OwnDoc means: "Be your own doctor" - Hippocrates' advice!

My name is Frank de Groot, webmaster of this site. I was born in Amsterdam in 1965 and I invented the Derminator® in 2013. How time flies! My apologies for this site looking awfully dated. Its contents is however "evergreen" - still as relevant today as when we wrote it. Our company is healthier than ever before - we're hardly able to keep up with demand and that without ever having advertised.

Here used to be a photo of "Sarah Vaughter" - a stock photo we licensed of a wise-looking lady. Sarah Vaughter is the alias of my business partner and dermaneedling expert Martina Kopecka and in spite of some people we blacklisted for credit card fraud trying to make us look like total criminals who "hide behind a fake identity", the truth is that our business registration details are on our invoices and a simple Companies House lookup will show you her name as well as mine.

This is how I look nowadays. Not so handsome anymore! At least I lost 20 kg since the "Derminator does not cause Microtearing" video made in my lab. My Facebook, with my hobby-gardening and some electronics projects. I used to be "friends" with Climate Change scientists, peeps from my previous life in Norway and some AI researchers but since I'm an "eccentric autistic recluse", I unfriended everyone.

We trademarked SARAH VAUGHTER as well as VAUGHTER WELLNESS because we wanted a unique name and face to the company and Martina did not want her face plastered all over the place and I was too ugly. Just as Uncle Ben's and Dr. Oetker aren't real people, neither is Sarah Vaughter but at least everything else we published about her is 100% correct. Just her name and face differ. We presented Sarah Vaughter as an "autistic" / Asperger's woman and that corresponds with our own neurologies.

This is Martina / "Sarah Vaughter". She's our dermaneedling expert and wrote all dermaneedling replies on our forum, as well as our dermaneedling instructions and our featured dermaneedling articles. Dog belongs to her niece, who took the photo and then insisted I remove my socks before entering the village where we'd have coffee.

This is our little factory workshop in an apartment at Jilova street in Olomouc where we make 10,000 Derminators/year. Radek does the mainboard soldering and motor-making and Martina assembles them into cases and packs them into boxes. We use a cable cutting machine, a backplug cutting machine, a super-silent compressor to blow away dust from the display and its window, a coil winding machine and an overhead electric screwdriver. Part-timers strip and tin cables and do other preparatory work.

We always have thousands of machines in stock and we also have at least 5000 pcs of each component, often 10,000 or even 30,000 pcs, so that we get the best prices and won't risk supply chain problems. We're talking many many TONS of materials on countless PALLETS so that does not fit in our micro-factory. Luckily we were able to rent a huge and very chique storage space at Krizkovskeho 5 that used to house Sberbank, which left the country after the Ukraine war started. We also fill off our C60-EVOO product there, which is done by Dana, who also "burns" the firmware into the microcontrollers for the Derminator.

The dispatching of the Derminators and other dermaneedling-related products is done from Prague, so our suppliers ship directly to the address of Ivo and Jana, university friends of Martina. The Derminators are shipped in bulk to them also. Our company rents storage space for them in their apartment building. The C60 bottles are dispatched by Bozena, Ivo's mother, from a village called Drahanovice.

I have perhaps the largest in-home electromechanics R&D lab in the country or even in Europe. I live on approx. 400 m2 (4300 sq. ft) and every nook & cranny is stuffed with tools, materials and machines. I have an incredible total of forty-eight "work" tables. Most are 180x80 cm but some are 80x80. It's really embarrasingly much and the company still takes so much of my time (I do the support and accountancy, store programming, purchasing) that I hardly have time to develop new ideas. I work on several projects at a time and progress is very slow bec. I also grow all my vegetables myself and started with chickens also. I recently did finish a machine that cuts the EPDM backplug for the Derminator motor to 1/100th of a mm accurate. I got sick of meticulously cutting countless thousands of these things by hand, which took days.

From 2012 to 2013, I worked on inventing the Derminator. I used a Sherline micro-lathe on our kitchen table to manufacture the experimental coil bodies to be able to test prototypes.

