Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 Tips for Increasing Your Motivation

1. Focus on Creating Intrinsic Motivation 
   -Intrinsic simply means inside oneself. One way is to think about how achieving your goal will feel and go towards achieving that feeling. 
2. Stay Positive 
   - Studies say that a good mood increases productivity. 
3. Make it Easier 
   - One way to make working your goals easier is to take a small step every day.  
4. Increase Healthy Brain Foods 
  - Fish, avocado, nuts, and dark chocolate are all dopamine creating foods which increase brain activity. 
5. Spend Time Outside 
  - Increasing your time in green foliage (parks, your backyard, a forest preserve) is relaxing and stress-relieving. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Caring for Elderly Parents: Tips for Success

At some point in life, you may be faced with caring for your parents. MetLife estimates that nearly 10 million adult children over age 50 now care for an aging parent. Are you one of them? If so, we want you to succeed and understand the immense pressure caregivers are under. Here are a few tips! 

  1. Take Care of Yourself  - You can’t be of beneficial help if you are sleep-deprived and hungry. Eat healthy meals, sleep well, spend time with friends, and exercise. 
  2. Take a Break - Caring for your mental health and emotions is paramount. You deserve a break. Take time to deal with your feelings and emotions. Talk with a close friend or seek professional help. 
  3. Stay Organized - Keeping your parents documents on LifeFilez will save you an unnecessary headache down the road. Creating a budget for care and learning about Medicare / Medicaid and other low-cost public benefits are important as well. 
  4. Ask for Help - You can not do this by yourself. Ask friends or family to pitch in and consider hiring a geriatric-care manager or home aide to assist you. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can explain services and even has a search feature to locate services near you.
  5. Have Important Conversations- Ask your parents about end-of-life care and what you should if you end up with the responsibility for their medical care. It is a difficult conversation to have but an essential one. For more information about living wills, power-of-attorney and advanced directives read PBS’s extensive guide or seek help from a eldercare attorney. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

What is Cloud Storage and Is It Really Safe?

LifeFilez uses cloud storage to store all of your important life documents. Cloud storage is a recent development in data storage leaving some users unsure of how it works and if it’s reliable. However, it is an increasingly popular storage method with a study finding that, “86% of companies not only use extensive cloud storage systems, but multiple cloud storage systems.” But what is Cloud Storage exactly? A Boston University article on information security defines it as, “ the collection of computers on the internet that companies are using to offer their services… It works by storing your files on a server out in the internet somewhere rather than on your local hard drive.”  

Now with any advancements in technology, safety is always questioned, as it should be. But at LifeFilez our number one priority is ensuring your documents are safe and protected. First, our cloud storage utilizes data encryption to protect your information. Data encryption is simply the conversion of data into a secret code which only authorized users can read. Secondly, we use a HIPPA Compliant Platform that follows data encryption and security protocols recommended by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These are the same standards and platforms used by banks and hospitals to store your data. Lastly, there are multiple layers of protection including data backup preventing accidental loss and systems that are routinely checked for malware and intrusions, in addition to a number of other security measures. 

All in all, nobody claims that cloud storage is 100% safe because nothing is 100% secure. However, with many layers of complex security cloud storage is even more safe than traditional storage options like a lockbox or a home file cabinet. You can trust that your files are safe with LifeFilez. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Getting Started: Choosing Key Documents

LifeFilez exists as an easy and convenient way to store your important life documents. Quick access from any smartphone or computer is vital when faced with an emergency or disaster. But what kind of documents should you store on your LifeFilez account? 

First, you’ll want to gather all your important records and organize them if you haven’t already. An organized paper system will help de-clutter your home and make finding original copies less stressful. Then you can scan and upload your chosen documents to your LifeFilez account. The premium account includes 50g of storage and can host an unlimited number of files.

Now, there is an extensive number of important life documents you should have stored online as a back-up. A few categories to think through include personal records, insurance, financial accounts, property and health records. A few must-haves include a copy of your social security card, passport, living will/medical directives, insurance policies, and medical records. 

Finally, inside your LifeFilez account you will find a number of suggested documents to upload. Use this as a guide to make uploading your documents easy and convenient. 

Now it’s time to get started! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Will You Put Your Children Through What You Experienced with Your Parents?

Bob and Martha are in their early 60’s, and are not wealthy but have been successful. While sometimes it has been a struggle, they have tried to plan for the future.

