies, but I don't really care to watch them anymore.

Erin Manning:

You're not my customer.

Robert Marks:

That's okay. So that's my point. Though I'm a keepsake item, that's what I see with the projector as so when you're.

Gary Pageau:

I guess the question I have is, you know, putting up random clips. You know people take 10 second clips here, 30 second clips there. They're kind of random, kind of whatever. You know people really are editing in things like they used to or should or could. Are there editing tools built in where you can put some stuff together, maybe take some fragmented clips and do something with it, or is that on the roadmap? Because I see that as one of the inhibitors that I see working with video is. You know, video sort of tells a story. Right, it's a very passive thing for the viewer. They want to sit back and watch the story being told and they don't want to see disjoint clips and things. And where do you do that? Do you do that on the home computer, do you do that on the phone, whatever, and then upload it? Or are there going to be tools within projector to help with that process?

Robert Marks:

That could be a very long answer too, but I'm going to try and go to a few roads here.

Gary Pageau:

Hey, we got all day. We have all day.

Robert Marks:

Awesome, there's a lot of buckets here. First of all, I come from a generation where we had a camcorder versions as they eventually got to digital in the early 2000s, maybe 2005. My wife and I would always leave the camcorder out almost every day. We'd pick it up and record when we fill up a two hour tape. Boom tape out, next tape in and I'd mark the dates of the range of that tape. Now I have hours that really do tell the story. The amount of people who have these tapes is insane. Met a person in Fort Worth in July at a conference and he's in the video transfer business. I said well, what's going to happen to your business when there's no more video tapes to transfer? And he said I will run out of equipment that can video transfer before I ever run out of clients.

Gary Pageau:

Yeah, that's a whole segment of the market is the image conversion business that's amazing and they love projector.

Robert Marks:

So that one no brainer. We have the videos, we have the story. Now you have these young people who are taking 15 second clips and I've been immersed into something that I never thought I'd be friends with. Now millennial moms, 32, 33, 34 year old moms. They're the now the videographers and photographers of their family story. They have one, two, three kids now and I said well, I guess you take 1000 photos a week and almost no videos. And they're like well, I do videos, I do photos and I'm constantly making five, six, seven minute movies. We go on a vacation to Florida, on the way home on the plane, from my iPhone I make it a seven minute reflection video with music and graphics and it's 10 second clips with photos and it's incredible. I go what happens to those? And she's like since I'm a computer forever, no one ever sees it. They love her. A lot of people now because of projector are saying well, robert, I have, I'm an Apple photos or Google photos I know I can highlight from an album things and export a movie and a lot of make music. Can I then take that exported file, upload the projector and make it a movie? Yes, so people are doing that. For some people this may never be a good solution Because they're just so unorganized and they don't really have the ability to do that, but I don't care. Oh, they don't care. There's definitely that bucket too, but there are people who Do that, a lot of people. I thought more people be excited about my photo album slideshow, but a lot of them says no, I'd rather make a movie out of the photo of a photo. Yeah, put it music and it's a movie. It is a movie. But here's a real cool thing too. You may recall I Mentioned them when I spoke at visual first. It was a group called the photo managers.

Gary Pageau:

Yes, Very familiar with Kathy Nelson and her folks. Yeah amazing.

Robert Marks:

