Colfax volunteers needed for new digital memoir website

A UW-Madison start-up company is looking to recruit volunteers in Colfax interested in family history and storytelling to test LifeMapping, a website that allows users to map and securely share their life stories.

[emember_protected] LifeMapping allows users to collect their stories, photos, videos, even music, and “pin” them to where and when they happened — then securely share those stories with friends and loved ones, explained founder Dean Olsen, a former New York advertising executive.

Olsen said he’s seeking volunteers to sign up at (not com!) to receive a free annual subscription in exchange for testing and providing feedback.

“Wisconsinites have always worked hard to preserve and tell the stories of its history, so we felt people here would be especially interested in trying this out,” Olsen said. “What if we could use maps to help everyone better recall and record their own life triumphs, setbacks, experiences and conversations?”

LifeMapping uses prompts and maps to help users recall past experiences and where they occurred. It “powers a shift” from facts to an online autobiography, noted Olsen. His vision for LifeMapping was sparked by his own life—and later by working with Alzheimer’s patients who, when shown maps, would recall details of their lives everyone thought were lost.

“To family who know your history, you’re no longer just ‘mom’ or ‘dad.’ You’re suddenly more real and relevant. And the more they know, the more real you become. It builds kinship.’’

“This is exciting because it’s not just about preserving memories,’’ Olsen said. “I found that knowing my own story changed my life. And when I shared my story with others, it seemed to change their lives too.”

He is launching LifeMapping with help from UW-Madison’s Discovery-2-Product program. The university created D2P to make new companies out of campus research and innovation. [/emember_protected]