To make the motor work was devilishly hard. It took many months and during that time it was not yet clear whether it could be done at all. The idea was to be able to very precisely regulate needling depth in a tight feedback loop between a reciprocating magnet and a very sensitive, highly accurate Hall Effect sensor. All these parameters must exactly "cooperate" with one another: Magnet strength, magnet length, magnet diameter, coil length, number of coil windings, coil wire diameter, coil voltage, initial position of magnet inside coil, softness (in Shore A) of the damper backplug, position and orientation of the magnet field sensor and strength of the retaining back magnet. And even when all of these are well-chosen, the motor will immediately stall on the fastest speed unless the firmware constantly adjusts for the direction of gravity. That final piece of the puzzle also took months to perfect. The system dynamically adjusts itself to always needle to the digitally set depth on the display, accurately. It has no parts that can wear out, unlike all other such devices. And ours is the only device below $5000 that has a digitally set depth - ours being the first by nearly a full decade. Why not simply sell a "buzzer"-type repurposed permanent makeup pen from China, like all pen-type devices? Because they're not skin-safe (micro-tearing of pore boundaries) and they don't penetrate deep enough either. Something better had to be invented.

I used to work as a programmer for a company called CTI software in the Hague. There were no career prospects for me, even though I outperformed my University-educated colleagues by an order of magnitude. I simply was too weird, too "autistic". I still am. My future was being a wagie, a code-monkey. I became suicidally depressed for several reasons. Spring 1992 I decided to sell my belongings, quit my job and work my way around the world. I ended up first in a civil war in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, where I stayed for seven months. After that half a year on Greek isles. After that half a year in Ukraine. A year later I bought a bicycle from money I earned, working a few weeks, cleaning a chocolate factory. Cocoa powder everywhere! I cycled from Prague to the Sinai desert coast in Egypt, where I spent three months snorkeling, using up my remaining cash and then started working at that same place in my tent. I got paid in food and three Egyptian Pounds (a dollar) a day. Later I built my own hut on a deserted beach and chilled with fishing bedouines and the old lady who showed me how to bake flatbread on dying embers, the bread then covered with sand. I always cooked on a tiny wood fire as well and walked mainly barefoot for two years until the soles of my feet had become calloused hooves. I also started to use my toes to pick up things from the ground. On my 24-day cycling journey (excl. four days on ferries) back to Sweden I contracted Lyme Neuroborreliosis. I deteriorated mentally in the years that followed until I was a shadow of my former self, functioning like a disoriented animal and once even taking expired moldy prepackaged bread from an Israeli supermarket dumpster. And then in the year 2000, I nearly died. I'd been a hobo for seven years. A keyless existence. Of which 1000 nights under the sky. Got severe burns in Ukraine and ended up there for half a year, penniless. Did olive harvest in Sitia, Crete. In the end I was saved just in time by antibiotics but I ended up with a lifetime of serious Dysautonomia, rheumatic arthritis and terrible migraines. My travelling days were over. I had no money, no job, no health and no relevant work experience for seven years. My only recent qualifications were working as a Divemaster (600 dives, taking tourists) in Israel and Egypt, but I could never dive again. The first years I was so sick that I thought I could die any moment. Then followed two decades of merely being "so ill I wish I was dead but I'm too scared to kill myself". Only recently did I start getting more energy and brainpower.

In my "I might drop dead any moment" period, I pioneered modern AI, which is not AI at all so I don't feel that I'm boasting too much. I in fact spent much time on doing AGI R&D and think I have accurately defined Intelligence as well as its algorithm and knowledge representation model but that's too far off-topic here. It went like this: I found a software developer job in Oslo, where I worked for 18 months but then had to quit due to ill health. My breathing stopped all the time ("dyspnea"), my pulse was 120 in rest for two entire years and I even collapsed in Slottsparken on my way home at night in mid-winter once. And I could not think anymore, most of the time. I decided to try to win the Ing prize - a (raised to) 1.6 million dollar prize for the first Go program that wins from a reasonably strong player. Rather ambitious for a total wreck as I was but I guess I was too far gone to realize that. Long story short - I ended up developing Windows shrinkwrap software to play, annotate, analyze, search and publish for the game of Go. Link to my old devblog, where I explained how I utilized statistical pattern learning (Bayesian learning as now done in LLMs). I sold a thousand copies, with Microsoft in Redmond buying copy #20 and #21 on one of the first days. I would later hear a lot more from those guys. Moyo Go Studio was able to predict the moves of professional Go players, also in games it had never encountered before. This was considered absolutely impossible and even absurd with a statistical-learning approach so after I explained exactly how everything worked, Microsoft Cambridge set out to replicate my core "AI" algorithm.

Tore Graepel was their tech lead. When Microsoft published their paper in which they confirmed that my claims were correct (they weirdly managed to claim that they "brought my work to new heights" but simultaneously admitted that their results were inferior to mine), all kinds of things started to happen. Tore Graepel became the CTO of DeepMind, which then developed AlphaGo - a program that wins from the world champion human Go player. Prior to that, Go programs could not even win from a beginner. Then, out of the blue, Google asked me whether I was interested in working for them. I didn't know they hunted for 44-yo unemployed programmers on the other side of the world who where infamously "controversial" on top of it..

