Feb 042016

Rootstech Innovator Showdown logo



Update: Innovator Showdown Winners:

TapGenes Innovator Showdown winner

1st place of $20K in cash and $25K worth of in-kind prizes went to Heather Holmes of Tap Genes. One of the hard questions Heather fielded from the sharks was how she planned to deal with HIPPA requirements. She answered that TapGenes was developed by a team of health care professionals and is fully HIPPA compliant.

Studio Innovator Showdown.

The 2nd place prize of $14K in cash and $15K of in-kind prizes went to Michael Chang of  Studio (by Legacy Republic).  Chang referred to Studio/Legacy Republic’s business model as the “Avon of memory preservation.”

Both the third place prize of $6K in cash and $10K worth of in-kind prizes, as well as the people’s choice prize of $10K went to Paul Brooks of  Twile. Paul scored points with the crowd–and probably also the judges, with his integration with FamilySearch and the fact that Twile already has 1 million stories. Continue reading »

Jan 282016
Innovator Showdown Semifinalists and showdown

2015’s Innovator Showdown, image courtesy of RootsTech

This time next week I’ll be in Salt Lake City, walking around with a giddy feeling in my stomach. Having looked forward to and prepared for RootsTech for it for months, I’ll be trying to absorb all the family history, storytelling, and technical insight I can.

A highlight of the RootsTech conference will be the Innovator Showdown. Family history innovators from all over the globe compete for $100,000 in cash and prizes. For attendees, it’s like watching a Shark Tank for family history technology. In other words, way cool and fun.

Currently, there are twelve Innovator Showdown Semifinalists. By Thursday, February 4, that field will be narrowed to six. At that point, conference attendees get a big say in who wins the grand prize and bragging rights. Continue reading »

Oct 132014
oral histories versus gossip

Are oral histories less reliable than playground gossip?

As much as we (okay, I) love technology, we sometimes wonder if it isn’t stabbing us in the back. Just as we wonder if access to calculators is undermining our math skills, a case can be made that technology is to blame for the decline of the art of oral histories.

Josh Foer, author of Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, doesn’t point a finger at the Internet. He argues that the Gutenberg Press bears responsibility for the decline of oral histories and the faculty of individual memory. As books became available, people didn’t have to remember everything. They no longer had to pass down stories with great attention to detail and nuance. Continue reading »

Sep 242013

Changes in technolgy adding machine How have changes in technology changed your life? What changes in technology have you seen? At my son’s 2012 high school graduation, the school presented a slide show of technology that had not yet been invented when the graduates were born. It boggled the mind.  We so quickly adapt to changes in technology that we forget what life was like just a couple of decades ago. Continue reading »