American author Anaïs Nin once said “we write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect”. But writing your life story can be a challenge. Where do you begin? How do you put your experiences into words? Digital startup, Myth of Me, makes it possible for anyone to write their autobiography – whether for self-reflection, or to leave precious memoirs behind for friends and family.
Users receive a series of 100 questions in their email inbox, and all they’re required to do is reflect and respond. Myth of Me collects the responses and converts them into chapters. Users can compare, modify, update and print out the final product.
Why write your myth?
In 1968, American playwright Florida Scott-Maxwell said, “When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality.”
We are rarely presented with the opportunity to reflect on our lives, to consider the experiences, the people and the environments that have shaped our identity and sense of self.
Autobiographical reflection can be an exercise of great personal value; not only can it improve memory and help us develop new creative talents, but it can transform the way we perceive ourselves and the world we live in.
With Myth of Me, even the least avid writer can tell their stories; they can explain how ‘their world’ has come to take its unique shape through a unique set of life-experiences.
In memory of my mother…
Founder of Myth of Me, Marco Menato explains that after his mother passed away, he learned the importance and emotional impact of having old family photos accompanied by personal stories written in first-person.
This inspired him to write his own life story; and while he thought he was doing it for his daughter, he found that the process had great personal value.
Menato decided to develop a web concept that had “integrity” in the sense that it would provide value to customers through stimulating their personal growth and sense of meaning. As such, he built a unique web-based service that disrupts the scrapbook and autobiography markets.
Not a blockbuster business
Menato candidly admits Myth of Me was “never meant to be a blockbuster business” and he was “never under the illusion that it would have universal appeal.” Yet, the service has attracted customers from various corners of the world.
He raised seed funds through Sydney-based incubator Pollenizer, and spent USD$50,000 to develop the product and market-test the concept.
“I went this route because I couldn’t afford to do it alone, but didn’t want to convince third parties to commit significant resources until the concept proved to have business value,” says Menato.
Today, Myth of Me offers an online monthly subscription, and sells a similar set of questions in book-form through Amazon for 50+ year olds who are less tech-savvy.
Myth of Me Notebooks are suitable for those who prefer to write by hand for the intimacy it communicates. The first notebook available on Amazon is dedicated to grandmothers, ‘Grandma, Tell Me Your Story’.
Stay true to your original objectives
The biggest challenge, Menato admits, was staying true to his values and original objectives. In his case, it was “modesty” and “service-oriented integrity”.
“I’ve learned that it can be done if you are clear and honest from the start in your communications with investors and customers alike,” says Menato.