Thank you so much for all your support in those last 5 years. (Time flies!)
Sorry for not being too entertaining in that email and to tell you that I won’t be able to develop Psykopaint any further.
I think you deserve some proper explanations and context so let me tell you the whole thing.
It’s both for you to understand and also because I want to get some stuff out there.
Call it email therapy ;-)
My name is Mathieu Gosselin and here’s my story:
I’ve started Psykopaint as a side project 5 years ago. Back in the day I was working for important digital marketing agencies doing interactive flash stuff. But I wasn’t really fulfilled by the type of job I was doing. I was supposed to be a developer executing on others vision but I’m way too pathologically creative for doing just that. I guess we’re put in a box to be either a developer or a designer, or whatever and just do one thing. I am too passionate about too many things for that. Anyway…
I like beautiful things but I can’t draw shit. So I was using code to make pretty imagery. This is called Digital Art.
I didn’t invented anything, I got inspired by Erik Natzke and others and went into my own direction. I personally think we should keep the human component in the end and come up with ways to enhance human expression rather than trying to replace it with algorithms. We can create new evolved tools. So I just threw the website out there for fun and to have others messing around with it. It would allow anyone with no drawing skills to make beautiful stuff too.
It wasn’t a serious thing at the beginning until I started receiving emails such as this one:
“I hope you will forgive the informality. I just discovered your site yesterday. I teach Autistic students in high school with varying degrees of challenges. Some are non verbal and intellectually challenged….others quite bright yet limited in scope and functionality.
Your site is absolutely IDEAL for my students and how they can learn to apply their creativity yet maintain some form of reality (make sense?). I am very excited. Congratulations on having a way too cool site and I look forward to using your site as my students move forward. I plan to have an “art gallery” within school of their work and your site is the catalyst!”
This touched me deeply. Like ‘wow, I’m not so useless after all’ I could actually touch people’s heart with my work. It’s an incredible feeling and I got hooked. Then I wanted to pursue it and make it happen for as many people as possible. Trying to revolutionize the way people create stuff. Lowering the barriers to creativity and allow anyone, able, disable, young or not to express themselves.
I finished my last contract job and lived on unemployment benefits for 1 year. Yes we have that in France. That may not be a moral thing to do to live at the expenses of others. But that’s all I could find as initial funding idea. I also realized I needed to make money from the site If I wanted to keep it going. I’ve tried a bunch of things but nothing worked. Lots of visits and usage, but no one wants to pay for anything. Especially at a time where most software was cracked and considered free by most. So I joined a startup incubator and tried to learn how business works.
In the end I managed to raise venture money. We had a great product, lots of recurring visitors. We just needed to crack the code to get revenues. It sounded simple. Well. it wasn’t
With all that money raised, I hired the best people I could find, and those were technically super strong. Guest speakers at various tech conferences and so on… The cream of the cream.
The idea was that if we couldn’t get people to pay on desktop, they’ll probably do on iPad. After all it’s a much better medium for a painting app.
So we focused on just that. I had great ambitions for that next piece of software. we wouldn’t just copy/paste what’s on the desktop and put it on tablet, we would totally revolutionize digital painting with a product that’s so innovative, technologically advanced and intuitive, that it will set a new benchmark for painting apps. We would be the first real time 3D painting app. We had one of the best guy on board to make that happen. We would have incredibly innovative brushes, again I had one of the best guy (and the very same person I looked up to when I got started) on board. We would also be a full social experience, customizable galleries, so you can have your own wallpaper, own frame and own painting surface, also having people share their work is really important to get motivated and spread the app. It would have different rooms instead of a boring digital interface. It would feel realistic, tangible and human. Most software nowadays is plain flat, digital and boring. Doesn’t have a soul or personality. (It doesn’t seem like it matters for many others but me though…) So in the end we would build the best product ever.
I thought It would take us 8 month. It took us almost 2 years!! I don’t know where to throw the ball but in the end I am the guy responsible. So I think It was me being a lousy manager and not assuming being a boss. I’ve learnt a great deal about that in the end, but that was too little too late. We run out of money before we even shipped the thing. That’s an even worse sin than shipping a product that failed.
