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Ooooo, it’s my favourite day of the week!
My guest today is Jessica McNaughton, High-Performance Coach and Founder of memoryKPR.
Stay tuned to learn about her endeavours into entrepreneurialism, working in a startup and building a tech organization.
This energetic woman will have you dreaming “what if”…
Stay tuned for a great episode today!
Barb McGrath 0:02
You are listening to a CJ tr podcast.
Barb McGrath 0:09
Welcome to The Secret Life of entrepreneurs on 91.3 FM CJ tr, vagina community radio. Stay tuned to meet today’s guest and hear their story of what makes them tick. What drives them to succeed and their role in growing a thriving business community. The Secret Life of entrepreneurs chronicles the success and secrets of locally owned businesses and owners. Listen in live as we discuss their secrets and learn how they are making a positive impact in their community. You’re listening to your host, Barb McGrath, business leader, entrepreneur and founder of the get found on Google program. Let’s get started. If you could wind back the clock and ask one person from the past a single question, what would it be? Our guest today can help you wind back the clock and keep those memories. Our guest today is Jessica McNaughton, CEO of memoryKPR, and her company is innovating. Her company is coming up with innovative ideas about how to keep your memories alive. Welcome, Jessica.
Jessica McNaughton 1:32
Thank you for being here. Thanks for thanks so much for having me.
Barb McGrath 1:36
So tell us a little bit about yourself and about memoryKPR.
Jessica McNaughton 1:40
Alright, so born and raised to sketch one, I I’d say grow up grew up here but I don’t know that I’ve grown up yet. But born raised we show more like area moved away in its well truthfully as soon as I could and spent about 20 years abroad and then landing in Alberta. So we’re still the things you’re supposed to do when you’re 21 worked on cruise ships taught English in Japan backpack traveled, and then landed in bounce. And then in Calgary after that. So we’re about 25 years, which I know actually appears as though that’s my whole age, but it’s not
Barb McGrath 2:17
Eastern when you were 12.
Jessica McNaughton 2:19
I was very, very young. But in corporate so worked for some great companies in Canada, RBC I worked at westjet in the glory days for a number of years helped that company grow. Back when all the founders were still there for in the oil sands, which shell for a while, have managed companies helped manage through transitions, like acquisitions, mergers, divestitures, was actually at ISC for an IPO. And so have had a number of great experiences. And most recently, I was in corporate in a financial institution here medinas, especially ones that only scheduled one bank. And in March found myself ready for a change. It’s new leadership, new direction, I done some great work there. But it was time and so had been sitting on this memoryKPR, which is the name of our company, sitting on that idea on an offer a number of years. Okay, and decided it was time to give it a go.
Barb McGrath 3:19
Good for you. Okay, so tell me about that fateful day. And I mean, the day that you decided you were starting this company, because I think almost all of us we noodle on something. It’s, it’s the one if it’s the maybe. So what was the day? What was the moment that you said, Yep. Now is the time to do this?
Jessica McNaughton 3:40
Well, I have to give credit to a couple people. As you know, I’m doing my MBA at U of R right now. And one of my colleagues in the class has a tech startup. And so he planted a number of seeds. And I had told him a little bit about my ID and he was like, why don’t you go for it, and then a circumstances changes at the employer at the same time, kind of find myself wondering, started doing some work for another startup, just helping them out and realizing I might actually know what I’m doing, and I might love it. And so, you know, I can’t say that there was one moment that I can say, that’s when I made the decision. I started playing around, you know, bought some domain names, start doing some design stuff, almost just humoring myself a little bit. And then the cultivator here, Moose Jaw the area in Regina, the connexus cultivator had an application for a beta program for people who are just getting started and I thought, I’ll fill out the application form of nothing else to sketch out my idea. Make sure it has arms and legs to it, make sure I see a revenue line things like that. And once I did, I thought, That’s not bad. So I talked to Jordan at the cultivator boat, maybe I’d be able to join the program and Jordan was a guest on the show before the cultivator got going. So I’m gonna say about a year or a year and a half ago, it’s you know, it’s a great space now and so I would say having, you know, a couple conversations In class, some of my family, my partner being really supportive, and then talking to Jordan actually talking like, hey, this could be thinking not just an idea. Exactly. I joined the cultivator and then at all i, then it was just a race, I’m a pretty competitive person to try and keep up with all the other people that are in there. And then to try and beat them, because cuz, but not really beat them. There’s a
Barb McGrath 5:20
Lot of great part collaboration, great collaboration. And, you know, that’s what struck me in the little bit of time that I spent in that space was, it’s a very open space, I can totally see how people are sharing ideas. They’re, they’re sharing, you know, if they bump into an obstacle, they’re brainstorming with others, you know, how do I get through this? What do I do? How do we make this work? Right? And so that’s a pretty special place, because that’s not something that you’re going to find everywhere.
