Precious life moments come and go, and we try our best to capture and preserve them. We archive gigabytes of photos, organize stacks of notes and letters, and pore through audio recordings. In the past, families gathered around photo albums to reminisce and enjoy shared memories. In the digital age, the proliferation of media, files, tools, and services can sometimes feel overwhelming. The wide-open forums of traditional social media can make our private memories feel very exposed. We want a simple way to curate the digital fragments of our experience, package them into a single, clear narrative, and easily share only within our family circle.
All in the Family
With the Soulsend app, families can curate, narrate, and privately share stories in new ways that make the experience richer and more evocative. Not only can families capture and share moments, but they can also enhance their stories with pictures, text, and voice, as well as allow group comments. Using Soulsend’s unique time-capsule feature, users can send the memory at a future date that would make its narrative even more meaningful. For example, parents can schedule fun greetings to be revealed on their child’s birthday every year. Grandparents can send a special memory to a grandchild on their graduation day. Or next Thanksgiving, the whole family can receive a warm reminder of this year’s holiday meal.
A New Family Album Powered by Heroku
Soulsend’s founder Brendan Zugibe approached mobile development studio Blue Rocket to help realize his vision. Together, they refined and solidified the concept, and the Blue Rocket team proceeded to design, develop, and launch the app in only eight weeks. As a Salesforce and Heroku development partner, the Blue Rocket team was highly experienced with Heroku and knew it would be the perfect platform for Soulsend.
The Soulsend developers felt that the Heroku platform provided the tool sets they needed to develop an app that would scale with the exponential increase in users and user-generated content. And with an extensive roadmap of features planned for future releases, they knew that Heroku would allow them to easily iterate the app and support a more robust user experience.
Soulsend is built to grow with the flow. The Heroku platform gives us the tools we need to scale our app business exponentially. Brendan Zugibe, Founder, Soulsend
The team built the Soulsend front-end using the iOS SDK and the backend using Ruby tied to a Heroku Postgres database. A host of Heroku Add-ons round out their implementation and help them with ongoing operations: Mandrill by MailChimp for scalable email delivery, Memcached Cloud for infinite dataset scalability, New Relic APM to monitor and tune their app, Papertrail for log management, Redis Cloud to manage their Redis instance, Rollbar for error tracking, and ZeroPush for push notifications.
Heroku’s suite of pre-integrated Add-ons make it easy and fast to extend our implementation with additional tools and services. Markus Duffin, VP of Business Development & Marketing, Blue Rocket
The Soulsend user experience is elegant, intuitive, and all mobile – it’s currently available for iPhones and iPads. Family members first establish a personal profile and build their private network by adding one or more family members (or “souls”). When a user wants to share a memory, the app guides them to create a “moment” based on the event or story they’d like to tell. They then select the moment’s recipients – one or more souls in their network. A moment could be a birthday party, school project, family vacation, or simply a personal message.
Users can add as many images to a moment as they wish by taking photos on the spot or choosing saved photos. The user can then enhance their narrative with text and a ninety-second voice recording. Anyone with access to a shared soul can add comments to the moment as well.
The time capsule feature allows users to include an additional message and lock up the moment for a particular length of time. They can schedule the moment to be sent in a week or in a few years. The time capsule could be sent on a future birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, adding a highly personal, deeper layer of meaning to the moment.
With Soulsend, families can build a library of rich stories, for each other and future generations to come.