So it’s fair to say it didn’t go as planned. I thought with the skills we had in house it would be a formality, but there are many things to consider: cash flow, time, people’s inner motivation, personal lives, egos, communication, accountability. Things that an experienced manager would know how to manage with. Not a first timer like me. So in the end I had to finish the product myself. I couldn’t pay my crew anymore. I know they wished they would have helped me but they were all too happy to not get into the uber-complex code and fixing those annoying bugs. I can understand such a long term project can be draining and they have a new job. They didn’t have to help. But one did and he’s really an awesome dude I’m grateful for.
So that period really sucked for me. I felt like a total failure and abandoned. One of my main investor completely ignored me (Although some angels were formidable like Bob Mason, Walter Winshall …) and also there’s a sort of debt in the company that convert into share on fundraising, but if you don’t raise then… guess what happen! So that sort of freak me out.
My last hope was to finally fix the bugs, ship the product and with all the moneys from the app’s success get back on track.
Well that’s not what happened.
The app was released. It was even featured my Apple. Some people paid for it. But too few to even pay myself a salary.
So this was it. I knew it’d be game over.
I tried some press but no one cared.
I think this was a real ambitious project and it’s the best painting engine ever made. It’s got freaking realistic lighting simulation and you can paint on wood!
Doesn’t seems like it matters much. Someone even told me he didn’t like the “filters” on the painting. Hearing this was like a stab in my chest. Worse than any insult I’d ever received. It’s like the real thing and he thinks it’s a “filter” and don’t like it? Oh boy.
But that’s true the product isn’t as smooth as I wished it would be. I wished we could move to paint mode straight away, it would save automatically and you could very rapidly move back between the gallery and your painting. That was the idea. But for some technical reasons that I have learnt way too late It wasn’t possible. I think that’s the major thing that crippled the experience as the paint engine is kick ass… and we haven’t explored it completely. We could 3D sculpt and add varnish if we wanted to.
And then I see some really stupid apps being built in 4 weeks receiving millions of visitors, getting all the love in the world, some friends selling their companies for millions…. And me whom some people praise like I’m a freaking genius of some sort but can’t even pay a rent with the revenues from an app that just reached a million registered user. I’m not that smart, I can’t live up to that standard. I wasn’t even able to manage a few people and get shit done and then make something people want. I would probably have shipped something faster and leaner if I was on my own. How silly is that.
Anyway. I do want to move on now. If you noticed some connection issues recently it’s because I migrated the servers to new ones for which I can get free hosting for a year. Otherwise I’d have to pay a lot to keep it. I found multiple ways to cut all the company costs (Nagging for free email sending from SendGrid, cheap accounting, Free hosting from Google for this year, Thanks to Linode for providing free hosting for last year ) so it’s self-sustaining… for a year. I’ll be able to let it run for that time at least and will keep doing the support. Some people purchased the app and I just can’t leave them hanging.
So I’m in the process of selling the company. I think Autodesk, Adobe or DeviantArt could be a good match, but the ball is in their camp.
If you know some companies or someone who’d be interested. Pass it along.
I think it should have a future. We built a great community and great products. I want to find a great suitor. Not just let it die slowly.
A good soul even proposed to build an HTML5 gallery. If you know how to code and would like to help. Let me know.
So I just got a new regular job and moved to a new place. I have a family and I need to provide.
Actually my new job is great fun and quite well suited to my skills. It stretches my comfort zone and I’m quite happy with it.
But so I really can’t put much time into Psykopaint anymore. I’ll just maintain it.
I don’t want this email to too whiny. I do have new projects in mind that I think have a great potential. And I certainly hope some of you will follow me on that journey.
I won’t get fully into that new project for a while though. I’ll get back to it eventually, I just need to settle things first. But I’m quite exited to make new things. So that’s what I’ll do.
I’ll try to let Psykopaint run for as long as I can. Perhaps the new products will be an epic win and will allow me to sustain it. Who knows?
