Innovators. They come in many forms. They dream big but they aren’t just dreamers. They form raw ideas into cool products with disruptive business models. They shatter entire industries and leave established leviathans running scared with their tails between their legs. The Innovators interview series connects you with the most driven people on the planet. What makes them tick? What advice do they have for tech founders? What tools do they use to get the job done? Read on to find out.
Gene Dolgoff has over 50 years of extensive experience as an innovator and entrepreneur in electronics, optics, holography, lenticular, stereoscopic, and other forms of 3-D imaging & displays. He began his career at the City College of New York, where he majored in Physics, Mathematics, and Electrical Engineering, and minored in physiological-psychology.
He has been changing the way the world watches TV since he invented the first LCD projector in 1984 and has received several worldwide patents on digital video projection technologies, including optical de-pixelization, optical brightness enhancement, and thin-profile video projection systems, which have been licensed to Panasonic, Samsung, Radio Shack, and other high-profile technology retail outlets. His holographic presentation of ‘matter hologram technology’ to Gene Roddenberry inspired the Star Trek Holodeck in 1973.
In the 1990s, Dolgoff continued his work by winning a contract from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to demonstrate the application of his digital projection technologies to HDTV. He has been selected to be on the American Electronics Association (AEA) High-Definition TV Task Force and National Association of Photographic Manufacturers (NAPM) Standards Subcommittee.
Gene has been featured on several radio and television broadcasts, most recently providing the technology behind Rachael Ray’s 3-D Halloween Special, which provided FullColor 3D glasses were to 2.4 million people through TV Guide’s October issue.
Gene’s latest venture 3-D Vision, Inc. was formed in 2000 and is based in New York. His current project, 3-D Vision, is being launched via crowdfunding platform Fundable.com. 3-D Vision functions as a content converter through any HDMI or VGA cable connection. Any film, video game, or television show, regardless of when it was created can be seen with an added dimension on any device with an HDMI or VGA port. Gene seeks to make 3-D technology more consumer-friendly by offering 3-D Vision at an affordable price and creating unlimited 3-D viewing content.
What do you enjoy most about your work and why?
It excites me to see a solution to a problem which no one else has seen that utilizes my unique combination of experiences and knowledge in diverse fields. It is most gratifying to see an idea that formed in my head turned into something in the real world that other people are enjoying and getting benefit from.
Where does your passion come from? What drives you, inspires you, excites you?
I find that if a person can utilize their unique knowledge, talents, and capabilities, they will experience true passion, and derive more happiness and satisfaction from life than they can from any other source. I’ve always done this in my life, and that is why I’ve always experienced happiness and satisfaction even during times of disappointment, great difficulty, and even tragedy. Among many other things, I’m excited by any technology that allows the recording, creation, and playback of life experiences, in as many modalities as possible to make it as real and believable as possible. That brings us closer to experiencing a life that thrills, entertains, and excites us, while providing us with a maximum potential for happiness and satisfaction.
Someone reading this wants to start a tech company. What’s your best advice for them?
Forget it! Just kidding. But it is a difficult and painful road, littered with strife, disappointments, greedy and hurtful people, and sacrifice. However, if you are lucky and are pursuing a product that there really is a market for, a big market, and you have a really good economical solution, it can really be worth it. You could make a lot of money, see your efforts and creations actualized in the real world, meet and make friends with many interesting and wonderful people, and have a great time enjoying the ride.
Before starting your company, you have to do the research to determine if your product will work, if it fills a need of enough people, if anyone else has something like it or something that will make it irrelevant, if there is or most likely will be a big market for it, and if it is likely to be able to be produced, marketed, and sold with a good profit margin. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to make the commitment to do whatever it takes to see it through. You have to write a patent application on it and file it. You have to make a prototype or find a way to convincingly demonstrate workability and produceability. You have to set up a company, write a business plan with justifiable projections, and begin the arduous road to finding one or more people that are willing to invest in your idea. The real secret to success is to never give up. Most of the time, success goes to the last one standing.
What are a few tech startups that you’re really excited about right now and why?
I’m certainly excited about mine. We have a great game changing technology that will allow the home consumer 3-D market to explode. I don’t know about the existence of many startups. However, I am excited about the potential of two early-stage medical companies. Osiris is producing the world’s first approved stem cell therapy, currently used successfully for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Neogenix has a brilliant approach to treating pancreatic, lung, and other cancers .
What tech tools (websites, apps, gadgets, etc.) do you rely on both for work and in your down time?
I’m a fairly simple guy, relying on Google, Windows, Word, Excel, AOL, and the Adobe Creative Suite. I use a Samsung android-based smartphone and a laptop. Oh and there’s that holodeck…