After more than three years of slow development, Meminto has started as a private beta in 2016. A pilot version, which was completed at the end of 2014, caught great interest among its early testers regarding the concept of an innovative, digital legacy manager in combination with an instrument that is able to determine the life signs of the user. For this reason the development began, leading to the beta start in July 2016.
The idea behind Meminto came about during one of my regular trips for work. In 2011, I was still working for Lidl Stiftung, In Germany. Together with a great team, I was assigned to manage the online marketing area. During this time, 2009, I Had been married for 1 year. Before our marriage, both my wife and I organized our lives into separate folders. Nobody knew what the content of the other person’s folders was. Which contracts were there? What obligations did each of us have? Over the years we signed up at more and more internet portals, shops and online services. Although my wife had access to most of my accounts, there were things that I considered too trivial to burden her with.
But one question kept nagging at me. What If something happened to me? Unexpected things happen all the time. Would my grieving wife be able to easily cancel my mobile phone contract? Would she be able to access my blogs and websites? Would she know my clients information that I’ve collected after 15 years of working with my SEO agency? An agency I work for when I was 17, that I built after leaving Lidl in 2011. As more and more of these questions arose, I came to a conclusion. When people die, they’re likely to leave behind lots of questions and uncertainties, a digital legacy.
I live near Heidelberg and have some connections with workers from OM Germany. Operation Mobilization is a christian endeavor, which sends people out to all parts of the world, including dangerous areas. During this time, I had the opportunity to meet an australian couple, who fled from Yemen to my hometown in Germany. During the same time, there had been three young girls who came to a sudden death in Yemen. Through a conversation I realized that they themselves have not properly prepared for a possible death and eventual legacy issues of the digital kind.
As I began to research, I noticed that relatively few people are interested in the idea of a “digital legacy”. Clearly this was a topic of the future . However today you can find plenty of information and tips. In fact, the federal government of Germany encourages us to control our digital legacies.
After a short market analysis back in 2009 or 2010, I realized that there was only one provider for managing digital legacy. Legacy Locker later called Password Box, could only save passwords and information, not news, videos and photos, which would be sent to the loved ones. Also the idea of a “life sign check” was not included. Further investigation led me to another provider, one which could send a tweet or a Facebook status upon one’s death . However, I was not looking to create a toy, but to develop something serious. Finally, I found a provider who managed digital legacy, but it worked in reverse. After the death of a person the provider tried to look for all accounts and delete them.
Development of the Meminto prototype
Finally, at the end of 2012, I began developing the first prototype, which could be tested in 2014. This took longer than expected due to the fact that I was also working a regular job.
Of course I made many mistakes. For example, I concentrating too much on the details. The prototype was already multilingual and had more extras and functions then today’s beta system. However, the system and idea were all well received and gained more and more interest. Thus, I decided to take the next steps. Unfortunately, I was not sure how to market the idea, due to liability and responsibility reasons. As a result, I created a module of an existing framework. This way, I would be able sell it as SaaS or to sell each copy individually..
The Beta Phase of Meminto
After two year, hundreds of hours of testing and bug fixing, Meminto 2016 was accessible to invited guests. The following aspects were available with the start of the Beta:
- Meminto, like a dead man’s switch, checks if the user is still alive. I called that “life checks”. Here a confirmation e-mail is sent to a predefined user e-mail address, which must be answered within a user-defined response time. An example: a regular rhythm for the Lifecheck can be 14 days, with a 4 day grace period. Meaning that if the user fails to react to the life check, Meminto will become “skeptical” after 18 days. Of course there are also implemented reminder to help against forgetfulness. The shortest possible time for the Lifecheck in the Beta phase was 2 minutes, the longest was 6 months.
The Meminto Dashboard with adjustable options
2. Meminto works with trustees. These are individuals, whom the user chooses and trusts to the greatest extent. The trustees are there for a simple reason, to act as a level of human security. My father always said, “Don’t play with life and death” and that’s why I didn’t allow Meminto to decide on its own if a user is considered dead. For example, if the user doesn’t react to the life checks or reminders anymore, the trustees will be contacted. A maximum of 3 persons can be trustees. Because the user trusts his trustees, he can believe that there will be no false claims. If his trustees confirm his death, Meminto will grant the entrusted person (“contact”) access to his digital legacy.
3. Meminto works without trustees as well. In some situations, there is no need to have human confirmation of death. For example, in the case of a serious illness and impending death, a trustee would not be needed. Or in the case that the person has no time to settle reminders and questions. In that situation the digital legacy will be granted after the confirmations are unanswered.
4. Contacts and news. It goes like this: In the beta phase you can write messages and save those to contacts. After Meminto treats a user as “dead”, it will send the messages to the contacts.
5. The debug mode and the Status Check: With the help of the debug mode, the user can check where their beta phase process is at. This is important for eleven different statuses, because one can sometimes get lost.
6. Faster Support: To help answer any other questions , I have included a direct chat. This will be deleted after the Beta phase, but it will help to resolve beginner’s obstacles.
The invitation to Meminto
Meminto can be tested right now. In order to receive a beta invitation, it is necessary to apply for it. Unfortunately, the private beta is currently only in German language. On https://app.meminto.com you can receive an access code. If you’re able to understand german, I am sure you will enjoy testing it out.