My kids attend the Waldorf School of the Peninsula – you may have seen a story about it on the front page of the NYTimes in October. We have a very strong and supportive community, including many entrepreneurs and business leaders from many industries and companies in the bay area. I reached out to the community with a description of our idea and got a really overwhelming response. Many people had an interest in the idea, and some had stories they were already willing to share with me. This really validated our primary hypothesis, which is that people think this is a problem, and that it could be solved by helping people plan ahead using online tools…This morning, I met LV, who is a parent at the school, and works at the Mozilla Foundation (me with the dinosaur in their lobby above).
When he was only 55, LV’s father passed rather suddenly, and the lack of a plan exacerbated the grief and difficulty her family encountered. When her grandmother passed, there were disagreements between family members around estate assets. She said both these events could have been made much more smooth had there been a more detailed plan in place – especially an estate plan.
Generally, she loves the idea of having these issues settled before one’s passing. She thinks estate planning is a slightly higher priority than memorial and service planning, but that it would be nice to have both solved ahead of time. “Who wants to plan a funeral?” She was thinking of the plan in terms of relieving the burden on her husband, who she said would not know what to do if she were to pass. This confirms our hypothesis that partner dynamics are going to be very important in determining who would be using this, and who the main beneficiaries are…
She said she thought this was a valuable service, and would be willing to pay for it. She also used the wedding planner analogy that we’ve discussed amongst ourselves, so this validates some of our thoughts about possible business models – at least in terms of appearing acceptable.
Maybe most importantly, LV stressed that she had no problem thinking about doing this online, and said she preferred it. She would like to have access to someone who could help or answer questions over the phone or in person, but would prefer to do most of it herself online. Lastly, she referred me to a Mozilla project for Open Innovation called WebFWD, and thought it may be of use to us as a concept, and/or to help our site get some attention, once launched.