Jessica McNaughton 5:46
No, it was a real shift for me, to be honest, because coming from, you know, 25 years in corporate, I probably got a couple bad habits along the way, you know, sure. It’s not quite I mean, I think I was always a collaborator and a good team player and good leader, but it is a different space, when you’re looking at partnering with competitors, and in and really having to come through the shift to say we’re all in this together. We’re learning from each other. We’re helping each other. Yeah, it’s not a race. I mean, it’s a race, but we’re all running it together like a relay team. It was a it was a real shift. Yeah. And a great shift. It’s been, it’s actually been great for seeing the other side of corporate to being able to be a part of startup and just the energy, enthusiasm and collaboration that comes along with it.
Barb McGrath 6:32
Yeah. So tell us about the highs and lows, because there has to have been some days that were just fantastic. You went home on cloud nine. And other days, you’re like, Okay, I’m coming in tomorrow, simply because it’s my routine. And that’s what I got to keep doing. Can you tell us about those?
Jessica McNaughton 6:46
Yeah, absolutely. I think the highs for me, certainly every time I spoke about my concept, or started shaping the concept and realizing there really was something people wanted here. Right. And part of the cultivator was we did some customer interactions and in seeking feedback and had to speak to a lot of people. And every person I talked to, I learned a little bit more. But I also for the most part got really good validation that the concept of memoryKPR and the ability to save, store, curate design, and protect your memories, and your story is important. And the more people I talk to, it’s something that in the first sentence, they say, you know, has a really good idea but by two or three sentences in people are telling you about the story about their grandma’s secret. Yeah, oh, tablespoon of ginger ale or all these things they wish wish they could capture and pass on in a protected digital way. Yeah. So really, those things are what gave me energy. It’s just this validation that it is good and it exists, and people will use it. On the flip side, the those moments where you’re just going in the next day. I would say most of those moments come for me it’s two or three in the morning.
Barb McGrath 7:55
A lot of you
Jessica McNaughton 7:58
And it is the what the heck are you doing? Every time especially for me every time the highs and lows are are married. So the every time a new person, like I’ve got some really incredible people on my team now who are saying, we believe in you and the product, right? Every time that happened, there’s also a middle of the night, more people than just myself are affected by this.
That’s right. And and so for me, that’s what drives me to succeed. But it’s also a lot more pressure to say, I want to get this right for them because they’re believing in me. And they’re believing in the vision. So there’s that wake you up in the middle of the night worrying about, you know, am I delaying my retirement, am I using my funds the right direction, and I could very easily go and get a day job and I and I loved all the day jobs I had. So it’s not a bad dirty thing for me. But exactly, um, you know, there’s this thing in your stomach that just says it’s time and propels you to keep going forward.
Barb McGrath 8:53
Yes, exactly. Jessica, I think I have to give you get you to give us a good description of memoryKPR. Let’s tell everybody what it is how it works, what you know about what the end goal is. Okay, sounds good.
