Digital Estate

my lasting imprint online

Archive for the ‘Digital Assets’ Category

Canadian and American Startup Investors

Posted by Paul on May 3, 2009

Lucky To Be On This Side of The Pond

I recently visited the UK and attended a few entrepreneurial and networking style events. They had somewhat of a similar feel to the events on the west coast of Canada, with one exception – the impression I left with was that I am lucky to live where I do.

Small business support for tech and innovative initiatives is far more limited back across the pond. In 2 short weeks back in Canada, I have met with some great Seattle connections, had lunch and talked with the NRC about IRAP and youth funding, visited with Monica Moore at Telefilm about the Canada New Media Fund and another team member had a successful meeting to discuss MITACS. Coming up in Vancouver we have Pop Vox, the Vancouver International Partnering Forum (VIPF), not to mention Launch Party and a number of other entrepreneurial networking events.

I have only been in Vancouver for 5 years so I am not sure how long this has been happening, but right now there seems to be a hive of startup initiatives, events and tech players. With great companies like Bootup Labs reaching across the border and into US VC land, the barriers come down even further. For a growing tech company like arcalife its key that we don’t hit dead ends when we are just starting to get some major traction. What’s great to see is that people like Brad Feld are prepared to embrace the concept that open borders on tech and investment is the way forward. Despite the differing risks levels in Vancouver versus the Valley mentioned at Beers With Brad last week, we do have a few things on our side : Geographical and time proximity, similar perspectives on the market, a shared history of successes and failures and openness of communication.

For the UK, US contact I suspect requires more work to acquire and are therefore more closely guarded – exactly what is not required for a rapid flow of new and exciting ideas. I am happy to be home again.


Posted in Ancestry, arcalife,, Digital Assets, Digital Estate, Digital Legacy, Entrepreneurs, Family History, family tree, Genealogy, Investors, Startups, Venture Capital | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Social Digital Legacy Era

Posted by Paul on March 31, 2009

When Facebook was originally envisioned, I’m pretty sure that few people could have foreseen how it would turn out a few years down the line. Over time we have clearly changed the way in which we interact with others on line, as well as the way we interact with the tools themselves. The same is also true of many of the ‘first to market’ social networks that have organically evolved in recent years. Our use has now changed to the point where there are some glaring contradictions that are either ignored or not recognized in the ways we connect and share online.

Top 5 (ish) Contradictions in Our Social Networks:
· The increasing amount of personal information being shared on open networks with barely known acquaintances
· The popularity of general purpose social networks in fulfilling specialized needs for our communities
· The brevity of our accounts versus the longevity of the content we create
· The value of our presence and contribution and the challenges in monetizing it
· The ownership of valued networks and information versus the policies which currently govern them
· The singularity and clarity of a shared message/sentiment amid the noise of millions
· The connectivity created within the networks themselves with the restrictions in the interfaces between them
· The volume of information created, versus the lack of attention to retaining the information that has true value

Are these contradictions really a problem? My view: some are, some aren’t – and of course they are related. The key question to ask is: “Will these contradictions take care of themselves over time or is intervention required by us the social participants?”.

The monetization of our contribution and the value of information – people inherently understand that mass involvement means opportunity, and opportunity means money. The market will take care of the rest, and already is in Second Life and maybe soon in Facebook.

Sharing personal information on open social networks
– for now this is a problem. While the herd is getting larger, you can’t quite convince yourself that there really is safety in numbers. We the participants need to increase our social portfolios by choosing appropriate networks for the kinds of information we are sharing. This in-turn will reduce the barriers between networks and drive specialized networks tuned to our communication and information sharing needs. In the long run this will work itself out as people realize that sharing more personal information with more people doesn’t necessarily add more value.

The longevity and amount of information we create – for a couple of reasons this could be a problem for now.

Firstly, most established spaces will be reluctant to let go of the policy grip they have over the information we have put on “their” networks. In some cases these sites have responsibilities and have to spend money policing the content that gets uploaded. This will get worse as the war over digital rights continues and the monetization of our networks continues…. sounds a little like ownership don’t you think? Right now the issue of ownership has been left cloudy by stories of information retention on account closure and immortalization of deceased peoples accounts.

The second reason is a more lofty and for me more important issue; about what happens to our information once we are gone and what do we think is worth keeping. The idea that we should retain information is not a new one, but the suggestion that some content from our Facebook or Twitter account should be considered an information asset or information heirloom to be passed on, is quite a foreign concept to most. There are however a few forward thinkers out there already verbalizing this idea of a Digital Estate. I am excited to find out where this leads, but it’s often the lofty issues that get left by the wayside, and as a social networking entrepreneur I am not prepared to leave this to chance.

Most leaders of social networks are aware of at least one or two of these contradictions, since solving them secures their future or their fortune. Maybe it’s not wise of us to leave these decisions in the hands of the few – after all isn’t social networking all about participation ?

Posted in Ancestry, arcalife, Digital Assets, Digital Estate, Digital Legacy, Family History, Genealogy, Social Networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Room For More

Posted by Paul on February 18, 2009

AmberShortly after making the decision to create a place in my life for a child, I started to consider my own place in the world. All the usual questions about contribution to society and personal success or failure came to mind. One question stuck: what would life be like for my kid when I wasn’t around? What legacy would I leave my offspring?

The obvious answers came first: I’d like for my daughter to be a good person, well educated, financially secure, and culturally aware.  So I built those goals into the long term plan, made a will and was satisfied….. that I had somewhat missed the point.  After that, I added all the precious items and memorabilia that I had acquired during my life and travels to my will.  This improved the situation a little and my mind turned to the important business of bottles and bouncing babies.

It was a short while later that my mother was diagnosed with bowel cancer, and the final piece of the puzzle dropped into view. The only things that really count are the memories, experiences and wisdom that are left behind. Typically when we think about heirlooms, we think about the tangible, but when you peel back the layers it’s the memories that you associate with these objects that bind you to them, rather than their aesthetics.

We have a unique opportunity, (a moment in history if you like), to harness the power of the nascent information age, and apply it to enhancing our emotional wealth. Having access to a family Digital Estate and all the wealth of wisdom and knowledge contained in it, is a powerful asset for our children in understanding and integrating into a complex society.  I, for one believe that in a world where the pace of change is so rapid knowing where you come from is as important as where you are headed.

In a recent interview on the CBC Radio show Spark, I talked with Nora about how the gift we leave to future generations can be a testament to our openness and a true recognition of the importance of a richer cultural and personal life record.

Sound a little cliché? Well maybe it is; but then isn’t life sometimes? with it’s mix “run of the mill” and almost unbelievable variation –  the question asked by Dominic on the Spark blog is, “… are we doing a good enough job at immortalizing our lives online?”   My question is, don’t future generations deserve to receive something that reflects the full range of our experiences from a unique point in our life history?

Posted in Ancestry, arcalife,, Digital Assets, Digital Estate, Digital Legacy, Family History, family tree, Genealogy, Memories, Social Networks | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »