Interview with whoowe CEO – Dan Qualiano by ‘The Ancestor Hunt’ blog and newsletter

Interview with Whoowe CEO Dan Qualiano

About a month ago, I came in contact with Dan Qualiano, the CEO of Whoowe, a new company that captures your life story in a variety of media – video, audio, text, photos, etc. It uses a series of targeted questions to elicit your answers. This is a rather simplistic description, so I asked Dan to answer a few of my questions about the Whoowe App. To me, this service has tremendous potential, and he has some very interesting plans that make use of intriguing technology to enhance the capture, storage, and display processes.

Welcome to Whoowe 

Hello, Dan. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Could you provide a short history of the Whoowe company and its mission?
Thank you for the opportunity to introduce the whoowe mobile app, Kenneth. In late 2014, My wife, Kimberly, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She was 10 years younger than I and seemingly the healthiest member of our family. She exercised regularly, ate well, and always tried to leave people better than she found them. She was a wonderful wife and mother to our two young children. Over the next two and a half years of getting the diagnosis, we did everything we could to defeat the disease:  lifestyle & diet changes, conventional and holistic treatments, supplements, and anything else that could possibly be helpful. Unfortunately, in November of 2017, we lost the battle and Kim was gone. From that time on, I frequently thought about the fact that our grandchildren, who do not yet exist, would never get to truly know their grandmother. Her vibrant personality, sense of humor, and the many little mannerisms that made her so unique and special. Sure, I could show some photos and home videos one day but younger generations are not really interested in looking through photo albums and hours of videos anymore and still wouldn’t really “get to know” the person. We live in a snapshot world of technology now, scrolling quickly to what we want and getting instant gratification delivered at our fingertips. How could we get future generations to embrace their past? Knowing that the most intimate and accurate way to learn about someone is a face to face conversation, I set out to merge our past with modern technology: to create and engaging and interactive way to pass on our life story to our future. My solution is whoowe. Whoowe let’s you quickly and easily create an interactive database for friends, family, and future generations to learn about you by simply asking you questions and getting answers as if they were on a face to face video call with you. Think of how much more you can learn about your ancestors this way. As history is being erased and the wonderful people that made us who we are fade away, our world has become more disconnected with each other. This is a growing problem because knowing where we come from gives us an important foundation to build from. Especially now, amid Covid, families are losing loved ones more suddenly, and isolation is a growing problem. My mission is to positively impact families with a new way to connect to each other and pass on their family history, in an intimate and personal way, beyond anything currently available. I believe whoowe can do that.

There are a lot of websites and other applications that are emerging with the goal to capture life stories and publish them. Some in hard bound books, others audio and/or video style, etc. What prompted your approach?
Most traditional and emerging methods of documenting family history are still somewhat one dimensional, whether that be having a biography written about you, compiling a digital library of images, doing an audio or video interview, etc.. Many of these methods are laborious, time consuming and expensive so most people put them off and few actually get around to doing them. Whoowe provides a fast, fun and economical way to tell your story beyond any of these methods, in the palm of your hand. Using the app for even one minute here and there can quickly become an amazing real life record of yourself, documenting your life as it’s happening. Not a recollection. Whoowe gives you the ability to bring your story to life and gives your future loved ones an experience second only to meeting in person.

I have started capturing my life story as a test of your app and find it quite easy to use, although I admit that I don’t like how I look in video, but that’s OK (sounds like a personal problem). Do you have plans to enhance or make any changes to the user interface in the future?
LOL. Although some video editing may be added moving forward, the goal of whoowe is to pass on the real you to your loved ones, so we recommend being it a well lit environment when answering the questions. The better the lighting, the smoother the appearance. That may make you a bit more comfortable. Also, injecting your personality into your answers is important. Be a little creative and show who you really are. Your loved ones will appreciate it. As for additional enhancements, absolutely! We have over 2 years of updates and interesting features being planned out as we speak. Moving forward, we will implement deep learning so the app can learn about the types of questions you like to answer and the people, places, and things you tend to talk about. Whoowe will then begin to create custom questions specifically designed for you and your family only. The app will grow with you and help you build an amazing experience to pass on. Other features like memorium assignment, custom photo labeling, in app messaging and comment, direct linking to relevant photos, and much more are on the whiteboard. We want whoowe to be the go to app for creating and passing on your history.

One big question is, how do I ensure that my story will be maintained and available after my passing? Obviously, I won’t be around to pay the annual charge.
Currently, if a whoowe account is abandoned but no official cancellation has been made, the account sits dormant in it’s encrypted server for one year for the subscription lapse date. We make several attempts to contact the owner through the email address or mobile number provided but if there is no response, the folder would eventually be purged. We are implementing a memorium option in the next release wherein you can designate an heir to the account as well as a multiyear subscription option. These options would be very economical and the data would be retrievable throughout the extended subscription plus 12 months past the expiration date.

Is there anything else that potential users/customers should know?
Whoowe is a freemium app on Google Play and the App Store, meaning you can download it for free to get started on both Apple and Android devices. You get all the current features to use with some limitations. We are also offering 20% off the premium subscription to kick off the new year. I look forward to any comments, questions, and concerns your readers may have as we are always interested in hearing what we can do to make this app better for everyone. Whoowe was designed to help families celebrate the wonderful people in our lives and pass on their essence as we knew them. Don’t wait until it’s too late to create a record of that special loved one. Do it while they are in good health. Now is the perfect time!

For those of you who follow The Ancestor Hunt, you know that I rarely if ever promote products. However, I do like to make you aware of new offerings that you might wish to explore.

In my opinion, I would try out the Whoowe App. I am doing so, and doing a complete analysis. Since it’s free, you don’t have anything to lose, except maybe a little time.