Becoming a Parent, Parkinson’s, & Our Memories: A journey of changing the way we save our priceless possessions

My son Leonardo & my father Tom.

As a new father, I realized with clarity that time is fleeting. A year later, when my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I realized with clarity that life is short. I realized the most important memories of my loved ones are just sitting in my fallible mind.

In the future we will have our precious memories at our fingertips: whenever we need them, wherever we are, stored securely forever. We’ll share these memories with the people closest to us and keep these precious memories within a quick reach. We’ll take a few minutes here and there to reminisce. Go back in time. Relive our family’s love. Our children’s laughter, our spouse’s wedding day smile, our Dad’s “it’ll be okay”. It will all be there, in one spot: deep and meaningful.

Memories are often triggered by mementos. We build statues, we wear our great grandparent’s jewelry, we save a ticket stub in a box. They have immense value for us and often for our children. But what is a 21st century memento? It’s increasingly digital: the video of your child giggling, the first dance song from your wedding, Grandma’s voice wishing you a happy birthday. Where do we store these priceless mementos? Where do we store the things we never want to lose?

In the old days, we’d put it somewhere secure. Maybe a safe in the house. Maybe a safe deposit box. What do those places provide? They provide protection from damage and theft. They provide security through flames and disaster. They provide privacy. They provide legacy that survives beyond our lifetime, while being accessible to our family when we’re gone.

It’s crazy to me that we don’t have digital safe deposit boxes, until now.

We’re launching Persona: Vault.

We’re providing safe and secure storage of your digital mementos for 20 years. With new legal structures and new technologies, we’re now finally able to provide this service the right way.

What’s the right way?

Any digital long term storage service should mirror the values that a physical safe deposit box provides:

- Safe
- Private
- Enduring

How can we build something that will last 20 years? We’re doing two things differently: we’re launching as a Benefit Corporation and we’re using legal trusts to ensure an enduring service.

A Benefit Corporation is a new legal structure that allows us to define legally binding bylaws that will protect the long term thinking required to offer such a service. The big tech providers can’t offer this. They will always beholden to maximizing shareholder value by hitting their quarterly numbers and selling their users’ data.

Trust funds are almost exclusively used by the longest enduring philanthropist driven charters that require a century long existence. We’re using trust funds in the exact same way. When you purchase a 20 year storage plan, we’ll deposit the 20 year operating costs into the trust fund. By placing the operating costs into a trust fund, we instantly protect the funds from any creditors. In the event Persona were to close the very next day, your 20 year storage would still be fully funded and operational.

What about privacy?

We simply will not sell your data. When you’re storing your most precious memories for decades, they should be private. For companies who rely on advertising (Facebook & Google), it’s more profitable for them to discount services and resell your data so they can better advertise to you. That’s a broken model. The advice and stories my father leaves behind for my family and me is not meant to be mined to sell better ad units. This is a repugnant practice.

These companies will always beholden to this way of business. I refuse to let our company go down that path.

Enduring for decades

Enduring is not only about using appropriate technologies to last for decades, it’s about having the proper structure to provide longevity via inheritance when a loved one passes. The peace of mind knowing your family will someday have access to this precious vault of memories is an important cornerstone. We will make it easy to select heirs and we have processes in place to verify identity to ensure we’re letting the right people in.

Presale is now live

Start storing your precious memories for decades with a company who cares about your privacy:

Excited by our vision? Work with us! (We’re fully remote & looking for exceptional talent).

In the future

I started this post outlining my vision of the future: Our most precious memories will be at our fingertips, wherever we are, whenever we need them, stored securely forever. I spent most of the time writing about storing securely forever. We know 20 years isn’t forever, but it’s a start. Soon I’ll be telling you about our 50+ year storage, but not today. Storing securely forever is just one, albeit important, part of the broader vision.

You’re going to love what we’re building to help people collect, curate, and relive their precious memories. More on that soon, stay tuned…

Life is short, spread the 💛.

Chad Wittman

P.S. Do you know someone suffering from dementia, Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s?

Did you know that nearly 80% of people suffering from Parkinson’s will eventually develop dementia? I learned this fact after my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It breaks my heart to think of the stories, advice, and memories my family is losing.

I’m determined to help families collect & store their most precious memories for decades. I’m excited to announce that Persona is offering affected families an entirely free account storing 20 memories for 20 years.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or Dementia please let us know. We want to help. Click here to learn more.

SparkNotes for the internet, via 5-min audio summaries. CEO Fathom // Former: Dolly, EdgeRank Checker