If you can code in flash or in HTML5/JS and want to do help let me know.
Otherwise thanks for reading that uber-long piece of email and I wish you a wonderful day ;-)
Ian Stevenson's art is funny, twisted, unconventional and it speaks loud from the facade of a building to the viewers passing by. Like all the easy things Ian’s art is also hard to actually get.
As many contemporary british street artists Ian can be highly visible and at the same time he would act as a chameleon hiding his messages in very unikely places such as bags of trash.
Capital letters, very basic lines and forms, big smiles and mice, all the features in his works scream simplicity and forwardness.
As I saw his pieces I thought about a sort of JeremyVille, darker somehow but undoubtly hilariously twisted.
Check more art on Ian Stevenson page.
Short film “ALMOST HOME” by DreamWorks Animation introduces the audience to a whole new universe of cinematic fun…
They are an alien race, the Boovs: alongside with their charismatic leader, Smek (Steve Martin), the clumsy group creatures from the space are reaching Earth after a long, unsuccessful quest all over the galaxy to find the perfect planet to take over.
This is the plot of HOME, the new animation feature by DreamWorks Animation coming out later next winter. The short film serves as a introduction of the charachters since they are all new to the audience and to explain how they eventually ended up on our planet. The story will develop around an unlikely friendship between a little girl and one of the aliens.
Animation features brilliant and bright colors, wonderful views of the galaxy and spectacular special effects. Other voice talents includes Rihanna. Jennifer Lopez and the director is the same of “Over the hedge” (I can find a lot of similarities with that movie in the plot so far).
Nicolas Bruno - Incognito
Young artist Bruno is a photographer from Northport, (NY), born in 1993.
His art so far struck me for the subjects: events of dangerous nature that involve people running from fire or silently facing death or refuging. Those human characters either have no face or they are blindfolded, other times we can just distinguish their presence in the smoke. They are alone or if they are with someone the other person is the one where the danger is originated. However even if in peril, the people depicted still are calm, maybe not knowing what is happening, they pose elegantly as they face their fate (are they challenging fate?).
Like other photographers, Bruno directs plays with no ending, suspended just before the final act.
I like the settings and the locations, always ordered, clean, gently illuminated and apparently so quite, in perfect contrast with what is happening, that is as said before, a situation of extreme and imminent danger.
Susanne Heintz - Meet the Heintzs
Susanne was tired of answering to friends and relatives asking her -are you married | why aren’t you married?- during social gatherings and family meetings.
Why does a modern woman still have to give reasons why she choose spinsterhood? A woman that is not sporting the wedding ring or that did not push a toddler in his stroller for some time in her life is often considered less woman. And you all know common sayings.
Starting from these arguments, Susanne, started working on a project, difficult but at the same time meaningful: she decided to get married to a mannequin and raise its child. The unlikely family traveled the world with a Kodak camera documenting with photographs everything they were doing like any other normal family does. Life in plastic is fantastic,
14 years in the making, thousands of miles covered and a lot of perfect family pictures. What are the differences between Susanne’s family album and your family album? Those perfect family albums with all the poses sometimes feels like people in it are made in plastic. Albums are often used as proof of normality,- yes i have a caring husband and a son, look… here! we are skiing on the Dolomites… and here ahah it was Christmas two years ago…blahblah.
Susanne’s works also speak loud about free will and self consciousness. Having a real family is difficult but is not easy to have to phisically carry your mannequin family around the world and then build them on the place and enjoy your day out. It is all about choice, Susanne choosed not to follow the same path that many of her friends and people she knows did.
Nonetheless her family album is ugly or less beautiful that the normal.
Well Barbie, we’re just getting started.
Fliike : Let Facebook in your activity, phisically
- Are you a fan of quirky, nerdy new goodies that are also cool and fresh?
- Do you own an activity or a businnes?
- Do you need a new way to show off your number of followers on FB?
The Fliike is the first phisical real time Facebook fan counter. It cost around $400 and is currently sold out.