They want to be sure their children, now in their late 40’s, do not have to go through what they went through with Martha’s dad.

When they got to the ER on a late March evening, they thought they knew what he would want but didn’t have his living will, and they couldn’t remember all the meds he was on. They knew his primary care doctor but couldn’t remember the name or contact information for his cardiologist.

When the worst happened, they had difficulty getting into his bank lockbox to review his will. And they had to search and search to find his military discharge papers so he could be buried in the VA cemetery. It was something they didn’t want to repeat.

So they signed up for LifeFilez. They already had some of the documents on their computer. They were able to just drag and drop those into LifeFilez. They scanned other paper documents and uploaded them to LifeFilez.

They gave both their children access to some of the documents, along with Bob’s brother who is an attorney and executor of their estate.

They also set reminders for when to review the documents and designated some as emergency documents—list of meds, allergies, doctor contact information, insurance cards and living will—that now can be accessed with one click on their phone.

They started with just a few documents—otherwise it would have been overwhelming. Now they have 27 documents on LifeFilez. They like the fact that the documents are stored on HIPAA compliant servers.

Bob and Martha can easily access the documents anywhere, anytime—even at midnight in the ER. And their children will not have to go through what they went through.

Bob and Martha are fictional, but they represent the experiences of many people who have aging parents.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

What Happens When Corporate Executives Do a Startup?

The Disruption Lab is not an incubator, but is a place where executives and experienced entrepreneurs ask questions, experiment and learn about corporate innovation. In April of 2015 I wrote a post under the title, “What Would Happen if Corporate Executives Did Startups--Real Startups?”

The case for this experiment was outlined as follows:

"Corporations know they have to be nimble and rapidly find new growth opportunities. The challenge is that corporations are built for execution, not innovation. Almost everything about a corporation suppresses and kills transformative, growth ideas. Executives know how to scale an existing business but often have not been exposed to the lessons learned from Silicon Valley and a decade of entrepreneurship.

A consensus is developing that corporations have to act like startups if they want to be innovative and grow in today’s environment. That requires executives to learn new skills—entrepreneurial skills. It is easy to learn theory but the best way to learn is to do a startup.

The executives will develop one-page business models instead of business plans, interview customers about jobs to be done, apply lean principles and do rapid experimentation to validate concepts before starting to scale.

While the companies will be real and may grow into successful businesses, the primary purpose for executives starting companies is to learn about startups and entrepreneurship and take the lessons back to the corporations they run. This will be an experiment in executive education for corporate executives. So what do you think will happen if executives do real startups?"

April 3, 2015 Post

Well, it is now over a year later and we know the answer to that question, at least a partial answer. The company that was founded is LifeFilez LLC. We evaluated three business concepts and selected, which later was changed to The business model canvas for MySeniorDocuments guided the questions and hypotheses we needed to test. We developed an MVP website and sought feedback from potential customers.

After developing more confidence in the concept, we changed the name to LifeFilez, formed an LLC and raised a small amount of money from the cofounders to develop the site. We have tested and initially validated the site with early users and are now rolling the site out to customers.

Some of the skills that we have had the opportunity to practice include:

  • Use of a one-page business model canvas rather than a detailed business or project plan
  • Thinking big with a massive transformative purpose—"bring organization and easy access to important life documents for one million individuals and families."
  • Use of an MVP to test and validate hypotheses
  • Getting the product to customers early and with imperfections
  • Customer interactions and feedback
  • Experimentation and rapid iterations
  • Keeping fixed cost low and financing development with a minimum amount of funding, as needed

Some of the lessons learned:

  • It is possible to accomplish a lot with very little money. 
  • It is extremely difficult to move at the speed you would like to, even without corporate obstacles. There are still handoffs and delays that take time.
  • It is critical to have the right people on your team--like an attorney, a business and technology consultant and the CEO of a digital development firm.
  • While we are experiencing a real startup and learning important skills, it is difficult to replicate the emotional roller-coaster of an entrepreneurial startup—yes there are highs but entrepreneurs can lose their homes if things do not go well.
  • The startup innovation process is very different than the innovation process in most corporations. There are a lot of valuable lessons and competencies that can be learned from startups and adopted in the corporate world.

Our experiment continues and we expect to learn many more lessons. Check back for updates and help us achieve our goal of reaching one million individuals and families—sign up at