BETTSVILLE - Business ideas sometimes germinate from events or impressions.
That was the case for Stan Poe, whose home-based business, Picture Yourself Remembered, began with a near car accident and empathy for those lost during 9/11.
"Watching TV, seeing those towers go down, I thought, over 3,000 people went to work that day, and they are not coming home to their families," Poe said. "What if tomorrow is my last day? It began to haunt me."
He said he was planning on flying and thought, "What if this plane comes down?"
"I thought I needed to leave a message, just in case," Poe said. "It was easy, I had a video webcam, but what do I do with that message."
In order for the message to be delivered to the intended recipient at the determined date after the creator's death, a system had to be developed. That led Poe to develop, and patent a system that could track the status of the message's creator.
The idea was to have a system that contacted the message's creator at intervals determined by that person, then make sure the message was delivered at the appropriate time.
"Let's say I made a message and it sat on a shelf," Poe said. "The system, or company, would contact me every so often, every month, every three months, to remind me of the message, what it's doing is checking in with me.
"The user sets up the account free, sets up the parameters of the contact, whether it calls through a home number or email system as the customer chooses," he said. "If it doesn't hear a response, it will wait two weeks, and email again. If not answered, it sends up a red flag to the system. The system then asks itself, 'What does Stan want next?' Maybe it says that the next step is to contact my brother. Then it turns it over to human people, who make a call to the brother."
If the individual has died, the client's wishes are carried out, delivering a recording with a letter of introduction to the family member several months later.
"We've incorporated the complex software to track it all," Poe said. "It's available to anyone, anywhere."
Poe said he formed the company, Biehler-Poe Enterprises LLC, in February 2002. Picture Yourself Remembered is the trademark name for the patented flow system for messages.
The business has grown mostly through word of mouth.
"Thirty percent only make one message," Poe said of his clients, "The average message is less than 10 minutes long. We have clients all over the world."
With the ease of recording digitally, Poe said accounts can be set up that are iPhone- and Android-based.
"Once they've set up an account, they can go online later, add to the message, or scrap it and re-do it," he said. "I see the possibility of constantly changing and enhancing services. They can make a message of any type."
The majority of clients create a video message, which is uploaded to server space in Chicago, he said.
Poe said he is open to partnering with the right company, to ensure the system and service remain open.
"The goal is to find someone who has name recognition, and is trustworthy," he said. LegalZoom, and American Greetings are both possibilities, he said.
Poe said he has received letters back thanking him for the service, and acknowledging how meaningful it was.
"Part of what motivates me more is a scenario like this: Where a parent is passing too soon, maybe they have a 7-year-old child," Poe said. "I've seen it too many times. I know personally how that affects a kid. That's a void that bothers me a lot, that's what drives me. I see how with kids, it does me good to think that this can help."
"In addition to life insurance, what about life assurance," he said. "Wouldn't it be incredible for a child to see and hear her dad talk to her as an adult."
"How neat it would be to create a digital remembrance vehicle," Poe added. "It would be nice for grandkids. Grandparents have lived through so many experiences. Think of what you can share with grandkids."
For more information, visit Picture-Yourself-Remembered.com, email GoStanPoe@aol.com or call (419) 618-0747.