We had the good fortune of connecting with Gordon Whitehouse and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gordon, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
The idea for Prōjectagram came to my partners and me in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. We were all fathers with full-time jobs when all of a sudden, we were forced to merge work needs and family needs everyday, all day. We each defaulted to TV, iPhones, iPads to entertain our children while we needed to take conference calls and presentations and the results were always the same…the children finished their shows groggy, cranky, and more disruptive than before.
While my partners and I work in technology related fields, we acknowledge the costs that the digital world imposes on us. We all grew up pre-internet and spent much of our childhood playing with low-tech toys. It taught us to build, explore, and dream. Prōjectagram is a platform which allows customers to create custom photo slides for use in our Photo Flashlight product. Prōjectagram became our offering to the world as a means for children to connect with their friends and family though a physical medium. Parents and grandparents are able to share memories via pictures with their (grand)children and the children are able to learn the mechanics of trial and error as they focus the images they project on a wall.
We also discovered that being in a dark room with children creates a calm space for both parent and child to be present with each other. We believe this environment is well suited to discuss topics that are important to child such as bullying, equality, diversity, and inclusion. In an upcoming release, we’ll be rolling out a marketplace for authors and illustrators to publish their content for our Photo Flashlight and we look forward to Prōjectagram playing a role in these discussions.
What should our readers know about your business?
Prōjectagram is a platform which allows customers to create custom photo flashlight projectors. We’re a unique toy in that we combine digital and analog technology to create a medium of expression and story telling between children and their (grand)parents. We’re excited by the stories we receive from customers. One customer purchased our product to create a reel featuring photos her daughter with her dad. Her dad was recently deployed on a military tour and the mother used our product as a way to discuss the feelings associated with this change.
There were a number of hurdles we needed to overcome when building Prōjectagram. Because our product is small, we needed a way to record very high resolution images on a very small surface. We needed to develop creative solutions to handle passing these large files over mobile networks as well as produce the physical photo reel. We were patient as we tested different configurations to fine tune the product and in the process we created new IP and submitted for a patent.
I’d like the world to know that there’s a lot of heart in Prōjectagram. We started this company as a way to engage our own children. both using the product as well as to teach them hands on about building a business. We’re excited by the feedback from our customers and hope that Prōjectagram can play a role in more active conversations across generations.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in San Francisco, CA and feel fortunate that we have many exciting places within an hour of the city. To give my friend the best taste of what we have to offer in the Bay Area. I’d suggest they visit in late March.
We’d spend the first weekend exploring nearby locations–seeing both the iconic vistas of San Francisco and the lesser known. We would visit the Alcatraz night tour and see the sun set behind the Golden Gate bridge from the Ferry. Afterwards, we’d have an Italian meal nearby in North Beach at Trattoria Contadina.
The next day we’d head up to Healdsburg in Sonoma country and explore some of my favorite wineries like Dry Creek or Thomas George. There are plenty of options for food in the area, but my go-to is to pickup sandwiches from the General Store on W Dry Creek Road.
During the week, we would head to Tahoe to go skiing. After hitting the slopes, we would head to Le Chamois at the base of Squaw for some drinks and food. While we’re in Tahoe we’d explore a few more ski resorts like NorthStar and Alpine and dine in Truckee.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I credit much of my success to my parents who created a safe environment for me to experiment, take risks, and evolve. My mother–an educator–taught me the importance of patience, listening, and pragmatism. My Father–an engineer–taught me that anything could be fixed or built. These teachings gifted me the ability to follow my curiosity, to be patient when expecting an outcome, and learn from others by being an active listener.
I wouldn’t be here without my partners Guy Shahine and Ryan Croft who believed in the product. As a team we complement and push each other to realize our own potential.