I didn’t wake up one morning after watching “Dragon’s Den” wanting to be an entrepreneur, I woke up one morning and discovered that my Mother had cancer.
So, Mindings didn’t come from an analysis of market demographics and deciding that I could make a product to fit a niche, it came from a very personal need.
In the Autumn of 2007, just as my wife and I discovered to our delight that we were going to have a baby, we discovered that my mother had cancer. As my sister had already announced she wasn’t going to have children, I was to be the sole grandchild provider – so I wanted to give Mum as much of the ‘Grandmother experience’ as possible.
To keep Mum’s spirits up I’d been sending her photographs in the post, from holidays snaps to pictures of our nursery decoration, literally printing out 6×4 prints at my local copy shop, putting a stamp on the back, and posting them.
But the geek in me thought, “surely there’s a better way than this“! I was used to emailing pictures to friends or just uploading them to my Facebook page, but with my technology-shy parents that wasn’t really an option.
So, I went online and bought one of the first wireless digital picture frames and gave it to Mum and Dad for Christmas. Despite its poor quality and very limited functionality, it enabled me to email photos to them.
On the day of the birth of my daughter (in fact five minutes after the birth!) I was able to email a photo of CJ, Mum’s new granddaughter, straight to the picture frame. I phoned Mum up, told her to switch the picture frame off and on again (the only way to see the latest picture) and moments later tears followed.
I knew at that very moment that this was something really powerful, and if it could be easier to use it would be a wonderful blessing for families everywhere. So, the Mindings journey began.
By trade, I’m a multi-media producer. For seventeen years I’ve worked in television, advertising, events, theatre and the corporate world. If it has moving images, it’s live, or is interactive, I’ve done it. I have a few industry firsts under my belt and I’ve picked up a handful of awards along the way. And, of course, as I mentioned, I’m a geek! So, I bought a better quality digital picture frame, and by connecting some RSS feeds together and other such messing about I discovered that I could email a photo to a Flickr account which could be displayed on the picture frame, and I could change the pictures being displayed without manually having to switch the frame off and on again – all straight from my iPhone!
However, I knew I could make it do even more, and more importantly do it effortlessly. It could receive text messages, it could connect to Facebook, I could have a calendar on it that I could run remotely, it could have a feedback loop so that I’d know that content had been received, and so much more!
I knew that not only would Mindings be able to help me better connect to my family, it could help me look after them too. And, on my journey it had become clear that my situation wasn’t unique – everyone has family they’d like to be better connected to.
I teamed up with some great industry professionals who shared the vision of connecting the disconnected, and we’ve turned an idea into a reality – which you are now able to share in.
So, how do you get Mindings?
Mindings runs on inexpensive Android tablets, which neatly sit on a mantelpiece or bookshelf. It’s available as a free App which we invite you to Beta test here (and you can buy the tablets we use from our store).
Furthermore, so many people have been saying to us, “can’t you just make it run on an ordinary computer – we bought Mum/Dad/Gran/Auntie/etc a laptop and they never use it”.
Click here to set up your account, and you can have a month’s free trial.
PS: Why “Mindings“? Well, “Minding” is actually a real word that my Scottish Granny used to use when being told off by my Mum for buying me yet another toy – “och, it’s just a wee Minding”. A Minding is “a small gift or token of goodwill, often of little or no value, given to the recipient simply to let them know they’re being thought of”. Quite.
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