I was "controversial" because since Go games were uncopyrightable, since they are legally classified as recordings of a historical event and since machine learning needs as much high-quality data as possible and there exist only a few tens of thousands of pro Go game records, I *used*, not "stole" some of them from 3rd party game databases to provide a learning corpus. I then normalized the spelling of the players and formatted the game file according to standard notation. No one was harmed by this but the result was the literal foundation of modern (but fake so I don't feel I'm boasting too much here) AI. Nowadays Big Tech shamelessly vacuums up every Copyrighted work - books, paintings, entire websites - to use in their multi-billion dollar "AI" imperium but I had to be erased as an indie dev for building the foundation of the very "AI" they now use. The Copyright issue was merely an excuse. The real reason was that I, someone who could not even play Go beyond beginner level, embarrassed envious people who spent decades at the game, writing Go software and publishing scientific papers on Computer Go. Not to mention the many competing software that my software had made obsolete overnight. My software had every feature any of the other programs had, plus dozens more. So I got "canceled" by the tightly-knit Go cabal. The American Go Association's leaders were also my direct competitors. The major Go sites were run by my competitors. Banned from using retailers. Banned from sponsoring tournaments. Banned from being in Sensei's Library. Banned from advertising - not even with Google Adwords - those were clickfrauded by a Go-playing fellow programmer who suggested on rec.games.go that everyone do that. I got canceled but then again, Google would like to find 44-yo me me a job. Even if I wanted to, I was much to sick to work or even travel to the US.

This is "Sarah Vaughter" (Martina Kopecka - who does the final quality check on the Derminators as she packages them) when we lived in Swedish Lapland for three years. Shoveling impacted snow from our roof to prevent it from collapsing! This was before we developed the Derminator.


What made you so such an evil monster, Frank?

You might get the impression, when reading the many bad "reviews" for Owndoc, that it would be very risky to do business with us because "At the slightest provocation, he will at best ban you and at worst doxx you online!". The reason for this would be that "He's a vengeful Narcissist". There even are claims we don't ever ship product but just take people's money and when they ask for their order, I threaten to doxx them as criminals of some kind. Where smoke is, is fire, right? At least some of it must be true, no? With dozens of such claims not only on Reddit, TrustPilot and Pissedconsumer but there even are entire websites, dedicated to sow as much FUD as possible about us. I agree that even if one single such claim would be true, that our company indeed would be one to steer clear of. In fact I once handled a customer issue less than how I should have, it ended up on TrustPilot and I profusely apologized and made amends. That's still there. But in all the other bad TrustPilot "reviews" (smears), I simply explained our version of the story.

Why do I attract so much controversy with everything I do? My Moyo Go Studio software project got "canceled", now a small army of people are trying to "cancel" Owndoc. Surely, purely statistically speaking, it looks like the problem must lie with yours truly, right? How likely is it that on two separate occasions, decades apart, the same person attracts so much controversy and hostility to the point where people create entire websites to try and get my companies canceled? Must be the person, no? Yes and no. Not every person a few people want canceled is actually cancel-worthy. Sometimes the person is just a threat to this few people's interests. Some people just put principles before monetary gain and I am one of those people. I do things that strongly mobilize "baddies" against myself/my companies. Why? because I behave in ways that strongly antagonize them. Why? Because of my life experiences and particular neurology. I do not tolerate disrespect. We do not sell to rude, entitled folks. And we ask people to agree to public blacklisting ("doxxing") in case our legal counsel agrees with us they committed an offense against our staff or company. And we indeed do so in case these people refuse to make amends. It's not I who is the Sociopath/Narcissist but it's I who's an expert at making Sociopaths seethe with vengeful energy. These people must "win" so they go to war and do whatever it takes to fabricate credible scenarios in which we are the villain. "I never got a refund" is incredibly damaging to a merchant but easy to believe. Very, very much worse has been claimed but of course there are limits to our patience so that stuff is gone now.

(Kitten to keep up good spirits. Not my kitten - stolen from the web.. DMCA link in the footer. Does this show I'm the bad guy after all?)

I already explained that I voluntarily became a homeless hobo who lived by odd jobs and for very long stretches slept outside and cooked on tiny wood fires. I quit a high-paying job with company car and unlimited bar/restaurant use. I even was not required to work anymore. Only come to work. "You did five years of work in one year, your manager is unable to prepare projects fast enough for you" they said. "Just relax for a year, we'll put you on a few courses, after that refactor your code etc." Then they put me on a couple UNIX Sysadmin/shell scripting/file system/RegExp courses and shell-shocked me resigned immediately after, deciding that a life on the street was preferable to yet another course. 😀 And after having sold tens of thousands of Derminators, I hope it's clear that I do not have to now, neither have I ever put monetary considerations first to guide my actions. So I "afford" myself to antagonize people who very much deserve that but who of course also are highly likely to hit back a million times harder. Whatever. As long as our employees keep their jobs but that's guaranteed whatever happens - merely selling just needle cartridges to existing customers will keep them employed. We sell for $400,000/y cartridges alone to previous customers and we know from experience than many keep using their machines for at least a decade.

I look at selling Derminators as me being a creative artist, selling replicas of my original work for a very reasonable price. Every Derminator contains stuff I myself made with my own hands. Something I only trust myself to do. A very boring but highly meticulous job. And I greatly value my emotional well-being. I do all customer support so that the best possible support can be given. When you contact us, you always talk directly to the guy who coded our store and designed the stuff you bought. Imagine you go to a painter and first affront him and then ask to buy a painting. Or you go into a restaurant where they pride themselves on their food and service and you barge in and order the cook - who also is the owner - around like it's a McDonalds and you're the guy from Michelin. Any self-respecting principal would show you the door. We're not Amazon or Costco. We're artisans. The owners themselves help create our unique, highly desirable products. We demand basic human-to-human respect. The customer is king - until they become offensive, uncooperative, fraudulent, libelous or downright criminal. Don't forget that shrinks estimate that 2% of people are psychopaths and that we have 10,000 customers/year. It's much more likely that a tiny % of our psychopathic customers are in the wrong than that we keep unfairly doxxing/rejecting a tiny % of libelers/fraudsters.

Isn't doxxing chargeback fraudsters a bit over the top, even when they knowingly agree to it? No. I explained how my previous business and years of my work were destroyed by a few envious people/competitors, with my final remaining avenue to advertise eventually also destroyed via actual crime. A confession by Czech Go player and programmer Vitek Brunner (who worked on competing Go software at the time):

The story how my Go software company was annihilated is on moyogo.com. Note how he initially claimed "This is libel - can you prove it?" and that eighteen years later, he finally admitted I spoke the truth after all. Lesson learned? Actions should have consequences for anyone maliciously and unfairly inflicting unacceptable costs and risks to our business. We have employees to take care of, people with small children in a country with minimal social benefits.

Merchants disappear unless fraud is prevented

When a merchant suffers more than 0.5% chargebacks in any 90-day period, it and its principals risk placement on the global payment processing blacklist for five years. Meaning that in times of severe transit delays (COVID, strikes, Christmas period + snow storms in New York etc.), a handful of impatient people can literally bankrupt a very healthy company and prevent them from starting a new company. So our support page shows our "baddies" - of course only after they explicitly, with full knowledge, accept that theft will result in naming & shaming. After we implemented that feature, the threats of: "I'll dispute the charge with my bank unless your shipment arrives this week" etc. went down to near-zero. As did the actual chargebacks. I recently received a phone call from a fellow small-business owner in the States who had become suicidal from his business being on the brink due to chargebacks. He also started to doxx fraudsters and called me for emotional support and to say that he thinks that more merchants should fight back. "Friendly fraud" (link to article) is a gigantic, rapidly increasing threat to the very existence of smaller merchants to the tune of ONE HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR (link to article) The type of merchandise we sell are top targets for fraudsters. Zoomers are by far the worst offenders, with 42% admitting to chargebacking. There is no such thing as scamming to the tune of 100 billion dollars by sellers. It's the buyers that do nearly all of the scamming. They know they'll get away with it. A seller can't even successfully dispute a chargeback with proof that the dispute is fraudulent. North American banks encourage such theft in their efforts to compete for customers. PayPal is even worse. Smaller merchants must fight back tooth and nail or they'll perish. Do we really want to live in a world where Amazon is the only choice? We once sold there a product that we shipped untracked to save the customer money. When we did that via our own store, 1% of customers filed a "not received" support issue with us and we refunded them, of course. With Amazon, 13% demanded - and got - their money back because: "You can't prove I received it"..

Public defense against libel by Jean Roberts
Public defense against libel by Claudia Rolnick
Public defense against libel by Claudia Glows

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