Our bags are packed; we’re ready to go. Well, we’re almost ready. We’re waiting for some last minute orders to arrive, and, yes, we’re still organizing packets that we hope will be of interest to genealogy societies. But we have looked up long enough to put some thought into interesting spots to visit as we drive through Nebraska and Wyoming. “Carhenge” in Alliance, Nebraska sounds like a winner.
We’re super excited about this adventure to RootsTech 2014! We’re a Finalist for the RootsTech 2014 Developer Challenge Award! What an incredible honor and opportunity. It’s an honor to be chosen. It’s an honor to be validated by the folks at FamilySearch and all the other big name sponsors. And it’s an incredible opportunity to present Saving Memories Forever in more detail to people there and potentially the ENTIRE RootsTech audience. Thank you!
“OK, we’re amazed that we’re in the running,” admits Co-Owner, Jane Baker. “It sounds corny, but being given this opportunity is the dream of a lifetime. Ever since we put our family tree together 20 years ago, we’ve had this in the back of our minds.”
Co-Founder Harvey Baker continues, “We came here last year with a solid product, and over this past year, we’ve added some features that we think make our product even more appealing. While our zipfile feature makes it possible for members to download their stories on their own computers once in awhile, I think the Virtual Relative Approach is the one that really interests people. It gives families a second chance to capture the life stories of deceased relatives so that they can be shared with generations who will never even get a chance to meet him or her.”
“I can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard ‘I wish I had your product when my grandfather was alive.’ ” adds Jane.
Changes in Just One Year
To be honest about it, we were actually pumped up about going to RootsTech 2014 just as an exhibitor. We had already arranged to meet up with some genealogy friends who we know through e-mail, but haven’t ever actually met. Plus, Jane missed last year’s show so she was eager to take it all in.
“It’s just amazing how quickly things can change,” notes Harvey. “Last year when I attended our first RootsTech conference, Saving Memories Forever was one of only a handful of exhibitors there with a focus on storytelling. We got a warm response and people were very nice. But I’d also say that a number of people were still hesitant. The most eager audience came from members of computer-oriented groups and those leaders in the industry who have already taken the leap.”
“Things have changed over the course of the year,” continues Jane. “The computer-oriented groups are on board and we have, in fact, heard from some members of more traditional genealogical societies. They’re curious.”
On a larger scale, storytelling has become much more mainstream, evolving from being a new buzz word into actual practice. Industry speakers are actively promoting the value of storytelling in their presentations, webinars, and even e-books. In addition, large genealogy organizations such as FamilySearch have welcomed fledgling story-oriented businesses even to the point of offering compatible API platforms. In time, with these platforms in place, who knows what sort of connections can be made? Surely all this benefits the field of family history and genealogy.
Even the Small Fries Benefit
Maybe it’s just luck, but this year’s RootsTech theme, “Connect with Families” also matches what Saving Memories Forever is all about. We’re excited to meet people and other exhibitors who share this interest.
We also look forward to meeting people in the field with whom we’ve had a long-distance relationship but have never met face-to-face: bloggers and consultants, speakers and leaders. It will be exciting to learn how we all might work together. It will also be fun to explore the exhibitor hall and to talk with other exhibitors, getting their insight and seeing their products firsthand. Perhaps we’ll find some more potential business partners like we did last year.
Will it be exhausting? Without a doubt. Much as we’d like to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing, we may just have to head back to our Bed and Breakfast home to rest our aching feet. But we’ll be ready to go the next morning to greet strangers, attend some lectures, and to search out new opportunities. We’ll see you at the show!