Birthdays and New Year’s offer a great opportunity to take a look back and reflect on where you have been, where you are now, and to contemplate where you want to be in the future. Since it’s Projector People’s tenth birthday, we are taking a moment to look back and share our story with you, while we contemplate the future ahead.
By the way, we are also running a Birthday Sale. To skip the story and get to the deals, click here.
The Story of Projector People
They said it couldn’t be done. They said it was too soon. They said nobody would make an online purchase for a product that cost over $1000 – and particularly not a video projector. But on January 5th, 1999, ProjectorPeople.com went live on the world wide web and we received our first order within 24 hours. As Lloyd Dobler said in the film Say Anything … “You just described every great success story.”
Projector People’s Parents
ProjectorPeople.com grew as an offshoot of AV Marketplace, started in 1998 by visionary Stephenie Scanlon. Stephenie was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for what was then Audio Visual Innovations and is now AVI-SPL – the nation’s largest AV integrator. AVI was the parent company to AV Marketplace. It was Stephenie’s business instincts and acumen that laid the groundwork for our operation. She is now the President of AVI-SPL.
The “Projector People” brand name was conceived by the website’s first developer, designer, and content manager, Kelly Lamison. Kelly was hired by Marty Schaffel, AVI’s founder. Kelly was working at an art museum when Marty saw her creative and innovative potential. Marty is an avid supporter of the arts here in Tampa, FL, and embodies the gutsy spirit we have tried to bring to ProjectorPeople.com.
Kelly designed, coded, and wrote all the content for ProjectorPeople.com version 1.0. She had drive, smarts, ambition, and an unfailing belief in the power of the internet and its ability to inform and build communities.
The Projector People Experiment
ProjectorPeople.com was an experiment when it began. It was the e-commerce sister site to AVMarketplace.com, which was itself a successful online catalog – meaning it didn’t have prices or online ordering. Ultimately, web-savvy customers preferred to get prices without making a telephone call, which led many of them to the user-friendly ProjectorPeople.com.
And as more and more people became comfortable buying on the web, they also began to expect websites to offer the ability to order online. As a result, AVMarketplace.com shut it’s online doors and officially became ProjectorPeople.com in early 2003.
Projector People Grows Up
Kelly also once managed the server which sat underneath her desk for the first year of operation. But as Projector People grew, the server was taken off the floor to protect from potential water damage (those Florida hurricanes). The server was placed in a cubical on our sales floor. One afternoon, the server became so overworked it started to smoke, nearly catching fire. These days we have our servers off site in a secret magic location which never gets bad weather or power outages.
As we grew, the support team from sales, customer service, product management, and internet marketing grew as Projector People proved its value and strength in the industry.
Our staff of experts is among the most experienced in the industry. In fact, our most junior account manager has over six years of experience under her belt, and several other team members have over a decade of dedication to the Projector People experiment. When you work with them, you’ll find they’re friendly as well as knowledgeable. Manufacturers often make our company a first stop of new product tours to get the feedback of our Projector People sales team. By translating customer interest to product specifications, they’ve helped shape the projector market for a decade.
Unless you are on the research and development team at a major manufacturer, they know more than you do about projectors. Although the team has changed over the years, the department remains one of the most helpful you will ever encounter. As charming as they are, we hope you will never have the need to contact them.
There was a time when the brand owned the keyword “projector” exclusively on every major search engine (Excite, Alta Vista, Yahoo!, AOL, DogPile – all the biggies at the turn of the century). We were also the first AV reseller to advertise projector keywords on Google. It was much cheaper then. We design, develop, and write all of the content and code on our websites in-house. Our most junior member started as an intern and has been with us over 8 years.
And the Rest
Beyond sales, customer service, and marketing, or support staff includes the wisest Product Management staff, and an ever-diligent Sales Order Fulfillment team. All of which share a dedication to the customers we serve, and the family we have created here.
So, say happy birthday to a Projector Expert today. But say it loud, because they just turned ten, and that’s about 70 years in internet years.
Play Projector People Q&A!
Q : What was the first product ever posted to the ProjectorPeople.com website?
A : The Epson Powerlite 5500C. Specs – SVGA, 650 ANSI lumens, featherweight ultraportable 9.4 lbs. – price just $5999.
Q : Is the man in the Projector People video single or married?
A : Of course he’s married, he’s a dreamboat!
Q : How many reincarnations of the Projector People website have there been?
A : We are on version 4.3.
Q : Which of the following was NOT (to the best of our knowledge) a Projector People customer?
- Karen O of the YeahYeahYeahs
- Pixar Studios
- Scott Baio
- Guggenheim Museum
- Department of Homeland Security
A : Scott Baio. This is probably why he’s “45 and Single.”
Q : What was the brand of the first projector sold on Projector People.com?
A : Epson
Q : When did Projector People receive its first online order?
A : Within 24 hours of the day we launched. January 5th, 1999.
Q : True or False : A customer once called his mother after he purchased a projector from a ‘girl’ online.
A : True. He purchased from Sheila and he was so excited he told her he was going to call his mother. This author is certain his mother was very proud.
Q : What was our idea of a “Virtual Reality Tour” when PP first launched in 1999?
A : We had an image of a projector that users could rotate in a circle to see the front and back.
Q : What is our current idea of a “Virtual Video Showroom”?
A : HomeTheaterPeople.com includes video of many of our top video projectors in action. Users can compare up to two projectors and see the actual image created by each projector.
Q : On which of the following websites does Projector People have a presence?
- All of the above
A : All of the above.
Projector People 2019
ProjectorPeople.com plans to continue serving customers by providing AV solutions for business, church, school, home theater and new markets this year and beyond. In this industry technology is constantly changing. Our job is to continue to provide the best product solutions, the best service, and competitive pricing for our customers. You’ve heard the saying “Fast, cheap, and good. Pick two.” We’d like to defy the odds and provide all three.
Is there another product you would like to see available on ProjectorPeople.com? Do you have a suggestion for improving our website, service, or selection? We always welcome feedback and we try to respond to your emails whenever possible.