615. If I Could Only Remember...There's an App for That!
Who among us would not wish to have a superhuman memory. But for Thomas, whose brain injury caused him to lose the ability to remember his life, the need was critical. His solution? To develop a digital memory app. “ME.mory” now provides him and an increasing number of users with rapidly-searchable, artificial memories.
Thomas Dixon nearly died on November 22, 2010, when a car hit him and sent him to an emergency room. He lost most of his abilities to remember his own life. Keenly aware of his overwhelming inability to recollect his own post-injury experiences, others initially reacted to Thomas as if his life was over, even as he was still living it. “I’m sorry” is all he heard at first. But he realized that he did not have to suffer because of his now severely-compromised episodic memory. Instead, he decided, why not invent a solution? His life with a digital memory has led to him now often hearing the words: “That’s awesome!”
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“Right after graduation, although I looked and looked, I could not find the work I wanted in Philadelphia. I chose to work and live abroad, so I struck out on my own to teach in Seoul, South Korea. I spoke no Korean and had no contacts in Seoul. It was there, as a middle school teacher, that I was most fully on my own. The experiences I had in Seoul have helped me in many ways.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“Sometime after my accident, I was passing through the student center on the Temple University campus. I came across an idea incubator called Blackstone LaunchPad, a campus based entrepreneurship program, designed to support and mentor students and alumni. I asked what they did there, shared with them my idea for an artificial memory mobile app. The rest flowed from there. They connected me with people who had technological skills and together we created ME.mory.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“To continue to challenge what I believe about myself and about people overall. This means I’d better continue to travel and meet all manner of folks. Earlier this month, I was with my girlfriend in Thailand. I was surprised to learn that some people pay to have fish nibble the dead skin off their feet, to smooth the soles of their feet. I did it. It tickles initially. But it was amazing! And my feet ARE a bit smoother now.”
Steps to Success from Thomas Dixon
1. Define your passion clearly, yet manifest that passion in a variety of forms. That way, it will be easier to switch between them if needed.
2. Actively define what you may be wrong about and let yourself feel uncomfortable as you discover what you can learn as a result.
3. When you give something your best and discover it’s not sustainable, just move on.
On His Bookshelf
Top Tools on His Browser
Savage Lovecast, with Dan Savage
The Bugle: Audio Newspaper for a Visual World Since 2007
The Moth: True Stories Told Live
This American Life
Connecting With Thomas Dixon
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