Today my World Vital Records team let me see a sneak peek of what they have been working on for the last few weeks. We’ve been talking with genealogists around the world, attending conferences, and trying to create our company strategy. We have been acquiring large and small databases.
There are so many wonderful companies and individuals in the genealogy industry that we are excited to partner with. We have been telling everyone that we are going to build the #2 genealogy company in the world. I guess we’ll see if we can pull that off with the help of good partners and customers.
Now I’m sitting here thinking I have one last blog post in me before I start my weekend. I’m wrestling with this question: “should I let my readers since a tiny sneak peek of what my development team showed me today?” Or should I wait till next week when we actually official launch our version one web site?
On the one hand, I really want to start the weekend now. Tonight is the Freedom Festival gala dinner. This is my favorite annual event in Provo, Utah, a very patriotic and inspiring evening where we celebrate supporters of freedom from around the world.
Tomorrow night, American Idol winner Taylor Hicks will be performing at the BYU Football Stadium in the annual Stadium of Fire event, the most popular event of the Freedom Festival. I actually edited the Wikipedia article about Provo when we found out Taylor Hicks would be here.
Last night, would you believe, we could hear him rehearsing at the stadium well into the night?!? I live very close to the football stadium and it was amazing to have world renowned Taylor Hicks just down the street.
On the other hand, I’m exciting about our new online genealogy initiative. I’m excited, 10 years from the date we launched the first searchable SSDI database at Ancestry.com, to be back in the industry, with a great team, some funding, and a goal to help people all over the world find their ancestors in the vital records of the world.
It’s kind of neat to see a glimpse, even one screen shot, of what our new web site might look like. (It’s so much more interesting than just reading a press release that says we are planning to do something.) Our site is not ready for primetime, but still, it inspires confidence when you start getting a little peak at what our team will be able to do.
So should I pack it in now and go get all dressed up for the gala, or should I link to one page on our development server just to give a few people over the weekend the chance to take a peak and comment on what they saw?
It’s really not a big deal. We are really just barely getting started. But at the same time, it is the first thing our team has done. They are excited about it. And it is the beginning of a long-term commitment to online genealogy that we hope will produce significant results in years to come.
So I think I will actually just link to one record and invite you to look at one screen shot. The final design is being finalized this weekend. The initial databases for our launch are being prepped. But I don’t see any harm in creating the first link to the site
Okay, I just got off the phone with two of our World Vital Records executives and neither of them mind if I link to the dev server, so here goes. (Again, we haven’t done anything world changing yet, but we are taking the first step. When we launch Phase II of our World Vital Records strategy in the coming weeks, we will be doing something extremely important for the industry. At least we hope.)
So here is a link to my grandfather’s social security death index entry.
Some of the web design isn’t even complete and I can’t guarantee that everything will function right, since this is just being hosted temporarily on a development server. But here it is. Tell me what you think. Tell us what you hope to see us do at World Vital Records that isn’t being done elsewhere. And most of all, please give our content and development team some emotional support and kudos for the efforts they are making to provide a valuable service to the genealogy community.
After all, it’s kind of a David and Goliath world in the genealogy industry right now. Anyone would be nuts to try to start an online genealogy company when it’s already game over, right? (Mary Meeker actually said it was “game over” in this space clear back in 2000, because MyFamily.com was already the clear winner in the space. And since then, MyFamily acquired both Rootsweb and Genealogy.com/Family Tree Maker, firmly consolidating its position as the world leader in this industry.)
But we aren’t saying we’ll ever challenge them in any significant way. We’re just aiming to be #2 in this space. Like Avis, we’ll have to “try harder” to actually get a foothold in this industry.
But with this first link to this first record, we are pledging to try hard, and we are hoping to make a difference.
Note: I left MyFamily.com in February 2002, so I have no official role at the company and all of my opinions are simply my own. (I’m supposed to make this clear every time I mention them in my blog.)