Tucked behind some creaky wooden beams in the family attic, George ‘Axel’ Olson III spied a cardboard box full of his grandfather’s possessions. He was nine years old and, donning the old man’s Shriners fez while he toyed with a pack of Bee playing cards, couldn’t grasp the significance of the moment. Eighteen years later, he’d give anything to know more about his grandpa’s life: the triumphs, the mistakes, the memories, the wisdom. More than material wealth, it’s knowledge that ought to be passed down through the generations. As the twenty-seven-year-old Palos Verdes native told us, “without our past, how do we recognize ourselves in the future?”
AfterHaven is a web app focused on enabling everyone to define and preserve their legacy. Their mission: help people be remembered the way they want to be remembered. Recently, we were given the opportunity to take a free online tour to discover just how AfterHaven intends to make good on its promise.
They’ll be launching with several initial features. Two stand out in particular. The first, Life Story Timeline™, prompts users to tell their tales in chronological order. Recognizing that writing isn’t easy for everyone, AfterHaven offers the support of “Expert Storytellers” to help guide and advise the user throughout the process. The suggestions vary from the intimate down to the lighthearted, even finding room to attempt the occasional joke.
The other feature we found particularly useful is their Password Stewardship & Delayed Access™. In addition to delaying sharing your credentials, what is new is the ability to store individual instructions for each device, app, website, email-address or vault. This enables users to pay particular attention to their fixed online presence, from a choice epitaph for selected outlets, to an utter and complete removal. It also allows users to grant their beneficiaries access to their computer documents, cell phone photos, and more. We believe this feature will help take a significant load off what is normally a stressful enough situation trying to get a hold of friends, cancel credit cards, access safety deposit boxes, etc.
We reached out to Axel, and in our conversation we asked him how he came up with AfterHaven’s annual price of $100. “I believe that a person’s legacy is an invaluable thing to define and preserve. A hundred dollars carries a certain amount of weight, and yet, annually, we spend more than that on the most insignificant things.” Does he expect the cost of subscription to change as things evolve? “We’ll never raise the price for existing customers. However, we are already developing increasingly dynamic features. If history is anything to go by, we’d like to think this opportunity is quite stimulating for the imagination.”
Axel Olson hopes to one day offer people the chance to have full conversations with their ancestors. Who knows? Maybe AfterHaven is the first step toward realizing what’s so far been the stuff of dreams.