Website Provides A Place To Remember
Acouple years ago, on a family group email, one of Beth N. Carvin’s cousins started asking questions about a bar in Boston that their grandfather owned. Her cousin had heard stories about the bar growing up and wanted to know more.
That launched Carvin’s uncle and father into tales of barmaids and slot machines and bootleg whiskey.
“My cousins and I were on the edge of our chairs,” Carvin recalls. “Every day, an email would come in and we were like, ‘What are they going to tell us next?’”
That’s when it hit Carvin that what they were doing — sharing stories of their personal histories — had mass appeal.
So Carvin, who also runs human resources technology company Nobscot Corporation, decided to create a place for people to do just that. She and co-founder Bruce H. Daly launched JamBios, a website that provides a space for people to write their personal histories alongside friends and family, this past spring.
The way it works is simple: You pick a topic — anything - lege days — and write down everything you can remember. After you’re done, you can send invites to anyone else who also would have thoughts to contribute about that topic.
“If you look at genealogy, you find (relatives’) names, but you don’t really know the stories of their life,” Carvin says.
JamBios offers a chance to capture those stories. It’s a literary retelling of your memories.
“You pull up these memories, and there is just something about that,” Carvin says. “It’s not only fun for me to do the reminiscing, but it gets greater as it connects you back with your friends and your family in a really deep and meaningful way.”
As users go about creating a JamBio, they’re guided by Monty, a character that will prompt you to remember by asking questions like, what was your first car? Or, what was the view from your bedroom window as a child? Monty is voiced by actor Henry Ian Cusick, who starred in Lost and currently The 100, and is JamBios’ spokesperson.
By both of their accounts, Cusick’s involvement with JamBios came about by pure kismet. Carvin was selling her Kailua home, and when Cusick and wife Annie Cusick Wood came for a tour, the three of them struck up a conversation. At the time, Cusick had re called Rememory, which deals with a machine that can record memories, and the couple felt immediately connected to the concept of JamBios.
“The whole thing about Rememory was about the different perceptions of a memory,” Cusick says. “If you have something that can record it, you can get back to the true memory.”
Seeing the way the idea resonated with them, Carvin invited the couple to join the team. As spokesperson for JamBios, Cusick helps promote the product (Carvin calls him the company’s “secret magic weapon” when it comes to marketing), and Cusick Wood serves as creative advisor.
While Cusick admits that he is still new to the tech industry, he says that he and Cusick Wood, a playwright and director, were drawn to JamBios’ storytelling aspect.
“We recognized that this could be a great platform for sharing stories and memories,” Cusick says.
“It’s the little stories — stories of the joke that you said that day in the car,” he adds. Or the type of stories that come out, as he phrases it, “only after a few drinks.”
Having these stories accessible and gathered in one place, Carvin and Cusick hope, will allow them to be preserved.
“JamBios really feels like an opportunity to … (record) all those stories we have in our heads — and we don’t want to
Actor Henry Ian Cusick is JamBios’ spokesperson.