The Soal app, otherwise known as “Sounds of a Lifetime,” allows you to record and share audio and sound bites with your loved ones. You can record the story of your life by using the mic on your smartphone and share it with your family and friends so these memories can last a lifetime.
We sat down with Nathan Brakke, founder of the Soal app to get a little insight on his daily life and his journey with Soal.
CONNECT: How do you recharge?
Nathan Brakke: An evening out in Little Italy with my wife, Michelle.
CONNECT: If you were to tell one person “Thank You” for helping me become the person I am today, who would it be and what did they do?
Brakke: My dad, Verne. He has always worked hard, never complained, and always remains optimistic.
CONNECT: What movie or novel character do you most identify with?
Brakke: Rudy. Never underestimate the “little guy.” It had a great soundtrack as well.
CONNECT: When are you the happiest?
Brakke: Listening to music at home while a having a glass of wine with my wife.
CONNECT: What’s the best business advice you’ve received?
Brakke: Don’t spend a lot of money building something no one wants
CONNECT: What’s one lesson you learned in the “school of hard knocks” (or “the hard way”) that you help your fellow entrepreneur avoid?
Brakke: Focus on the market as much as (if not more) as you focus on product.
CONNECT: Why are you building THIS company (why this topic, why are you inspired)?
Brakke: I was inspired to create Soal (“Sounds Of A Lifetime”) in September 2013 at my grandfather’s 90th birthday party in South Dakota. Everyone in attendance was given a USB flash drive which held an audio interview. Throughout the interview, my grandparents told the story of their lives — their “audio-biography.” I could even hear their kitchen clock chiming on the hour. It was like a time machine transporting me back to their house as a kid. I thought this was a super awesome gift. I figured we all had a microphone on our smartphones and set out to create an easier way to save and share stories.
A second inspiration behind Soal came from my mother-in-law, Pat. In November of 2012 she was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer’s Disease called Posterior Cortical Atrophy (PCA). PCA patients not only lose their memory, but they also lose their vision. Pat has always been a big music fan. As the disease has progressed, she has become much more responsive to voice and sound. With Soal we can save and send songs, stories, and sounds to keep her smiling. I also think Soal could help add a voice to the #EndAlz campaign that the Alzheimer Association and Hilarity for Charity are promoting.
A third inspiration behind Soal came from a void left in social media. With all the typing and texting in the world today, we really don’t HEAR from our friends and family as often as we’d like. I don’t think Facebook needs a “sympathy button.” I think it needs a Soal…
CONNECT: Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you’d know_____.
Brakke: ….at least one person from South Dakota.
CONNECT: What characteristic do you most admire in others?
CONNECT: What super power would you like to have?
Brakke: Time travel.
CONNECT: What would a “perfect” day look like for you?
Brakke: I turn on the radio and hear they’ve found a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
CONNECT: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
Brakke: “Traction trumps everything.”
CONNECT: How do you think your coworkers see you?
Brakke: One of the “good” guys.
CONNECT: What’s your favorite business book or website?
Brakke: “Traction” by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
Thanks, Nathan! We can tell your new app has a lot of “soal” behind it.