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An Entrepreneur’s Mantra: When You Want Something to Exist, Create It

What an ancient answering machine taught me about life and memory, and how to put social media to work for posterity.

Credit: AdobeStock

Social media is the perfect vehicle for sharing the “now.” With a few clicks, we can capture a moment, wrap it up in a package with text and images, and receive our friends’ instant reactions. This can be quite a rush – the more people experiencing an emotion along with us, the more powerful it feels.

But this can also feel a bit ephemeral. We tend not to revisit these moments ever again. More often than not, we move onto the next one before we have a chance to reflect. There’s nothing wrong with using social media as a real-time commentary on our lives, but so much scrolls out of focus or is missed altogether.

1. A Living Time Capsule

Memory is a powerful thing. When you least expect it, the past can rush into the present in the blink of an eye. This was made clear to me when I came across an old answering machine while doing some housework not too long ago.

An inadvertent button press caused a message from my mother-in-law to play – it was your typical ‘call me back when you get this’ kind of message, but sadly, she had passed away a few years ago, so the effect of hearing her voice was profound. As my wife and I listened to her voice, it was as if she was literally in the room with us.

Part of the message’s power was the medium. Audio can engage us in ways that text and even video cannot. The human voice has a way of engaging our brains that text and video do not. Listening to my mother-in-law speak on the answering machine conjured images, scenes and conversations. It built a bridge spanning from past to present.

Some months later, when I had another equally moving experience of my daughter leaving her first voice message on my phone, I realized how essential it was to preserve these experiences. As I researched ways to do so, I was surprised to find my options lacking.

2. Social Memory

Facebook, Twitter. Instagram and the other major social media platforms weren’t good options. I wanted to share these memories with a select few family members, not with a vast audience that included acquaintances and professional contacts.

I wanted to post something that was extremely personal, that served a greater purpose than a few “likes” or half-hearted comments. I wanted my family to feel the power of sound and for us to share these parts of our lives with one another and with future generations. Most importantly, it needed to be private.

3. Be the Change You Want to See in the World

When you see a potential for something new and important in the world, the worst thing you can do is wait. There’s never going to be a better time than now. And you can’t rely on someone else to do it for you. More than anyone else, you understand how to breathe life into your idea, how to throw every ounce of strength into making it real.

Inspiration coupled with a now or never attitude led me to develop Capsure. More than just an archive of past moments, it’s a chance for us to keep the past alive. Not only personal and group memories, but something greater, a chance for society as a whole to remember events that affect us all from a multitude of perspectives. A way for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, for example, to preserve a part of themselves for their children and grandchildren. An ever-growing archive of our shared experience.

If I had waited for a better time, or if I had waited for someone else to create it, who knows what memories might have been lost? Every second that passes is a lost opportunity that takes you further away from your solution. Just as the power of a person’s voice can create a dialogue with the past, getting fired up to make an idea a reality makes it all worthwhile.

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