So you're talking about Certified, almost 800 professional photo managers. They help those families who do care but will never organize Right. They're going through their collection, whether it's old camcorder tapes, whether it's all digital, whether it's 15 seconds and 600,000 photos. They organize it and they're like projector is the solution for these families. That's really where I'm getting my traction right now. Right, because they're the ones will do the work. Every family will want a Photo album, every family will want Grandma to have a digital photo frame and every family will want to have their own Netflix. The photo managers help that. And it's not just photo man. There's other organizations I've gotten involved with to who are now on board with projector. So there's so many answers to your question and there's just some people that you know it's okay, but I've never had last product I sold. I sold it in Cleveland, ohio, columbus, ohio and Chicago Illinois. Now I have a product that's global. That's in Asia, that's in South America, that is an app, it's in Taiwan. So I have a big market, but there's just some people. It's not gonna work for it as far as your question About the editing tools and stuff like that For me to go and try and compete with you know, wondershare in Adobe and Apple's iMovie. What's the point? Those already exist and I have another $10 million to build a product that wouldn't be as good as theirs. But I built what they don't have, which is the hosting mechanism. None of them allow me to view projector. Is that viewing experience? Can that be a future thing? Down the road? There's the, the possibilities of what projector can or is insane. Yeah, I need subscribers right now because right now an incredible platform and I'm raised to 10,000 subscribers. I want to get the 4,000 by the end of this year. I want to exceed 10,000 in about 20 to 24 months. At that point I'll be able to build those things. Right now I need to prove this thing is great, get these people happy and the testimonials are. Pouring a kid you not got a Test the mother the other day. If you want me to read it, I would read it to you. It's actually a woman. She's coincidentally happens to be in Israel a grandmother like anywhere else in the world, but she obviously reflected on how tough things are there and Every day she's watching her daughter's wedding and videos of herself and her kids and Project. It was a beautiful thing, and that's just one of Several dozen testimonials I've gotten from actual clients. Another woman in North Dakota Her parents got married in 1939. They must have been a wealthy family because they had a videographer who did the wedding on 335 millimeter. Is that how I was back then?

Gary Pageau:

I think yeah, yeah, I mean the only way I mean they shot a movie film is what you're saying, yes had her parents wedding.

Robert Marks:

It's sad in the can forever. No one had ever seen it. This woman had it. She's now 83 years old. Because of projector they got it digitized. They put it on projector and her testimony was I watched it Five times the first day and I watched it every day since so. Helping someone like that watch these special memories. So is it just older generation? If it is, that's wonderful, I think it'll be a younger generation thing too. Yeah, so.

Gary Pageau:

Let's talk about customary acquisition and you know getting the word out right. I mean, that's, that's always the trick, right? You may have the greatest product in the planet and you know, projectors sounds like an appealing product, but how are you reaching people? How are you getting people scribe Because, like he says, not for everybody but it's for a lot of people? How are you gonna reach those lots of people?

Robert Marks:

Well, that is the answer. That is the question. And that will be the, that will be the determination if I'm around in two years or three years with this business. Right, you know, because if I have no subscribers 12 months from now, I have this very seriously considered is worth continuing. The good news is, you know, we've added a couple dozen subscribers just since December 1st and no advertising probably never will advertise until we have a lot more customers or do a big money raise. And will I have 4,000 by the end of 2024? We will see. I always assumed it would be a direct to consumer product. I've never been in a B to C before Glorified ever was in my 35 year career before this but I've been never been in a B to C before. I assumed. Ah, social media marketing, facebook, instagram, tiktok, it's easy. The ads are cheap. I'll spend 10,000 a month on ads and I'll start onboarding thousands of users and they're going to go nuts. Yeah, that's, that's not reality, and I don't have the tens of millions of dollars would take to even have a chance that the possibly you know light a match and get lucky with a spark. What I didn't know when I started this is and I already started it, I was already a year into development that there are these associations like the photo managers. As an organization called IPI photo, they work with retail camera store.

Gary Pageau:

Yep, they're, they're, they're my pals. I know those folks well. Yep.

Robert Marks:

They're unbelievable. I attended their conference I referenced it earlier in Fort Worth and they went crazy for it and everyone's like you solve the viewing problem. I mean, I felt like a rock star and, by the way, when I was there the product really was. It was more like a, a, a concept car had no engine, the headlights glued on with with Elmer's glue and they're going to fall off, and someone leaned against the car, but they got the concept. So what I developed is an affiliate portal. So people who are a member of those two organizations and there's other people outside the industry who have found us now because they either follow those organizations or they follow us, or they they follow Hans Harman at visual first who are reaching out and saying, robert, I see you have an affiliate program. They've become my sales force. So I've already signed up over 200 of them, who are out there, who I'm training. I built sales and user guide tools for them, online tools for them. They have to go through a process with us, they sign paperwork with us and they sell the product and for them they they're going to their existing client base. One woman a kid, you not has 60,000 followers on Instagram just for the photo and video keepsake world. She put out a blurb two weeks ago, when I launched on December 1st, and she had 40 people immediately require. They want projector. That's just you know. One Instagram post, that's just one person. So right now, by distributing that way, I have no cost of acquisition. I pay a residual commission to these affiliates. They earn it, but they're not going to get rich by getting a small piece of my $129. They're going to make money because they're going to charge their clients who are willing to pay it, to organize and break their photos. And they're not just doing a projector, they're doing all the other cool products, probably going through 60,000 photos and getting rid of the 40% that are worthless. The other services for them, exactly. So that, to me, that was a creative way. I'm an entrepreneur. I'm a struggler, a fighter, a survivor. We're fulfilling for God's sake If I could make business work in Cleveland. You can make business work anywhere, right, exactly.

