Why I made Unspoken
In May of 2016, I was out to dinner with my then-girlfriend/now-wife, Victoria, in Palo Alto. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, maybe a Taco Tuesday or a Wine Wednesday. We were participating in one of our favorite hobbies that we’ve enjoyed since our first date: people-watching and ear-hustling (a more adult-ly and James Bond-y word for “eavesdropping”).
We got to talking and a topic came up that isn’t uncommon: J. Paul DeWoody, Victoria’s father who passed away suddenly in August of 2014. She had a wonderful and loving relationship with her dad. The kind of love that every father probably dreams of and strives for. He was her go-to person for everything and was always able to put a smile on her face. She’s frequently reciting “Paul-isms” that seemingly exist for any moment and occasion. They shared a love that I hope to share with my daughter one day (If my mom is reading this, I know you want grand-babies asap, but cool it a bit will ya?). I was never able to meet him. I met Victoria a few months after he passed.
At one point Victoria looked at me and said:
“Sometimes I just wish I could call my dad and leave a message.”
Being the tech-y that I am, I responded:
“Well… we could make that.”
A spark! We would spend a large chunk of the next few hours and days brainstorming what this experience could be like and researching if this already exists. No, it’s not a voice journal or a voice diary. We want to simulate a phone call, with a ring, hear their voicemail greeting, and a beep, and then record whatever we want to say, and be able to save it… like we’re actually leaving a voicemail.
Why is voice important? Victoria is the best therapist in the world (I may be a bit biased) and knows the cathartic value of voice versus written text. Saying what you’re feeling out loud, and then listening to yourself seconds/hours/days later can be an important part of retrospection and healing.
The idea was born…and it turns out Victoria is a great muse (I even mentioned this in my wedding vows). I was extremely motivated. Knowing that she would find value in this tool kept me up late, woke me up early, and made all of the hard work seem minuscule in comparison to the potential outcome.
She’s really the only user that I cared about (still the one I care most for) and all of Unspokens features are inspired by her needs and what she knows about the various human emotional processes.
Nine months later, Unspoken was born. We released it on the App Store and had a quiet release party with champagne (AKA Trader Joe’s sparkling wine) and one of Victoria’s close therapist friends who was instrumental to the process.
[INSERT PIC OF US DRINKING CHAMPAGNE]
Since its release, we’ve heard from many people using Unspoken as a successful support tool in their lives. Some use it to heal, some to capture happy and exciting moments, and some others use it in heartwarming ways we never expected. Already an incredibly fulfilling milestone for both Victoria and me.
Our hope for Unspoken is that it will provide support to those in need, connect people in joy, and be a platform to experience how human emotions make us more alike than we realize.
We wish you or someone you know finds as much value as Victoria and others have.