Memories Interview

Asi Ohana and Richard Green of Memories.com tell us how their product helps us remember loved ones.

Transcript

Marcus
Name of your company and your roles at the company.
Richard
Great. My name’s Richard Green. The company is Memories.com. It’s been under development for about 12 months.
Marcus
Okay.
Richard
We’re getting ready to launch and I’m one of the co-founders of the company.
Marcus
Great.
Asi
My name is Asi Ohana. I am a founder of Memories.com, and we’ve been working hard on Memories.com for the last year or so.
Marcus
The last year. How large is your team?
Richard
Right now, we are 5 to 7.
Marcus
Okay, and where are you based?
Richard
Washington, D.C. and Israel.
Marcus
All right, and what are you hoping to do here at Launch Conference this week?
Asi
We are here for the exposure and if we can raise some money that would be great because we really believe in Memories.com to be a brand on brand, a world-wide brand, so we want people to know about Memories.com.
Marcus
So give us the pitch, who would be using Memories.com?
Asi
Everybody that death touched him. So----
Marcus
That’s everybody.
Asi
That’s everybody. So, think about that you have 55 million people dying every year around the world; you have 3.5 million people dying every day, every month, every year, in the US alone, 17 thousand people every day.
Marcus
That’s pretty depressing, I have to be honest.
Asi
Yes, but we are about celebrating life, it’s not about depressing. If you go to Memories.com, it’s uplifting, it’s about healing, it’s not about grieving. It’s about celebrating life.
Richard
And it’s about sharing memories of a person’s life that other people don’t know about. So, it’s creating that whole mosaic tapestry of one’s life and integrating all parts of their life, their work life, their social life, their family life so that people can really share and know what that person was and what kind of footprint that person left on this earth through the sharing of stories and media and video.
Marcus
Is that different than—it seems like Facebook is trying to do a very similar thing?
Asi
Facebook has an issue with, when they change the profile to a page, to a memorial page, because in order to gain access, you need to provide the death certificate. That takes forever and there are some things that when you can access, that you shouldn’t find out and there’s a big privacy [issue] and it’s a hot topic now, some people find out about their wife cheating or kids doing drugs, so it’s a big issue there, so they’re stopping it now. Memories.com, you create the memory album of that person after he dies and you collect the memories from everybody. So, if my grandfather died, I create a memory album, send it either via e-mail, via Facebook, to everybody that knew him and everybody contribute a story, a video, a photo and music and we create a memory album of a person that we loved so in 10 years, 15 years, I’ll be able to show it to my kid and say, “That’s who your grandfather was,” and visa versa and continue with their memory album.
Richard
And explain the privacy features that you have as the Memory Keeper.
Marcus
I was curious about that.
Asi
Yeah, you have three levels of privacy, you have, you know, Open Memory Album, where you can just leave it open and anybody that knew that person can become a member of that Memory Album and share; you have Restricted, which is, if they want to join, they send it to the Memory Keeper----
Richard
They send a request to the Memory Keeper.
Asi
The Memory Keeper is the guy that created the Memory, and they can decide whether to----
Richard
Allow access or not.
Asi
----allow access or not and you have Blocked Memory Album, which is only by invitation. You don’t want anybody to know about it except you want to send it to everybody that you want to share the memories [with]. And then in every Memory Album, everyone has his own privacy so he can share private photos, private memories for your own—for your own—for yourself, so in 10, 15 or 20 years, you’ll be able to go back and review your memories.
Richard
So, for example, if you kept a life journal and you kept it in paper and you wanted to upload it to your Memory Album, you could do that and keep it totally private, or if you find a parent or a grandparent’s journal and you want to put that as part of the life story, you can either make that private, public or password access only.
Marcus
So we talked a lot about death and dying and remembering the people that we loved, but is that the only place this applies is after someone has passed?
Asi
No, Memories.com is more than that and I was about to touch [on] it.
Richard
Great question.
Asi
What you see now with Memories.com, it’s the tip of the iceberg. What we are working on is a life journey. A life journey is when people create—record their own life. I want to create things and record things that matter to me. [Things that are] very important that happen to me, you know, during the next 5, 10 years, 20 years or what happen to me up to this point. And, I want to keep recording it; I will be able to share it with my kids and my grandkids. I will be able to record myself and say, listen, I love you. I want you to remember that I’ll be watching you. So you can record your own life and share it later on.
Marcus
What’s your target demographic?
Richard
So originally we were thinking our target market was the Millennials and Generation-X, but the more Boomers that we’re talking to, they—like us, they really are on the edge of losing parents, need a place to be able to put the stories that they have of their parents and actually the opportunity to record their parents, giving kind of their story, whether they’re immigrants or how they got to the United States, how they got started in this world, so we think it’s a pretty wide demographic, you know, 18 to 60, 18 to 65.
Marcus
I definitely see—I have kids that are in their teens, late teens or early 20’s and of course they believe that they are going to live forever, so the idea---
Asi
It’s not too—you think about it when you get to 35 or older.
Marcus
Exactly. Have you guys thought of doing anything like Story Core, which I think is like an NPR? Have you heard of Story Core?
Richard
Yes,yeah.
Marcus
It sounds very familiar, that idea of the generational story telling.
Richard
Absolutely. You know, one thought that we actually have is working in partnership with the American Society of Aging and the inter-generational relationship between grandchildren and grandparents and actually having this as an activity to keep these two generations close together and actually start building the grandparents pages before it’s too late.
Asi
Also funeral homes.
Richard
And a partnership with the National Funeral Homes. Then the person’s already gone.
Marcus
Sure. Sure. What’s your—what’s the cost of using this?
Asi
The first year is for free. So, you know, we are going to try to accumulate a lot of users and then charge them, and then there are many ways of charging. We can charge the Memory Keeper, only the person that creates the Memory and the rest—everybody can share memories for free. We can assign digital duties like when everybody create a memory----
Marcus
Exporting an album?
Asi
You can export it to an album and make, you know, some money, we can do some, you know, sell flowers and stuff. Memories.com is about celebrating. We want people to feel good, clean of advertising, so hopefully, we’re not going to ads.
Marcus
So no ads?
Asi
No ads, right. It will be clean.
Richard
There will be a subscription model of some kind.
Asi
Yes, at some point.
Marcus
Seems like you’re on the hook to store data for a really long time?
Asi
Yes. Memories.com is a very emotional site, so if you sign up, you’ll be there. You don’t want to lose your memories.
Marcus
I have a long memory.
Richard
So do you want to know about our storage capabilities?
Marcus
I’m just kind of interested because it doesn’t seem like you’re Twitter where you’re like going to say in seven days it goes away, so----
Richard
Right. That’s correct.
Marcus
So you’re making a commitment to people?
Asi
Yes.
Richard
So we purchased a Cloud Server that’s all our own, not sharing.
Marcus
Okay.
Richard
We have the ability to expand and we’re looking at models where someone could pay one fee and make sure that Memory is up there eternally, rather than having to worry about it each year.
Marcus
Oh, okay. Yeah that seems really intriguing, especially to the people like my dad, who would be in the, you know, at the upper end of the range bracket but wouldn’t want to be worried about a monthly subscription.
Richard
Or even a yearly. We’re not really considering a monthly.
Marcus
Okay. If Memories.com was a Super Hero, what would its super power be?
Richard
Wow! I think its super power would really be connecting generations and making sure that individuals don’t forget the great memories they have of people that are no longer with us.
Marcus
Excellent. Excellent. Well, thank you very much gentlemen.
Asi
Thank you. Thank you for taking time out.
Richard
Thanks. Appreciate being with you.
Marcus
Great.