Feb 042016

The main feature on Wednesday was the Innovator Showdown with its prize of $100,000 at stake. The 12 semi-finalists had been chosen from the 40 teams that entered, and today in front of 5 judges they presented the technology ideas they’ve come up with to the Judges and the audience in the room. Each contestant was given 2 minutes to make their pitch, and then faced a few minutes each of questioning by the Judges on matters such as how do they see their idea growing, how it might be scaleable, how it might make money.

There were some quite interesting ideas, although a number of them seemed to be all related around the theme of journaling and recording family history.

1 – famicity [website | presentation] – presented by a French developer as a way to preserve family pictures and legacies

2 – GenSoup [website | presentation] – presented by an Austrian development team as a way to research and document Central and Eastern European family history. (One tidbit from this was that Captain Von Trapp – yes, that one from The Sound of Music – was not Austrian, but was Italian?!)

3 – JRNL [website | presentation] – a way to bring together blog posts, twitter, Facebook posts into a curated environment where the user can choose what to put in to a journal that will record a person’s life

4 – Kindex [website | presentation] – a service that will offer scanning and transcription of a person’s memorabilia – photos, letters and other items with a view to creating a journal – family members can work together to create the journal, but Kindex does the scanning and transcription.

5 – Tap Genes [website | presentation] – Health legacy and family future can be analysed – the example given was the preventative surgery (double mastectomy) Angela had, where so many of her other family members have died of cancer.

6 – The History Project [website | presentation] – Connect, Inspire, Delight – another method of collecting and curating to publish the record of a person’s life.

7 – Ancestor Cloud [website | presentation] – a market place that will match people looking for information in distant places to those able to provide the information others are looking for. Not dis-similar to an entry last year called RootsBid.

8 – Legacy Scribes [website | presentation] – if you inherits a collection of journals from an ancestor Legacy Scribes will preserve and make relevant the contents of them by scanning, indexing and storing in the cloud.

9 – Scribbitt [website | presentation] – social media has changed how people record their lives – Facebook, Twitter, blogs. Scribbitt will help bring this all together in a subscription based service.

10 – Studio (by Legacy Republic) [website | presentation] – have developed a scanner and software capable of scanning album pages, including those under shiny plastic and being able to remove the glare and distortion as it goes automatically, taking 20 minutes to scan and clean up an album rather than many many hours it might currently take

11 – The Family History Guide [website | presentation] – a website offering a lot of resources to help with family history. Currently have users in 88 countries

12 – Twile [website | presentation] – creates a timeline of a person’s family history, or a timeline of your entire genealogy if you feed it a GEDCOM file of your family. Then along that timeline are shown the major events, as well as links to any images or other media you link (by date derived from metadata in images, or manually entered) to the timeline.

After today’s presentation and judging, the 6 finalists for Friday’s Showdown have been chosen. They are Ancestor Cloud, JRNL, Studio (by Legacy Republic), Tap Genes, The History Project and Twile.

My two favourite as Studio (by Legacy Republic) and Twile. If the album scanner is as good as it was said to be it will be some smart technology, and the presentation shown by Twile was very intriguing.

The Innovator Showdown is described on the RootsTech site





Feb 042016

Wednesday 3 February 2016 – RootsTech 2016 – Innovator Summit Day

The day started out shortly after 7am with the trek through the huge Salt Palace convention centre from the entrance right by the Radisson hotel to the far south end where Registration was taking place. Luckily at that hour, on the first day of RootsTech the crowds hadn’t yet formed, so I was able to get in and registered in just a few minutes – the fact that I have only this evening discovered that I was given the wrong Lisa Christensen’s registration ticket and bag not withstanding. (First order of business tomorrow will be to go and return that and try and get the right information for Lisa to attend a couple of the evening social functions.)

First up at 9am was Shipley Munson of Family Search with a welcome and introduction of the day’s two keynote speakers:

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Steve Rockwood – CEO of FamilySearch International

Steve talked about his work before coming to FamilySearch with a company that altered the call centre business by coming up with the idea of having the call centre staff work from their homes. He helped develop the “Bidirectional Offsite Phonecall Generator” – the BOPG – or “Bunch of Phone Guts” that allowed offsite call centre workers to answer phones from their homes. Moving on to where family history is now he talked about transitioning from “Facts of the Chart” to “Stories of the Heart”, and instead of trying to bring people in to the family history world, take the family history world to them. Once example he gave would see a personal assistant like Siri being aware of a person’s family history and so able to tell them as they’re travelling that grandfather is buried just a few miles from where we are now, so that family history can enhance travel and other normal activities.

Ken Krogue – Founder and President of InsideSales

Ken Krogue talked about his experience going “from Startup to Unicorn” with his company InsideSales.com and outlined a set of steps that can make your business better focussed and more successful. For one example he showed a picture of a Makita cordless drill and asked what that picture was selling – it wasn’t power tools, or a drill – it was selling a hole – the end result of using the drill. He talked about the “price-quality-speed – pick 2 dilemma”, and noted that Costco seem to have managed to pick all 3. He also had some good points to make on the relative successes of different message media, with blogging now being one of the most successful means of getting a message out, and he talked about the expectations in this modern web connected age of response times – a 39 hour response time doesn’t work any more, but if you can shorten it to 5 minutes you’ll have a 92% closure rate. Ken also talked of the story behind the movie “MoneyBall” about the Oakland A’s baseball team and their turn around in management style to managing almost solely based on player stats and numbers. The top media is blogging, and Content and Distribution are King.

The session ended with an outline of the rest of the day, and everyone dispersing to the first classes, or to just hang around and socialise.

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