One of the questions I always ask myself when meeting founders is why is this person or team uniquely positioned to solve this problem? Do they have an obsession for finding the answer and understanding their user?
When I first met Lee Hoffman he had been methodically recording every emotion, activity, place and thought he had on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis for the past five years. He started collecting these records with the goal of understanding himself better. In the process, he discovered an unexpected thrill from being able to relive every moment on demand at a later point in time. He found a particular magic when it came to recounting memories that he had with friends and could relive the experience with them.
Thousands of notes on his iPhone later, Lee and his cofounder Angela Kim, launched Memoir, an app designed to let us all relive our memories with the people who experienced them with us.
Lee and Angela discovered an important behavioral trend and an interesting social irony: today people are capturing photos more and more but they are sharing them less and less.
We, at Redpoint, see Memoir as part of a broader move away from “public by default” sharing where you can only share into a single social graph every time, and more towards shared private experiences with ad hoc groups. As Memoir notes in a company blog post
“Public sharing isn’t going away, but it’s clearly becoming a smaller part of our digital lifestyles. The new photo universe will revolve around storage and one-to-one (or one-to-few) sharing.”
As evidenced by the 26,000 tweets I’ve posted and the time I spent working at Twitter, I’m obviously a big advocate of the power of their broadcast model. But it is limiting to rely on a single default always public personae to share private memories.
We’ve all watched with fascination at the rise of Snapchat, which was a fundamental shift away from the always-public lives we’ve had to lead if we wanted to use products like Facebook and Twitter. While these platforms fill an important role in our lives, the rise of Snapchat showed that they are not the only way people want to share and express themselves. Like the complex facets of our real selves, people are looking for products that allow them to engage and share in those same complex and nuanced ways.
Where Snapchat is about sharing moments of your life that are ephemeral, Lee and Angela created Memoir in order to help people remember, relive and understand shared experiences in context of their friends, families and lives. Last week the WSJ did a great job of describing how Memoir works.
Technology needs to support and enhance the way we actually live. People are multi-facted and want digital products that reflect the complexity of human relationships and experiences.
Here at Redpoint, we’re excited by the opportunity for connecting and sharing around the memorable experiences in our lives big and small. And we’re excited to welcome Lee and Angela to the Redpoint family with Memoir.