Motivated by our Growing Community

Robert Friedman Community Leave a Comment

As the common English saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. So we thought this was an appropriate moment to stop and smell the roses.

Especially in light of recent global events, the Permanent team has been humbled by the groundswell of attention and support we have received worldwide in the last two months. We have all witnessed and felt so much loss, confusion and fear. Our team is proud to be working towards keeping us socially connected during a time of physical distancing.

With your generosity, we’ve surpassed 75% of our Phase 1 growth goal and in the last two weeks alone, we’ve more than doubled our pledge contributions! Most thrillingly, we’ve been watching the diversity of our user base and community expand to include folks from all over the world.

Today, Permanent users include family historians tracing their ancestors’ migration, parents preserving the many firsts of their young children’s lives, archivists helping organizations capture their creative history, educators inspiring the next generation of creative professionals, and ethical consumers looking for a healthier digital alternative.

Maybe we met at RootsTech or The Photo Managers conferences. Maybe you’re a follower of the Long Now Foundation, DenseDiscovery, Product Hunt, Ethical.net or Y Combinator and picked us up on their channels. No matter how you found us, we welcome all people to join our movement to democratize permanence and preserve the digital legacy of all people. We’re inspired by folks who share our vision.

You’re part of the Permanent family now.

The Permanent team at RootsTech 2020. From left to right, Megan, Bryson and Robert.

The Permanent team at RootsTech 2020. From left to right, Megan, Bryson and Robert.

We’re on to something but we need your help.

No matter where we meet people, our project has a tendency to spark a vigorous debate. To us, this is a sign that we’re working on the right, hard problems. Digital preservation is an issue that affects all people, doesn’t have a quick and easy foolproof solution, and calls into question the digital status quo.

Permanent is focused on a particular digital preservation solution for the general public. We’re the first and only consumer-grade and individual-focused storage platform backed by a nonprofit organization. Our core innovation is how we’ve transformed storage fees into one-time donations that we pool into a shared endowment to support the ongoing costs of storage in perpetuity. Check out our pledge page to learn more about our approach to building our endowment.

Why are we taking this route? Permanent.org might have only recently opened its platform, but members of our board, advisors, staff, and community have been working out this approach for a long time.

We’ve learned from the successes and challenges of trailblazing projects that came before us like the Internet Archive and Duraspace. We’ve learned from experts we meet at the Society of American Archivists and from those we read like David Rosenthal (DSHR’s blog). We’ve learned from folks at events like RootsTech and in professional networks like The Photo Managers who have been searching for the right digital preservation solution. And most of all, we closely follow and promote complementary solutions like Perkeep and Arweave.

We’re always on the lookout for new partners, friends, users and supporters because we can’t be successful unless we’re all in it together. Whether you’ve been with us for the last 3 years or the last 3 days, whether you’ve only just created an account or were one of the first to make a pledge, you’re part of the Permanent family now.

We’re excited by all of the questions people are asking.

From support for international phone numbers to how we handle subpoena requests, from our storage fees to our security model, we’ve gotten a lot of great questions and smart suggestions. Keep it coming!

We know we still have much work to do in order to make our design choices and policies more explicit and clear to folks through our website and terms of service. As we speak, we’re working on a site upgrade and an FAQ to help. However, if you haven’t taken a look around the site yet, please do. You’ll learn a lot more about our unique approach as well as our aspirations for the project and the platform as we make our way down the roadmap.

Comical illustration of a library in the future.

If you haven’t seen it yet, click on this image to read an informative blog post about Permanent.org from the Long Now Foundation.

We’ve been working double time to respond to every single email, bug report, and contact form submission we’ve received in the last week. We consider every message from you a gift to us because the unique perspectives of our diverse community will shape our platform to serve the greatest good. Please reach out to us with any question or concern and we will respond. Just shoot us an email to support@permanent.org and you’ll hear back directly from myself or another team member.

We’re not claiming to be digital deities or have it all completely figured out. This has always been a learning process and it will continue to be one well after we are successful. We’re just regular people who want a better, more ethical and equitable digital world – in our lifetimes and for the generations that come after us. We believe this change is possible now and want to make it available for everyone. But we understand that our approach might not be valuable to everyone today. That’s OK with us, we’re focused on the future.

Welcome to the Permanent family.

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