Smiirl, a french company designed this product, with the smaller businesses in mind, like shops and restaurants, not the huge brands, in fact the counter stops at 99.999.
The flip-counter device easy as it gets must be connected via wi-fi to a FB page account that’s it. The producers are collecting feedback and working on costumized versions of the device, something that can maybe count also Twitter stats, G+ etc.
I personally like the simple kind of country-ish old toy-ish design of this counter, it reminds me of the old calendars at my grandma’s.
Check out more on the Smiirl’s website.
GoToWebTalent 2014 - Innovation First
GoToWebTalent dove le idee crescono e diventano business
GoToWeb Talent è un contest abbastanza giovane, giunto alla sua seconda edizione cerca di creare punto di giuntura e sinergia tra innovatori (persone fisiche anche minorenni) e investitori (privati ed aziende), un modo dunque per dare visibilità a giovani idee e concrete possibilità di realizzarle.
Chiunque può partecipare registrandosi online QUI (per i gruppi è il Team Leader a fare da referente), più informazioni sono recuperabili sul regolamento. Entro il 31 marzo 2014 i partecipanti potranno inserire il loro progetto sulla piattaforma GTWT.
GTWT mette a disposizione dei partecipanti spazio hosting e altri strumenti, oltre al “tema” delle idee reso pubblico dal cliente all’inizio di gennaio.
L’obiettivo finale del contest è facilitare il nascere di interessanti business innovativi e creativi in ambito web, digital e mobile, creare nuovi posti di lavoro e offrire opportunità di investimento. GTWT infatti mette a disposizione dei tool tra i quali anche una piattaforma d’asta per chi sia interessato ad accelerare le aspiranti idee startup. La valutazione del business plan è lo strumento principale per la selezione dei progetti.
Il contest è diviso in varie categorie
- Look & Feel,
- iOS Killer App,
- Android Killer App,
- E-Commerce Revolution,
- WordPress Innovation
- GoToWeb Special Prize.
Io mi ritrovo parte della giuria Special Prize. Per le altre categorie una giuria di esperti tra i quali Riccardo Pozzoli, Romeo Guaricci e Donatella Cambosu valuteranno uno ad un i business plan e decreteranno un vincitore.
APP here comes the future in the moviegoing experience
First it was Odorama and then 3D, now it is time for the second screen tech that promises major engagement and enahnced cinema experience.
So far only Disney worked with synchronized second-screen technologies where the second screen is the one people hold in their hands in form of Ipad. Before the screening of re-releases of classics such as The Little Marmaid people were asked to download a special app that would have shown them special contents during the movie. Apart from that almost nothing has been done, until now, in Europe, Netherlands.
Bobby Boermans axperiments and directs APP a movie that is produced and thought as a new way to engage with public, in particular the teens and young adults who are notorious to not be able to move away from their mobile devices also during screenings.
Why not tranforming a bad habit into something creative and fun? And so after downloading the App (called Iris, available both for Iphone and Android) people can be absorbed into the movie at a level never reached before.
in the movie APP the plot goes around a girl, Anna, a student of psychology who after a trauma became completely addicted to her smartphone. The morning after a crazy bash Anna discovers a new app installed on her phone, it goes under the name of IRIS. The mysterious app is soon revealing some dark sides as it is able to answer personal questions related to Anna troubled past. Soon Iris turns out to be something far more dangerous that just a small program.
This movie is the latest feature addressing the topic of technology and the way artificial intelligence is entering our lives and influencing our mind and feelings; on a different level the critics favorite Her succeeded in showing the love between a human and an operating system.
The movie APP utilizes an audio watermark technology that dialogues with the devices running the app during the screenings. Information (watermarks) not audible by human ears are captured by the mobiles connected who as response to that input allow their owners to access additional contents through the app. And so clues can be revealed, images, hidden details are shown, etc.
The app will feature more than 30 interactions accessible during the screenings.
The movie is promised to be equally enjoyable for people that will choose not to install the app, plus there won’t be particular annoyance since the app will only features visual contents and not audio.
I am personally very curious about this movie project APP, thoughts?