Jessica McNaughton 9:05
So memoryKPR itself, it started as the concept of being able to tell your story in all facets, so that’s physical memories, such as old photos, slideshows, VHS, maybe even like I kept a landline for three years because there was a voicemail from my dad on it after things like that, you know, being able to take those and transpose them or convert them into digital memories, as well as being able to put all sorts of digital memories whether it’s a video entry to one of your children for the future. It’s a letter in some capturing moments that you have on your phone camera. What have you everything we capture nowadays is digital. Yes, I can’t remember the last time I printed pictures for my kids and a lot of people we talked to you one of the benefits of our product is that you can import all those and curate them and have them designed for you one of the two of my favorite features of Product one is that you can import social media, okay, and so pictures, you can have a digital memory capsule that you can share with your child that shows them who was at their first birthday and the comments from the Facebook post, a lot of people I talked to, that’s the only place they’ve recorded the six month, the one year absolutely the birthdays, the grads, what have you. And so to be able to take that to a place where also we’ve we’re committed to not sharing your data. And so it’s a, it’s a safe place, right? Where I’ve talked to people who’ve lost memories and such on social media and or feel uncomfortable with where their data is, right. So that’s one of my favorite features. My other is that we have the ability to scan photos with our phone, and actually do a voice recording tags. So I picture you’re sitting with your grandmother or your great grandmother knew going through the old photo album, you’re either in or you’re taking a picture of her recipe card, or you’re taking a picture of a great uncle and, and hearing as you’re looking at the picture of voice tag of the story of what it is in her voice in her,
Barb McGrath 10:59
You can give that
Jessica McNaughton 11:01
Yeah, one of one of the so that’s the product itself. So the product is being able to create this add to it, curate it, design it, protect it. And there, there’s a couple things we’re doing that no one else is really doing. One is the amount of medias that we are importing into this capsule, or this memoryKPR, we call them a keeper. And so there’s lots of people telling stories, there’s not a lot of people that might be telling a story that has an old video of still picture with a voice tag some print some sound uniquely, like we are okay. And now the other thing that we found, once we started talking to customers about our product is there’s a very relevant use for this in events as well. So we’re specifically designing to the wedding and funeral space. So the ability for people to tell you stories about someone they’ve lost. And for the family to be able to have that in any form that these people feel comfortable sharing it and and pass it on to their kids. Yeah. On the flip side, we’re also looking at weddings, you know, you go to a lot of weddings, and you have people asking you to use the same hash tag to post your photos or huh. I mean, dating myself in the 80s. We used to put you know, portables or disposable cameras on
Barb McGrath 12:19
Them all. Yeah, you take them all in for development. And you’d build photo albums. Yeah, yep. Been there, done that. And it wasn’t the 80s
Jessica McNaughton 12:26
No, maybe 90s? I don’t know. But, um, so this is a way for people who maybe can’t make it to the wedding to actually send the video saying, Yeah, we set you up on your first blind date. You fooled us or we can’t make it. But maybe they’re still contributing to the slideshow that shows through that video. Yes. And the people that the event or maybe even scanning a QR code at the door and being able to put all their stories, their pictures and the events that happen in one spot for the bride and groom.
Barb McGrath 12:52
Yeah. No. And that’s phenomenal. So tell me a little bit about the development process, then. Because as you say, you’re allowing quite a bit more media to be incorporated. And how do you future proof that how do you think about you know, tomorrow, it’s tik tok? And today, it’s Facebook, and how do you prepare for that?
Jessica McNaughton 13:12
Yeah, well, thank goodness, like I talked about earlier, a team of people who are believing in me, and they’re also quite a bit smarter than so
Barb McGrath 13:22
Excellent. He is a good leader. Yeah, make yourself with smart people.
Jessica McNaughton 13:25
Exactly. Very smart, very driven, and very curious people. And so the reality is, we don’t know what tomorrow’s technology is going to be doing. And so our commitment to stay in front of what’s happening is strong. And especially because we we believe it’s quite a privilege, and responsibility to be the protectors of people’s stories. And so we take that the security and the just the, the technology components very seriously to ensure the relevance, got it. But we also can’t predict what’s coming tomorrow, we’re not in the business of predicting. So really, what we have to commit to is just being in front of security. We’re getting some great advice on that front, and ensuring that it’s not something we do once and we’re done. But we are always paying very close attention to it so we can be in the front of what technology brings and protect our customers.
Barb McGrath 14:19
Yes. You know, and that’s an interesting conversation, because, you know, almost on a daily basis, if not a weekly basis, you hear a story about a debt data breach somewhere. Yeah, sometimes it’s a large company, sometimes it’s a very small company. And it’s a few weeks ago now, but I, I found this website online, where you can change what you’re Yes, you can check to put your email address in and it tells you if your email address has been a part of anything that’s been breached. And our personal email address came up in three different breaches. And then my work email came up in three different breaches. So it was kind of interesting because there was some crossover between those apps and so I immediately went and either deleted the accounts or change passwords. But I have no recollection of those companies ever having notified me that there’d been a breach. So I thought, Hmm, okay, that’s making me a little bit less trouble. Yeah, then I would have been in the past. Yeah.
Jessica McNaughton 15:15
Yeah. Which is actually, in a way, it helps us because the consumer pattern is to start thinking about these things a little bit more than it was even five years ago. Yeah. Cuz just recently, too late, they estimate about two thirds of Canadians have probably had their data breached. And so a, like I said before, taking this as a critical value of organization to be good at. But also, a lot of the breaches are happening in more social and public technologies. And so a lot of the customer discovery we did we heard we actually have a compelling offer, because we’re not intending to share data, and we’re intending to protect it. Where is some open source? And even some of the things like Facebook and Instagram where they’re open? Yes. You know, the risks of even people copying pictures are or details or things like that. It’s open. So of course, there’s a higher risk. So it actually it’s, it’s a risk for every Canadian, I think every person who’s online, which is probably Canadian, at the same time, I think it also makes our product more compelling. Because yes, we’re focused on it. And B, we’re not social, we’re not these are for the the moments you want to keep their tact and design for yourself or your families, for some people have made mention of using it in situations where they have mild dementia, and there’s other products that work in that space to some degree, but it’s it’s for you, it’s not for sharing, we have the functionality that if you want to share it on your social media, you can, but that’s not the intent of the product. And so it is protected in a different level.
