Last night I headed into Soho to meet a friend and fellow entrepreneur. He was there with a few members of his team celebrating the progress they’ve made with their service 23snaps. If you are a parent I strongly recommend you check out this service it elegantly solves the problem of sharing pictures of your kids with relatives and close friends (Trust me that Facebook and or email are not the right tool for this task). Besides just sharing photos the timeline service is very powerful as a way to capture your memories.
By chance I met up with them on Poland street, the street where the first Lokku office was seven years ago. Here’s a picture of the building our first office was in, though it looked much worse when we were based there. No doubt the rent has been raised considerably since.
The discussion of recording memories and being back on Poland street reawakened a desire I’ve has for the last decade for a web/mobile service.
Very often when I travel I come back to places I’ve been before that have a lot of sentimental value - in this case our first office. It was a shithole, but it was our shithole, and it’s impossible for me to walk down that street without thinking about the insanely hot summer we spent there cobbling together the first version of Nestoria.
The service I want would try to capture this sense of memory and longing you get when back at a familiar location.
There are many tools and services to record your memories (be it text, video, images, etc) - this blog is a good example. But perhaps precisely because they are so plentiful they don’t always succeed in capturing the value of the memory. My important pictures just got lost in a flood of trivia. What I want is an app that does the following:
- I record an image, video, text, whatever with my mobile, which geocodes the data to a precise long,lat.
- After some brief period of time, perhaps a day, the data is locked, I can no longer delete it and it goes into a “time capsule” - I can not even see it for a significant period of time (1-5 years).
- After that time period I can access the data again, but only when I am back at the location where it was created.
- Sharing is very restricted. You can make your memories available to only a very narrow set of people (and of course to access it they too have to be back at the physical location).
So all of a sudden a boring street like Poland street becomes a literal “treasure chest” of memories that I wait expectantly to “unlock”.
Now that I write all this down I see that what I’m proposing is perhaps the exact opposite of the transience of snapchat.
In the age of information overflow I think we have to artificially apply scarcity and structure to create value. The best example of this I see is twitter’s arbitrary 140 character limit.
An obvious argument against the service I envision is that there is no clear business model, I guess beyond charging the user directly. So perhaps this idea falls more into the spectrum of art than business.
If anyone out there would like to make a first prototype I’d love to hear from you. The technology has gotten much simpler since I started daydreaming about this idea about a decade ago, the technical hurdles are not very high anymore. I have more memories than ever to capture.