We’re EverPresent, a five-year-old New England startup that helps families secure their memories for future generations. We help them address digital clutter by gathering together photos and videos scattered across computers, drives, and cloud services (not to mention old albums and shoeboxes), then digitizing, and organizing them into easy-to-share digital archives.
Having family memories organized and in one place gives clients peace of mind that they’re safe. It also makes it simple for them to find what they want easily, so they can tell their stories any way they want — slide shows, edited videos, or custom family history books. It might seem like we’re in the technology business, we’re not: we’re in the people business, with an exquisitely designed quality-control process.
We employ more than 60 people; about a quarter of them are client-facing, working as organizers and designers from our flagship store in Newton, MA. Every client has different needs, and we believe in old fashioned customer service, so our offerings are both complete, and customizable. If you’re nearby, we offer pickups or white-glove, in-home consultations; if you’re in the tristate area, you can drop off your material at one of our 20 satellite locations; we also have clients ship things from around the country. We also do organizing work remotely, serving people anywhere in the world. So far, we’ve got international clients in England, Spain, and Monte Carlo.
The technical team works in our HQ studio, transferring video, and scanning and organizing photos. These talented individuals can handle just about anything, including photo restoration and historical research. They’re constantly toggling between the old and the new — tracking down and restoring old hardware like VHS decks, while updating and optimizing the newest image scanning software. If that sounds like a lot to keep track of, it is: we’re proud to be able to process media from over 100 different formats, while working with more than 20 different kinds of software. Do you have a niche piece of media? Chances are we can handle it. 3D slides were a thing for a few years — can we digitize them? You bet!
Our clients range from 35 to 85 years old. They may be retirees or empty-nesters, or contemplating a cross-country move. They may have inherited material, or have young children who are starting to ask questions about their heritage. The journeys are diverse, but what everyone has in common is that they value family memories, think technology can be hard, don’t have a lot time, and need someone to help them. And we’re happy to do so.
Digital Clutter = Stress!
Clients come to us, almost universally, from a place of stress because something important to them isn’t safe. There’s one copy of their wedding video, and if something happened to it, it would be lost forever. Or a decade of their kids’ childhood videos is on a computer that’s obsolete, and they don’t know how to get them. Or they can’t find the photos they want to share anymore because of digital clutter – they’re on 17 different services they’ve lost track of, or don’t use, or their most priceless photos are in a box in the garage. Our research shows that more than half of parents have tried (and failed!) to organize their photos, and that on average they estimate it would take 45 hours to catch up on their own.
So we deal with people under crushing stress from their digital photos being out of control. It can really paralyze them. And we think it’s a crime. It’s a crime that the photos on our phones, for instance, should be a source of worry about what can go wrong, and not happiness.
Valuing family memories crosses cultures, but if they’re locked in an attic or a person’s brain, then they’re not doing anyone any good. So we do the unlocking with a system for catching up on 15 years of changing, and obsolete technology. Our Fresh Start package, where our team consolidates all photos and videos into a single photo library, then de-duplicates the entire collection and organizes them chronologically, separating photo from video, is a big part of this process.
Think of the working parent with kids and responsibilities: they want to make a photo album themselves, but 80% of the work is finding the pictures, and they don’t want to tag 8,000 images and make a library system first. That can be demotivating. But if they can work with the best 200 pictures, already categorized by kid and topic, then their time investment is shifted from grunt work to designing, making, and sharing gifts. And that’s something they can really enjoy.
Our goal is to empower people to get control of their futures. And then to do for themselves going forward.
Mylio is our go-to software when people want to be able to view and manage a media library from different locations, and keep all locations in sync. We have a dozen house accounts, used for both client projects, and our own business.
Mylio’s a great tool for consolidating media into one place – reducing client digital clutter by sucking up all the photos from their computers and phones on site, and then syncing it back to our office for the organizing work. Depending on the level of service requested, we might then tag and edit the images, and deliver the newly-organized libraries back to the client within a Mylio account so they can continue manage their library.
A particularly big project – say tagging and sorting 80,000 images – would take one person forever to get done. But with Mylio, several of us can work on it simultaneously at different machines, with the client adding more photos on the fly. Then we sync. It’s an elegant solution.
Some clients like that freshly-organized feeling so much that they have us manage their media on an ongoing basis. We use Mylio for this, too: any of their synced devices will automatically upload new photos or videos, we do the organizing work on our end, and they enjoy the benefits when their devices sync again. Magic!
We also recommend Mylio when groups want to access the same photo library – like families who want to share photos between relations with different devices in different locations. (It’s particularly useful when there’s a matriarch or patriarch who serves as family historian).
For our own business, we use Mylio as a central repository for stock photos and other marketing assets – great for working collaboratively, or when one of our designers is working offsite, and needs access.
Advice for people interested in organizing their memories:
The most important question is: what’s your goal? It’s not enough to want to just ‘reduce digital clutter’ or ‘go digital’ or ‘get organized’. What will the end use of your media be? What story are you trying to tell? Everyone needs their media to be safe, and de-duplicated – that’s simple. But who’s going to be accessing your library in ten, twenty years? What will they want to know?
Mylio is easy to implement, it’s a fun tool to play around with, and it’s really powerful. If a person took their first-ever digital photo tomorrow and had Mylio as their solution – whether they took 500 or 50,000 photos – they’d be good to go. But we’re dealing with photos from all kinds of sources. So before you play, go through the discipline and process of making sure you know where all of your media is, and import it into Mylio. That’s a critical first step.
It’s about people.
Strangely enough, having real people on staff can be hard for prospective clients to internalize. We’ll be on the phone with someone, and find ourselves working hard to convince them that people actually work here. They’re so fearful of things they see online, they’re dealing with things that are precious to them, and they’re already coming from a place of technology stress; we have to spell out really clearly that they’re actually hiring a person.
It may be contrary to the way a lot of businesses are going today, but we’re proud to be a business that needs a lot of people to run smoothly.
We have such a great team, with so much experience — no matter who works with you, you’ll find them excited to dig in, work with new formats, and untangle things for you.