This all started with a dream. I'm not a big-time sci-fi nut but this particular dream featured guest appearances by Superman and Darth Vader.
It started with the scene from Superman (played by Christopher Reed) as he sought guidance and advice from his father (Marlon Brando) in the ice crystals. His father of course had lived on a distant planet and had long been deceased but was sharing his words of wisdom and encouragement. The dream then cut to Star Wars, the climactic scene where Darth Vader shocked us all by chillingly telling Luke – "I am your father."
Anyone could have had this same dream and ignored it but I was inspired as the idea hit me. I realized during the dream sequence that we live in an incredible time with digital media and its various types and tools that our memories and family stories could literally live FOREVER! That future generations in a family could actually learn about who we were as human beings by "playing" and "interacting" with the digital mementos we leave behind in a private and secure way.
Apart from the dream, you should know more about me. I'm the kid in my family who has always loved family slideshows and the stories we tell, retell, and even embellish each time. As a child of the '60s and '70s, I grew up in a house where we ate dinner at the kitchen table practically every night and while it was unspoken, we were expected to engage in meaningful conversation with one another. Looking back, our dinner table dialogues were the magical ritual and dynamic where the bonds of our family formed as I know it did and does for other families too.
Yeah, I'm the mushy sentimental type but spend a few minutes with me and you'll also learn that I've never been a fan of social media from Day 1. The reasons? There are too many – tech addiction, FOMO, depression, narcissism, people presenting their "best" "fake" selves, bullying, and never mind what the Silicon Valley programmers are doing behind the scenes collecting and selling your profile data, dropping cookies to track you even after you've signed out, and so much more. Yuck! I value my privacy and the security of my personal information too much! There should be something better to capture and preserve our special moments together.
So I woke up the next morning all energized and excited. I approached my co-founder who has an equally curious mind and is always steps ahead of the world especially with tech. Inspired by the dream and the dynamic of kitchen table dialogues, together we set out to create a highly interactive scrapbook "on steroids" with manual and automated capabilities. After a few months, we introduced "Our Family Lives" but realized it was too much, too soon for the current mindset of families. After weeks of my own family trying to use it, we realized we needed to start smaller.
So that's what we did – took "baby steps" with my family. We started with special occasions like my mother's Birthday asking everyone to create and upload their media media wishes - singing happy birthday and sharing what they admired most about her. Family members created and uploaded their wishes and our software platform did its thing. When my mother, who is also a grandmother and now great grandmother, started to cry as she viewed it, I knew there was raw emotional power in what we were building.
So we introduced just the "automated" part of our platform and Group Greets was born. Yes, it's just a meaningful "baby step" of something much more powerful – our intelligent and interactive multimedia, storytelling canvas. And while we work to continue to improve Group Greets and the engine that powers it, we're grateful for the thousands who have used and continue to use it to create and spread meaningful pixels with families, friends, co-workers and others all over this world.
It warms our hearts and we thank you so very much!