Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Project: Preview | Interview with Nick Popov

What's up, everybody? I'm back with SL's second interview, this one with Nick Popov.

Nick is the founder and head of VIVID Storage, a Sydney, AU-based company that makes portable SSDs (Solid State Drives) in colorful, aluminum cases. Plus, they're based on USB 3.0 technology, making them incredibly fast and resilient.

Which is nice.

I was able to reach out to Nick just before the Christmas season and get some questions answered. (Which was very generous, because he has been quite busy lately.)

Enjoy the interview!


Carter Schaap: How long have you been working on the VIVID SSD, and at what point did you decide to create your own SSD?
Nick Popov: Basically the VIVID SSD idea was born early 2104 and I worked on the project since then. The idea was taking form in my head for a couple of months, until I decided to start researching on the portable drive components and materials and to making the initial inquiries to the factories in April 2014.  It wasn’t called VIVID back then; it was just a hypothetical SSD portable drive in a very small form factor and simplified aluminum case, featuring multiple colour combinations.

CS: Is this your full-time job now, or do you work in another field of expertise, and this is more of a side project?
NP:No, VIVID SSD is not my full time job, but lately its becoming one as it is taking more and more of my daily work routine. I run a small B2B marketing agency for Consumer IT clients in Australia and New Zealand as my main occupation and this experience helped me a lot to make VIVIVD SSD project happen. Lots of great and successful ideas and products start as a side project, but I hope VIVID SSD will grow into something bigger and more independent.

CS: When designing the SSD, were there any difficulties while creating a drive than took full use of the USB 3.0 capabilities? Same with the external casing?
NP: There were difficulties at each step of making VIVID SSD, as developing a product from scratch was a new experience for everyone involved. We aimed to create the ultimate portable drive which meant using best components when designing the PCB and sourcing the top quality flash memory. The main challenge with PCB design was fitting all of the components we needed on a relatively small board to maintain the overall small form factor of the final product. Some major vital components, like ASMedia flash controllers that we use in VIVID SSD, had to be imported from TAIWAN, which became a massive challenge in terms of keeping the project in the projected timeline. Case wise, the main challenge was to get the colors we wanted right, during the color oxidation process, which meant back and forth production samples delivery from manufacturers to Australia, until we were satisfied with colors. Getting the right grade aluminum on the small test orders wasn’t easy either as larger manufactures were not interested in our initial order volumes

CS: How many prototypes or iterations of the drive did VIVID go through to reach the current design?

NP: For the PCB part, I would say we went through at least 12-15 prototypes to make sure the sped transfer is up to our high requirements. Then, at least 10 Case design and major alterations, from improving the looks and heat spread, to adjusting the case internal design to fit the latest PCB design. CS: Finally, does VIVID have any other product ideas or models of the SSD in mind for the (distant) future?
NP: Yes, we are working on a few new VIVID products at the moment, which include VIVID PRO storage solution (double/triple MSata slots in RAID 0) and even smaller consumer drive with USB-C connectivity.

They will be available soon through the website. 

NP: Thank you for the questions and the opportunity to be heard.


Thanks to the entire VIVID team for helping SL accomplish the interview! Especially Stas Svamin, the Digital Marketing and Planning leader, who coordinated between Nick and I to get the questions answered.

If you're interested in the VIVID SSD and would like to help them reach their goal, (as of this publishing, they're at 96% funded! Almost there!) you can head over to and pledge $181, which'll get you a Drive of your own.

Stay tuned for more project previews... Carter out!


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