Because we need stories.
Because we forgot what stories are.
Because Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have eviscerated the idea of stories.
Because stories now delete themselves after 24 hours.
Because stories are now part of a system that is engineered to increase our addiction to social media platforms. Engineered to make us come back every 24 hours. Engineered to increase a metric that they call Daily Active Users.
Stories hold societies together. You cannot build a society around stories that delete themselves in 24 hours.
We need a counterbalance. We need real stories – but now, with Facebook Stories, we also need people to safeguard the idea of stories.
We cannot forget what stories really are.
Stories are not inside our phones. They are both always around us and where we never look.
We cannot watch Facebook Stories while elderly people are dying in rest homes – alone and scared – with their stories dying with them.
Creek will be an organization for stories.
It will have a dual mission: recording and protecting our own stories, while safeguarding the idea of stories.
We will not forget our stories, and we will not forget what stories are.
There are five main components:
1. Creek Stories: A way for anyone to get a studio-quality recording.
2. Creek Studio: A system that allows studios to be more automated – and will allow people to book recording sessions for Creek Stories.
3. Creek Recording System: A simple "cardboard studio" that improves the quality of recordings for Creek Stories.
4. Creek Broadcaster: A device that reduces the friction to install Creek at nonprofit radio stations – the initial set of friendly studios that will record people.
5. Creek.org: The public-facing organization that drives Creek forward.
COVID-19 and Creek — This is how Creek could help:
Creek Stories can help people get studio-quality recordings of themselves in their own home, rather than in a studio.
Creek Studio can help radio stations (our first set of studios) control their studios remotely, from home.
For more, see the red text below.
View mock-up here: https://stories.creek.org – or click this photo:
Creek Stories is a way to answer these questions:
- What if anyone could get studio-quality recordings of themselves?
- How would they use them?
- How could the simple act of recording stories have the most impact on the world?
Creek Stories is the opposite of Facebook Stories.
It's a way for anyone to get their own long-form, studio-quality videos – and they are preserved for decades, rather than for 24 hours.
It is especially for "non-technical" or "non-artistic" people.
Creek can reach the millions of people who wouldn't otherwise create recordings of themselves.
Some possible uses:
- Small business owners creating advertising videos.
- Senior citizens preserving their stories for future generations.
- Nonprofits describing their mission.
But, honestly, I have no idea how people will use stories. That is the point of stories.
Creek for Enterprise: Stories Wanted
We need to fund this Creek project in a big way. This is how.
View the mock-up above, and scroll down to Stories Wanted.
Creek can give brands a way to create authentic marketing material, while simultaneously doing something good – helping people tell their stories.
- Imagine a brand like Nike sponsoring 100 stories – authentic, personal stories of people talking about sports, or their childhood pair of Nike shoes.
- Creek would provide the marketplace (an index of Stories Wanted) and the infrastructure of studios to create these videos at scale – recording people wherever they are.
- People who are interested in telling their Nike-related stories will visit a local studio and get recorded.
- Creek filters down to the best stories, leaving out low-quality ones.
- We edit the videos so that each one looks consistent.
- Nike gets a gallery of these stories, which they can post on Twitter, etc.
- Creek gets promoted, too – through "Creek.org" logos on the gallery.
Creek Recording System
(The "Cardboard Studio")
It's like Google Cardboard – but for building an instant video-recording studio for Creek Stories.
It can be used by studios, or shipped directly to some users – allowing people to record themselves at home or work.
Below – that's my goofy face in the "interviewer" position, acting as "story coach" to help a hypothetical Creek user tell their story.
Eventually, this system will allow us to add machine learning to catch video/audio issues in real time – since the main camera will be a smartphone.
COVID-19 and Creek — By shipping this to users at home, we can remotely help them record nice-looking videos of themselves. This could help small business owners create videos to sell their products from home.
This is what gives us a path to getting the first 1000+ of those nonprofit/indie radio stations to use Creek.
Right now, it supports audio, and we'll be adding support for video – i.e. managing the recorded videos of people from Creek Stories.
It's a standalone SaaS platform that we sell for $50-$100/mo, and so it provides monthly recurring revenue for Creek.
Lastly, studios can set up 1-or-2-hour "Story Session" blocks within their schedule, making them into available session times for local people to record their stories.
The studio automation system (why studios want Creek Studio) is already automating music inside 500+ US restaurants right now. It will soon automate radio stations as part of Creek Studio – freeing them up to record people in their local areas.
COVID-19 and Creek — Creek Studio will allow radio stations to run their studios remotely, or allow each DJ to publish their audio from home (nonprofit stations often have 30+ DJs who need to come to the studio each week). Hundreds of small stations are struggling with this right now.
The Creek Broadcaster is a small hardware device that provides a complete software and hardware stack for nonprofit/indie radio stations – and there's about 3000 of these stations in the US and Canada.
Its bigger purpose is get Creek installed quicker at radio stations – giving us a strong foothold on an initial set of studios. (Then, we'll expand into the broader field of non-radio studios.)
That's me in the photo – after digging around under a table, and plugging in the cables – for the very first Creek Broadcaster.
I installed it at an FM radio station inside a youth center in Oroville, CA. It's streaming their audio live, and it will soon automate their entire radio station.
(Just between you and me – it's actually a mini-PC that I bought on Amazon, and I added a vinyl logo sticker that I created on StickerMule. But the important part is the software, which took me a few years to build.)
Similar to Mozilla.org – Creek.org will move Creek forward as a company.
Creek.org will benefit Creek in these areas:
- Marketing: Creek.org will get shared organically on social media simply by doing something important – recording people's stories. It will attract broad consumer interest, rather than just niche "studio" and "radio" industry people.
- Donations: It will get free resources, like CDN usage (e.g. CloudFlare). This will help cover bandwidth costs when certain stories become viral.
- Enterprise: It will augment our enterprise version of Creek (as explained above). Since corporations sponsor Creek to record specific types of stories, a "dot-org" will help garner the trust needed to record people's personal stories in the service of these corporations.
- Long-term Archiving: Similar to Archive.org – Creek.org could be the enduring entity tasked with maintaining archives for decades.
Lastly, I may also follow Mozilla's corporate structure – if it doesn't break too many things. That would mean incorporating the Creek Foundation as a 501(c)(3) and Creek Inc. as a regular C-corp.