Timelines, Inc. Founded (originally called LifeSnapz)
I have a lousy memory when it comes to things that happened in my life.
Sure, I remember all the big events with clarity. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that I’ve done that are meaningful to me but the details are allusive without a bit of digging into the recesses of my brain. Some of my siblings don’t have this problem - my older sister Liz, author extraordinaire, has vivid memories of when she was three, and my brother Pat can tell me who was at a particular little league game when we were 12.
In May 2006 my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, so a couple of months prior I gathered up the old photos from my family and scanned in a few hundred - partly for a movie I was going to create for them and partly for me. Many of the photos I hadn’t seen in a long time, if ever. And as I looked at them, memories emerged from the fog. I emailed some of the photos to my siblings and others to friends, asking for their input into what happened and when. I also looked through the 20,000+ digital photos I had taken over the previous 7 years (I have three elementary school kids, thus all the pics). I am a fairly organized guy, so I had them in folders – a folder for each year with 12 monthly subfolders. I picked through these to find the photos of specific events I wanted.
Going through this process got me thinking about using the web to organize event-based stuff (graduation and wedding photos, birthday video, etc.) in a way that would be useful to me, my family and my friends. I was ready to start something new. At the time I was CEO of ShopLocal, a company I had started in 1999 and sold to Gannett, Tribune and Knight-Ridder in 2004. (ShopLocal is now wholly owned by Gannett). I love the process of creating something from scratch and had the bug to do it again. During a family vacation in August 2006 I decided to leave ShopLocal and on September 1st I was gone.
I emailed Geoff Buesing and Scott McMillin in late September 2006 and we met for lunch at the Salt ’n Pepper Diner. Scott and Geoff were the first two guys I hired after I started ShopLocal. They had subsequently left the company in late 2003 to do their own thing. (Salt ’n Pepper was our favorite lunch haunt in the early ShopLocal days when we were working out of my house). We got together and I laid out the concept – build an event-based web service to allow users to view events by time, location, etc. We delved into some ideas and then agreed to sleep on it for a few days. We got together a week later (at Salt ’n Pepper). They said they liked the idea and were interested in getting involved.
We spent November and December of 2006 laying out the basics of the service and the structure of the company. We didn’t have a name so we used one Geoff had come up with on InstantDomainSearch, geoThing. Admittedly it wasn’t a great name, but the URL was available so we bought it. I worked with Bob Tedesco, my favorite corporate attorney, on forming a company and pulling together the incorporation documents. We finalized all the legal work on Friday, January 12, 2007 and arranged to sign and close the following Friday, January 19th. On Saturday, January 13th, Geoff emailed Scott and me with a better idea for a company name – LifeSnapz. We all liked it so we purchased the URL. Come Monday I talked with Bob about changing all the documents from geoThing, Inc. to LifeSnapz, Inc., but we decided it wasn’t worth the effort given we weren’t sure if we were going to even use the LifeSnapz name. And thus geoThing, Inc. was born on January 19, 2007 and we set out to build LifeSnapz.com.