Unlike the big players in the markets we enter, we are members of our target audience. Take the gaming hardware industry and Holoseat, for example. Companies developing gaming hardware are generally part of large companies like Sony and Microsoft. When they have tried to develop physical interfaces for their platforms, they have missed the mark by creating hardware that needed new sub-genres of games.
At Model B, however, we are gamers, so we focused on building a solution that works with the games we love and play. The result is the Holoseat – a gaming peripheral that works with the games people already play, ensuring gamers will actually use Holoseat over the long-term.
Which brings us to our value proposition: We create products that solve problems in a way that people will actually use them, because we create products for user communities we are a part of.
We know our customers’ pains because they are our pains. When we release a product, customers can trust that it is ready because we are already personally relying on it in our day-to-day lives.
J. Simmons, co-founder and co-developer
J. has worked in open-source hardware for the past six years. During that time, J. has led the development of Open Design Engine (a project hosting portal for open-source hardware), the Shepard Test Stand (a rocket test stand for Estes motors), the Ground Sphere ground station (a low-cost satellite receiving station), and, of course, Holoseat.
Over the course of these projects, J. has developed skills in Arduino programming, small-scale electronics, agile development processes, and Node.js (especially as applied to robotics). These skills are in addition to his academic background of theatre lighting design (BFA), computer science (double major), and space systems engineering (MS, PhD). Yes, J. really is a rocket scientist.
As part of the two-man band that is Model B, there are few specific roles either J. or Bryan fill. However, they do have areas they tend to focus on more. For J., these areas include Arduino and Node.js development, pitch preparation, and system architecture (informal as that may be at present).
Bryan Christian, co-founder and co-developer
Bryan is a lifelong gamer and the first “early adopter” for Holoseat. It was Bryan’s drive to add Holoseat to his gaming (and his constant encouragement) that led J. to sit down and formally document the Rev 2 Holoseat.
From this documentation, Bryan got his first taste of open-source hardware, as he first built his own copy of Holoseat, then started offering improvements. Bryan’s early contributions included mating the Holoseat controller with an under-desk elliptical unit and writing the Windows configuration application (an element Bryan still maintains today).
It was not long before J. invited Bryan to join the Holoseat project as a co-developer. As a co-developer, Bryan continued to focus on sharing Holoseat with the wider gaming community, taking the lead on managing Holoseat’s appearances at an annual private gaming convention.
Bryan’s professional and academic background is in management information systems (MIS). He applies his combination of technical and business skills at Model B by focusing on the financial management of the company, developing the Windows configuration application, helping develop the Holoseat hardware, and continuing to manage Holoseat’s public appearances.