Barb McGrath 16:54
So where are you in development? When would somebody be able to log in and make a purchase?
Jessica McNaughton 16:59
So we are we were actually targeting the end of this year. So that would have been this month, we have had some shifts because of the partnerships that we’re looking at in the event space, right. And like any good startup will tell you, you know, there’s this fine line between sticking to your dream and the vision you have, and pivoting to the clients that will work with you. And so now that we’ve got some people in the space that is corporate Yes. And they’re willing to partner, there’s revenue, there’s there’s partners that will test and work with you in testing that know the client better than we do. We’ve shifted a little bit and we’re coding to that. So we’re looking at having launches in that space early in the new year. But you won’t see them yet. Because we’ll be beta testing with unless I get married gardeners. Yeah, yeah, you get married again.
Well, I don’t I don’t tell you know.
Barb McGrath 17:58
Either way, yeah. Hope you’re listening.
Jessica McNaughton 18:02
This. So the phone’s ringing right now. But it actually
Barb McGrath 18:05
Did a second ago.
Jessica McNaughton 18:08
No, so it really is a will be with our corporate partners first that we’ll be looking at. Right.
Barb McGrath 18:13
Yeah. And that makes sense. Because if you can build a solid foundation in any particular industry, then adding bolting on a second industry a 10th. industry? Yeah. becomes that much easier. Yeah, right.
Jessica McNaughton 18:26
Exactly. And we’ve got scale, we’ve got experts, we’ve got willing partners to test on mass scale, where is going business to consumer, which was our initial plan, yes. It takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of dollars. So creating revenue, in a corporate space with events to be able to fund a business to consumer platform. is is it’s just the logical choice.
Barb McGrath 18:48
Exactly. And I would think that if weddings and funerals if those are the kind of the two events and industries that you’re looking at, when you think about anything in life that starts and ends so birth of a child ending grade eight and in grade 12 anything that starts and finishes really becomes kind of that opening to here’s where our product fits.
Jessica McNaughton 19:10
Yeah, right. And the original vision for the product actually partially came from a journal I kept I kept journals for both my kids from before they were born and wrote letters to them. Now my oldest has more in it though, because you know what happens I’m so I absolutely understand that. Yes, the second child gets ripped off but but there’s also things in their chairs like letters from my parents who have both since passed. And letters from my you know, son as a child to his future self like don’t forget dinosaurs are important or funny little things like that. And yeah, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of uses for a product like this. It can be a point in time, but it can be something like my son’s journal I’ve added from before he was born to I still am adding to it. He’s 20
Barb McGrath 19:54
Wow, good, are you you know, it’s funny, almost every parent I talked to has To capture those memories in some way, shape or form, when my kids were born, there was a lot to talk of creating an email address and send them emails on a regular basis. And I always thought that was a great idea, but I never got around to it. And honestly, now that they have access to email addresses, had I done that, they would have just hit the Delete buttons. It’s so true soon, yeah, for them to be able to appreciate. But the one thing that I always did was take a picture of my kids with a teddy bear on each of their birthdays. So in the first year, we took the picture monthly, and then from one year, and may have been two years. But from that point on, we took it on an annual basis, because the change isn’t as quick. But Wow, to look back, and I keep telling myself, I’m going to make a poster for him one day, because even he’s fascinated by the picture. He’s like, wow, I couldn’t even sit up then mom, like the teddy bear was holding me up, or the teddy bear was bigger than him. And all of a sudden, like, wave, and now they’re bigger than we are. Yeah, no, I still have not too much longer. But yes, and I’ll have waited Vantage for a long time.
Jessica McNaughton 21:06
Yeah, I’m winning in that category as well.
Barb McGrath 21:08
You take what you can get, and you turn it into a positive. Exactly. You okay, so we have about five minutes on our show today.
Jessica McNaughton 21:18
First off, if somebody does want to learn more about the product, is there a place they can go to learn about it, even though it might not be publicly available yet? Absolutely. So we are on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and we have a website. So it’s a memoryKPR. And so you can find this memory. I say keeper, but it’s memorykpr.com, or at @memorykpr on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. So the same handle for all, we’ve got a little explainer video and we’ve got some other details there. And also, we want to engage, especially coming up to the holidays, being able to share some memories and advances having the product that can help you capture them.