Gary Pageau:

You guys are scrappy over there.

Robert Marks:

Yep, and I even have. I have a partner who's in Lansing. I have another person we brought on and she's in Dover, new Hampshire. She is a lifelong video centric person who's been in this business for over 30 years, saw a projector in March, reached out to me and said I have to be involved in this, and several people in San Francisco came up to me and said I have to be involved in this. I have no idea how at this point, but we're keeping a relationship going, so maybe on a. Here's the cool thing, gary. I got no expenses. There's no office, there's no phones. It's computers, it's AWS servers, it's people working from their homes on laptops who have other jobs and are on our payroll.

Gary Pageau:

So I do have staying power, but it's got to become you know, I mean you got to have revenue at some point, right, I mean you don't want to have it.

Robert Marks:

It's cool. This will be our first month of revenue and we got it. You know we already got some. I never was so excited to make a $129 sale of my life. I was used to selling products that would cost about $90,000 and take seven months to close. You know it's exciting. I think we got a good chance. I think we're in the game Good.

Gary Pageau:

Good, well, listen. So if someone is like my audience would be people who would be potentially be affiliated or interested in the affiliate. Where can people go to get information about becoming an affiliate or learning more or partnering with you? Cause I do think there's all kinds of partnership opportunities for people in the in the tech industry and the imaging industry to be involved with projector. Where can people go for more information?

Robert Marks:

I will give you a lot of information. First of all, our website is projectorstreamcom and I use that. If I don't want to be known as an app. I really want to be known as a streaming service. Projectorstreamcom is my website. My name is Robert. My email is Robert at projectorstreamcom, pretty simple. Uh, we have an insider newsletter, strictly for our affiliate network and people in the industry. Send me an email and say Robert heard you on Gary's podcast, would love to be on your insider newsletter. We get. We tell them exactly what's going on with us. We started the newsletter, I think, in May and of information we provided and the advancements we've made, I think I've fixed 70 platform bugs and about 40 enhancements to the product because of feedback from my affiliates who are communicating with me. Also, email us at insider at projectorstreamcom, if that's easier for you to remember. Find me on LinkedIn, robert Marks. Projector. I would love to be friends with you on LinkedIn. It's the greatest social media app of all time, uh, and I would love to hear your thoughts. I'll get out of zoom with anyone. Uh, I have one of those Calendary links and I'll send you an email and jump on and I usually have about 10 appointments open a day and work with people. I'm really committed to this. This is what's cool. This will be very self-serving. Never in my life had a product I sold that I actually care about. Everything else was always a means to an end. I you know no one no one gets excited about building data centers and selling fiber optic networks, because that's what you grew up to do. You grew up to be a basketball star, but videography home movies is a passion of mine and I'm really having fun with this. So, um, I'll talk to anyone and work with anyone and would love for you, if you truly you want to use this for the right purposes, which is for families or other decent things like that. This is a great platform and I think you'll love what we've done. And we're just beginning. I can only imagine what Netflix wasn't. A first came out in 2007. It wasn't a great interface. I just blows that away. Uh, disney came out. You could even get Disney on um. I think Roku didn't have it on there. I'm sure Fappletv had it. We're already going to be on six platforms at the end of this year, so we've come a long way and in 10 years, this could be an amazing thing. Um and AI is a. We're looking at AI not for the consumer to use, but for our affiliates to use to help them build projectors more efficiently and faster for their clients.

Gary Pageau:

Great Well, it's some Robert Great to connect with you again and, uh, look forward to talking to you again. Thanks, Gary.

Robert Marks:

Thank you so much.

Erin Manning:

Thank you for listening to the dead pixel society podcast. Read more great stories and sign up for the newsletter at www. The dead pixels societycom.

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