About Empirisoft - The Real Story

All I wanted to do was draw on my desk. I was so into drawing on my desk that Mr. Wilton, our physics teacher, actually resorted to taping paper over my desk before class. Having grown up on too much Brady Bunch, I thought I wanted to be an architect but four years at Banting Secondary had changed my mind. Although I was great at drafting, I was bored, had a D average and just failed chemistry. I had to do something or I wasn't going to college. My career as a ventriloquist was long over and I had little chance for a comeback. So I changed high schools. I went Oakridge Secondary for Grade 13. Although I can't remember any of it, I must have studied because I raised my average to a B- and squeaked my way in to the University of Western Ontario. I was quite impressed with myself! I was going to a real university in my own home town (London, Ontario) and I decided that I would learn to be a business man.

That didn't last long. I got bored and dropped out after my first year. I went back to what I knew best. Delivering pizza. It had carried me through high school and I knew it wouldn't fail me now. After a year of that, I somehow charmed my way back into UWO's good graces and also landed a great summer job running a College Pro Painters franchise. Then one fateful June evening I decided to go get a pizza and visit a girl I had recently gone miniature golfing with. On the way, a nice dad taking his kids to a ball game turned right in front of me and stopped. Some kind of panic response, they said later. My motorcycle crashed right into the side of his car. My knee hyper flexed, the ligaments snapped and I put a crater sized dent in the hood of his car with my full faced helmet. My head bounced off the hood and I fell the road, thankfully, unconscious.

I woke up and lost my painting company. I went to Art Therapy and painted all sorts of crazy stuff. I decided I would be a philosopher/artist. My art therapist suggested that psychology might pay better. So I looked in the UWO course catalogue--there it was "Persuasion and Attitude Change". Cool! But one catch--Social Psychology was a pre-requisite. Argh. But Mike Atkinson was my teacher and he blew my mind. After two or three classes, I wondered aloud at my friends over Orange Julius' at Wonderland Mall--"Wouldn't it be cool to have a Ph.D.?"

I don't remember what they said but it became my motivation. I wanted a Ph.D. because I thought it would be cool. After stumbling a bit, I was introduced to my new friend, the A+. I liked him very much and decided we should hang out exclusively. This was great, I would be a psychologist artist business man saving the world from the evil persuaders. So I got my masters ("Expecting to Be Persuaded") at UWO and then Jim Olson, my advisor, tells me to go away and stop committing academic incest (i.e., getting all my degrees at one place).

But I didn't want to go anywhere else. He said Ohio State was the place for me because that's where Petty and Cacioppo were. I said "yeah right" like as if they'd take me. I don't know what kind of mafia connections Jim Olson has but Rich Petty accepted my late application and welcomed me into his lab. So I do a second masters and get it published in JPSP (the Need to Evaluate). And then my ultimate goal was achieved--I graduated with my Ph.D. (and yes, it was cool) in 1998 and even won the SESP Dissertation Award to boot ("Do Attitudes Really Change?"). So with great glee and a quick postdoc at Penn (with THE Marty Fishbein!) under my belt, I applied for 10 jobs wondering which one I should choose.

I didn't get a single interview. Argh. I was miserable. My post-doc was almost over and I had no job. I looked to this crazy MediaLab software I'd developed at Ohio State to do experiments. As a grad student, I had been so frustrated with the lack of software to do multi-media experiments, that I made my own--this way I could run the kind of dissertation studies that I wanted. We used it in the lab for all sorts of stuff and we loved it.

Through my postdoc I had continued to work on it. I had always been curious to see if I could polish it up and sell it--even just to one lab. So from my despair in failing to land a single interview, my new goal was born--"Wouldn't it be cool to have my own software company!" Duane Wegener bought the first copy of MediaLab for his lab at Purdue in October of 1998. This was awesome. Since then, thousands of users at hundreds of universities around the world have picked it up and encouraged me to keep going with it. So I am, and here we are, and here you are. And Julie and I got married, and bought ourselves a fabulous penthouse loft in Hell's Kitchen in New York City, and now have our first baby on the way.

Now the wonderful John Chapman heads our sales and hardware development teams and I head support and software development. We pretend that we have hundreds of hard working employees and that we're a huge corporation but it's really just the two of us. John actually lives in Salt Lake City with his wife Shiloam and his two beautiful little sons, Casey and Skyler, but don't tell anybody because we like to pretend that he works here with us at the corporate office in New York. So that's about us (aka, the "company") in a nut shell. Thanks for stopping by our "pop and pop" software and hardware for psychological research shop, and have a great day.


Blair Jarvis, Ph.D.

PS. There is a secret unmarked link on the main page of the old.empirisoft.com site.



April 21st, 2016
MediaLab v2016 is now available! Compatible with all versions of Windows. MediaLab v2016

April 21st, 2016
DirectRT v2016 is now available! Compatible with all versions of Windows. DirectRT v2016

February 21st, 2014
Official release of our brand new Rotary Controller. Gather continuous dial and dichotomous button input in one simple unit! Read more

March 16th, 2012
MediaLab v2012.4 is now available! Compatible with XP, Vista and Windows 7. MediaLab v2012

March 16th, 2012
DirectRT v2012.4 is now available! Compatible with XP, Vista and Windows 7. DirectRT v2012

January 1st, 2012
Release of the updated DirectIN v2012 button boxes. Same super-fast circuitry but now with remote firmware updates over the internet and full Windows 7 compatibility.Read more

March 16th, 2012
View and search the 2012 interactive user guides online: MediaLab and DirectRT

January 1th, 2012
The latest public software reviews from SPSP and elsewhere.

News Archive

MediaLab Research Software and DirectRT are trademarks of Empirisoft. All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies. Purchase inquiries should be directed toward our ever-friendly sales team. Frequently asked questions, how-to questions, suggestions, and troubleshooting inquires can be addressed through our searchable support forums located at http://support.empirisoft.com.

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Last modified: April 21st, 2016.