Barb McGrath 21:56
Exactly. The dialogues fun. Okay, yeah, no, that’s awesome. Um, I had a question, and I lost my train of thought you gave me your social media handles. Oh, can folks put their email address? And if they want to follow along with your development?
Jessica McNaughton 22:10
Yes, they can. You can try it on our website and or you can indicate that on our Facebook messaging.
Barb McGrath 22:14
Perfect. Yeah. Okay, that sounds awesome. Now, you’ve actually got a few other irons in the fire as well, you do some coaching. You’re just finishing off your MBA here at U of R? How in the heck do you do at all?
Jessica McNaughton 22:25
Um, a great support system. Certainly I have a great partner. My kids are really great. And yeah, I’m I’m fueled, like the energy that fuels me is variety. And so I wouldn’t be able to do it almost without all those things going at the same time. my MBA class has like I’ve formed some great friendships. They’re really neat people and my dreams.
Barb McGrath 22:49
Like, yeah, you are tight. Exactly. With that group. Right? I get that.
Jessica McNaughton 22:54
And I’ve got, I’ve got three older sisters who, you know, really supportive tons of great friends. And I get bored, pretty easy. I don’t watch a ton of television. So I actually don’t, I can’t say that. I’m like, Oh my gosh, I’m so busy. No, I am like the perfect amount of busy for my life and how happy it makes me.
Barb McGrath 23:12
Okay, so that’s awesome. So I want to share a little story with everyone who is tuned in today. Jessica and I have known each other for years, literally, since high school, maybe even elementary school who went back and looked, and we have lots of friends in common. So a few months ago, I was hosting an event and I had invited Jessica and had a little bit of a challenge finding her because she had moved on to memoryKPR. And so we exchanged some texts, I think there might have been some Facebook messages. And at one point in the process, Jessica sent me a picture of her partner, opening a box that I had sent to Jessica. So I showed my kids the picture of her partner opening the box, and I’m like, Hey, guys, look, this is one of the mom’s first boyfriends. And they were dumbfounded. First of all, they’re like, sorry, how can be so old? And I’m like, Well, when I dated him, he didn’t like that. But he looks pretty good. Yes. When you’re 10 you know, you and I are gonna laugh at that one. But then and I really got a kick out of my daughter’s response. So my daughter’s 12 she’s never had a boyfriend long way off from that kind of thing. And to her. She was like, Well, why are you talking to that lady? Oh, why wouldn’t I talk to her? It’s not like, right. It’s not like you stole them and, and I just thought, okay, that fascinates me. Then at that age, there’s some sort of preconceived notion that you and I shouldn’t be friends because trusting. Yeah, I was I was completely blown away by that. So anyway, Bill, I think you do look great. We won’t use my my tenant. 11 year olds judgment at the time, though I do admit I kind of got a kick out of it because I was like, I’ve an interesting observation. And I’m sure if they had the opportunity to describe me, they’d be like, Oh, Mom, we are so old.
Jessica McNaughton 25:14
But good for all the moms out there to have those conversations say no, I know we take care of each other as women.
Barb McGrath 25:19
Exactly. That’s exactly it. All right, Jessica. We’re gonna wrap up. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with everyone today?
Jessica McNaughton 25:26
You know what, just a great big thanks to the community between the brilliant people who have joined my team, the cultivator wesc, innovation sask, the Moose Jaw chamber and business development group. ton of support for this type of work in the space right now and so, great community to do it in.
Barb McGrath 25:44
Okay, awesome. Well, that sounds wonderful. Thank you to everyone for tuning in today and listening live on 91.3 FM CJ Tr retana, community radio. Um, thank you to Jessica, and memoryKPR and sharing all of your experiences around building a startup. And you know, some of the days the highs, the lows, the getting out of bed and how you keep going. I will be back with our next guest Tanner goats from Munz media. And he’s going to talk again about being a startup, what they’ve done to really start to shake up the content creation world here in our community. And he’s also going to talk about the emergence of our video culture. Video is absolutely everywhere nowadays. If you’d like to be a guest on the show, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on Facebook and Instagram at Above the Fold Canada. Just a reminder, you can also submit questions in advance of the live show on our Facebook page. I’m your host, Barb McGrath, local business owner and Google girl. Remember, you worked hard for your success. Don’t keep it a secret. Bye for now.