All about my new venture, working title, ‘Family Share’

The Service

I’m launching a service to help parents easily and privately share media of their children with immediate family members (e.g. grandparents). The service will initially launch on iPad, iPhone and Web. It’ll come in two flavours — free and premium.

The Background

Around May 26th, my first child is due. And in the run up to this time, I’ve been looking around for a good media storage and sharing service to adopt. Very quickly I’m going to want a service that enables me and my wife to snap photos and video as normal and send the media ‘somewhere’ that then enables both sets of our parents (i.e. the child’s grandparents) to easily access it.

Although you might think this set of requirements is well served, it’s not. Not for the parents.

My parents are pretty good with computers. My mum enjoys e-commerce shopping on her MacBook Pro. My dad has a Skype account. They’re pretty progressive. However Facebook is an anathema to them. They don’t quite understand or enjoy it. Likewise, Flickr, or Picasa. My wife will routinely send a URL of holiday (“vacation”) pictures from Picasa to my mum — and all is good. Mum is able to click on the attached URL and browse the photos. However when the time comes to show her friends, she either can’t find the email, or the correct URL, or it asks her to login and she can’t remember the username and password — and so on and so on. This is hugely frustrating for both parties. We get very disappointed because we can’t show pictures. Mum and Dad think the technology is rubbish. And — no kidding — we end up taking the photos on a laptop to show them. It’s just quicker.

Before anyone points out that ‘my dad can do bookmarks’ or ‘my mum loves Facebook’, I know. I get it. Every parent is different. But what I want is a service that cuts through all this uncertainty. I just want it to work. I want to be able to upload photos and video and for them to be immediately available to my parents. Further, I want there to be ZERO friction for my parents to access the media.

I don’t want them to have to login, remember URLs, use bookmarks or anything like that.

Zero Friction

Zero friction is important. Because I’m about to turn on the ‘fire hose’. All the other parents I know hardly put down the camera when they’re out with their children. Friends of mine routinely capture 20-30 photos of their child playing at the swing park. On a normal unremarkable day. That’s not counting proper events — birthdays, parties, holidays and so on. One reader of the newsletter, Mike, has 15,000 photos of his children and he estimates that they capture perhaps 10-15 photos per day, not counting exceptions like holidays. I fully intend capturing this level of content.

Once I’ve captured the content, what do I do with it?

Well the first thing I DO NOT do is stick them all on Facebook. Or on Twitter via Twitpic. Because my followers and friends would go nuts. Absolutely nuts. Even my closest friends do not want to experience the ‘fire hose’ of media that my wife and I are about to generate.

But the grandparents do. Oh yes. They want it all! They want to derive joy and pleasure each day from consuming the content — and then they want to show off portions of the content with their friends.

And I want to enable this. Having seen the mounting excitement of both sets of parents, my wife and I both want to make sure that we give back. It’s an interesting feeling. I feel like I should. I want to give my parents this joy.

The Initial Concept

The initial concept of the service is based around enabling me as the parent to capture some content on my iPhone and have that uploaded to ‘the service’ — and then for the grandparents to get a notification of new content on their iPad — and use then use our iPad application to view the content. I like the concept of sending a push notification to the iPad. But I also like the idea of me prompting them to look — and the only thing they have to do is simply tap on the relevant app icon and boom, there are all the photos that I sent today. There is, of course, quite a lot of potential in terms of making the service available to as wide an audience as possible. But right now, I’m focusing on the iPad/iPhone experience (because it’s simply gorgeous) and because it’s what I want.

Get Involved

I haven’t got a name for the service yet although working title is ‘Family Share’. If you’d like to join me in the journey, I’m looking for 15 VIP founder members who will each pay £150 per month for their membership. In return, VIP founder members will get unrestricted lifetime access to the service and the opportunity to help shape it’s development. Plus each VIP founder member will get an equity share. (The exact structure of which I’m working out right now.) The VIP member revenue will help contribute toward the development costs, the majority of which I’m bearing.

I’m also looking for your suggestions on products and services that we should adopt. For instance I’m going to make sure we integrate mobile analytics into any of the applications we release.

I’ll be using Mobile Industry Review to chronicle the development of the service, so standby for updates.

If you’d like more information or to get involved, drop me an email.

(My Original Blog Post: http://ping.fm/vrNVI)

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