Our dear ones will leave us some day, but is there any reason their memories should also vanish? The legacies we amass in most cases die away because do not know how to keep them alive. Techgoss speaks to Sumit Chowdhury, techie and IIM alumni, whose venture My Life Chronicles (MLC) will help us do just that. MLC is a secure, hassle-free memoir writing and biography service. MLC had started operations in Bangalore but thanks to technology it has a global footprint now.
Techgoss (TG): Tell us about yourself first, what was your role in tech company Honeywell that you worked for?
Sumit Chowdhury (SC): I am a Postgraduate in Software Management from IIM Bangalore and BE (Hons.) from Regional Engineering College, Durgapur. I have 15 years experience in Software Development, Marketing, Pre-Sales and Program Management in Global Product and Services organizations like Infosys Technologies and Honeywell Technologies. I was a Global Program Manager in Honeywell before I started with My Life Chronicles. I am certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) from APICS, USA and a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. I am also a person who is passionate about personal history and technology. I adore teaching.
TG: How did you first arrive at the idea of the memory and biography service?
SC: When my father passed away, his personal diaries, letters and other valuable documents were gathering dust. The thought of losing these legacy documents and associated memories pained me a lot. I was desperately looking for a service to digitize, sort and sequence them. Later, it occurred to me that it would make much more sense to compile these memories into a finely-crafted book which can also be shared on the web amongst close family and friends. This was in 2002-03 and I did not get such a service at that time from outside. My Life Chronicles is an attempt to solve this problem, a problem compounded by moving populations, global jobs and a busy life. Such books will also connect our future generations to the roots and familiarize them with the culture and traditions. The enormous value of a book like this will come out in 20-30 years time when very few personal stories will survive, if at all.
TG: Have you seen a comparable service anywhere else? Any models which inspired you?
SC: When I thought of this service there were no models. However on Googling I came across this Association of Personal Historians in the USA and other countries who have been doing this for 10+ years. In India I did not find a service like this.
TG: How easy was the decision to walk away from a lucrative job to a start-up idea like My Life Chronicles? Most IIM graduates stick to doing very well in the mainstream corporate world.
SC: It was a calling. It was difficult to take the decision. But I realized nothing is going to change if I just keep thinking about it. And I was right. Today many young people are showing interest in joining me and realizing this dream.
TG: Memoir writing is a career in itself in the West, but obviously the flow of money is better over there, do you think India can sustain such a service?
SC: Yes, it is a challenge we have to deal with. We have to work on lower margins initially while delivering a quality job and clearly showing the benefits. Once people realize the value and the word spreads it will be easier.
TG: How does your family take your taking off on a different path, “a road less travelled”?
SC: They share my excitement on this new journey.
TG: How do you think your management training will help you in this venture?
SC: A technology and management background helps me to think clearly. It helps me open up all options and possibilities and then to take the right decisions.
With more and more Indians becoming global citizens and the distances between kith and kin increasing on the geographical front but coming down drastically on the cyber front, Sumit perhaps has started off on a really valuable idea. After all, memories are what we have at the end of the day. Check out Sumit’s idea at mylifechronicles.com