HIGHLAND — Anyone who knows Todd Hansen, or has watched his show "The Story Trek" on KBYUtv, knows the man is passionate about everyone having a story that needs to be told.
Time and again over the dozen seasons "Story Trek" has been on the air (it is scheduled to resume later this year after a programming makeover), he has shown that once a person starts talking about their life, they discover that what they thought wasn’t worth telling is actually quite fascinating.
But that’s only been a few hundred people, and Todd knows, even if his show were to make television history and never be canceled, he can’t possibly talk to everybody.
“It would take 4 million years to get to everyone in America, and that’s if nobody new is born,” he says. “The chances of me knocking on your door are really not very good.”
Mulling on this over lunch last February with two entrepreneur-minded friends, Chad Gundry and John Higbee, the three of them came up with a brainstorm that would enable virtually everyone to capture their own life story without being talked into it by some guy on their doorstep with a camera crew.
Their conception: A phone app they call Capchur.
With this app, you can chronicle where you go, what you do, and if you choose, who you do it with.
It’s like having a personal assistant who is invisible and not annoying but always there — and doesn’t cost anything.
Like the app that automatically counts your steps for you, this one counts your life.
Todd calls it “journaling on steroids.”
“Your journal isn’t always with you,” he says. “Your phone is.”
The Capchur app can do as much or as little as you want it to do. For those who tend to be hands-on and super engaged, they can constantly jot down notes and details and add photos. For the rest of us slightly less gung-ho types, Capchur will dutifully record our comings and goings to any places where we stay for more than five minutes — without us lifting a finger.
Twenty days or 20 years later, all this data — this road map of your life — can be easily retrieved.
“Something that seems meaningless now might not be 30 years from now,” says Todd.
And if you lose your phone or run out of memory? Not a problem. Everything is stored in the app’s server.
Users can share their information with others, via social media, or keep it private, their choice.
Todd, Chad and John, neither of whom had ever done this sort of thing before, spent most of the past year learning on the fly how to make their app, which is a free download and as of the past month is available on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store. (Their website is capchur.me).
“So far it’s costing us money,” says Todd. “We hope someday it will be something we can monetize. We hope to maybe get too big for our britches and have to find some outside investors. That would be a good problem to have. It would be great to make an app Facebook would buy for $100 million, but that’s not the main motivation.”Comment on this story
The main motivation, he insists, is spreading the word that “everybody is important and it’s important to record your own story, before it’s lost to time, because those stories are priceless.”
In the meantime, Todd will soon be back on the road, talking to more random people and shooting more episodes of "The Story Trek" as the show enters its 13th season.
A cool moment, Todd admits, would be to approach someone and have them pull out their phone and use their Capchur app to help them tell their story.
“I’m not saying that will ever happen,” he says. “But if it did, that would be awesome.”