Today in the United States, 7,214 people will die. And again tomorrow, and the next day and so on. That’s 300 deaths per hour, 5 per minute, and just under 1 per second. In 1990, we saw 5,700 deaths per day. That’s an increase of almost 27% over 22 years.
Something else was a bit different about 1990 than it is today; internet penetration. In 1990, 0.8% of the US population were active internet users. Today, internet penetration is at 78% of the population. To put that into perspective, in 1990, about 2 million people were active internet users, roughly the population of Brooklyn. Today, internet penetration represents what the entire US population was in 1990, about 250 million people.
Even with an increasing number of deaths happening everyday and even more people turning to the internet to tackle life’s daily tasks, there is still to this day, no real, useful, online alternative to the local newspaper obituary. That is, until now.
Memorial is the online alternative to the printed newspaper obituary in every sense of the word. Memorial gives those active internet users of today, an outlet to speak about death and to alert those closest to them of a loss. Memorial is beautiful, the newspaper obituary is black & white. Memorial is everlasting, the newspaper obituary lasts for one day then thrown into the garbage. Memorial is less expensive, the newspaper can charge hundreds of dollars. Memorial writes the obituary for you, the newspaper makes you speak to some stranger over the phone to recite the life story of your loved one, reliving each sad detail along the way.
Through a series of short questions, Memorial collects over 149 pieces of data, splices them together through a patent pending process, and creates a beautifully written obituary, formatted using industry standard practice found after researching hundreds of different obituary styles and templates.
So what data are we collecting on the deceased?
17 data points to start the process;
- first name
- last name
- day, month, year of birth
- city, state, zip of birth
- day, month, year of death
- email address of user
80 data points under 7 different discussion topics;
- residential history (15 data points – childhood, early adulthood, middle age, senior years, entire life, city, state, zip)
- education (3 data points – high school, college, post-grad)
- career (2 data points – occupation, company)
- military service (8 data points – army, navy, air force, marines, rank)
- hobbies (30 data points)
- philanthropy (4 data points – donated money to, donated time to, organizations)
- surviving family members (20 data points – first and last names of husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, parents, grand child, mother, and father).
52 data points under 4 services;
(13 data points for each topic – location name, street address, city, state, zip, day, month, year, start time, end time, special notes, latitude, longitude)
Each data point described above can be used individually or collectively as specific identifiers for future search and discovery. As an example, users may be able to subscribe to a Memorial feed that will identify obituaries that include certain items that the user is interested in like name of high school, last name, city of birth or any combination thereof.
As Memorial experiences greater adoption, we can begin to analyze certain sets of data that could have significant impacts on where people choose to live, when they plan to give birth and what types of hobbies they should have. If we find certain trends for those who are passing away between the ages of 60 rather than 80, this may be useful information to our users. By collecting place of birth and place of death, Memorial will have in depth knowledge of migration patterns around the world. Memorial can begin to process family trees based on inputs from the Surviving Family Members section, further connecting users past & present. We’ll be able to tie education background with career choices, philanthropy and military history, and total number of offspring with choice of hobby all in order to gain a broader perspective into the reason or timing of death.
While Memorial has a long way to go before we can begin these types of data analysis, after a successful launch two months ago in June, Memorial is first focused on giving those grieving a loss an easier, less expensive and more beautiful obituary service than they have ever had before.
About the Author
Michael Davis is a New York based internet entrepreneur having launched, advised and invested in several successful internet companies over the past 12 years.
Starting in 2002, he helped build Dotmenu Inc., a leading online ordering parent company to Campusfood.com and Allmenus.com, ultimately bringing them to a successful sale to Grubhub.com in October 2011.