Life is Fleeting Digital is Forever

My dear friend Joel Miller who died in October 2010 is one of the special people who have posted a comment on this site (see comment section below).  One of the things Joel said in his post was exactly on the mark – unsurprising for those who knew him.  Joel was a very smart guy and a remarkable human being.  He wrote, ‘Life is Fleeting, Digital is Forever’.  Thank you Joel, you have powerfully captured what this site is all about and your passing makes your comments all the more poignant.   Fly free dear Joel, life may be fleeting but your memory will always be forever.


The very special Joel Miller


This site is about the future & about embracing the online world as the best platform by far making sure that what is past is not lost.    The Internet will be very different in 50, 100 or even 200 years time but I am pretty sure that current online content will remain in an accessible and even more sophisticated form.   There will be new platforms and technology but archived online content will still be there, more than likely cross-referenced and made available in incredibly new, interesting and exciting ways.

Digital online has the legs to be ‘forever’ and judging by the comments received so far (and we are only a week old) many of you feel the same way.  There is an innate understanding of the importance of recording history before it is too late.   I am truly heartened that there is a powerful wavelength on this issue.  Amidst all the horrible stuff around us these days this acknowledgment shines through in such a welcome way.   Life, however, is not just about  thinking and philosophising, it is not even so much about feeling.  It is about doing.  That, my friends, will make the difference to whether our children’s children and their children will be able to go online and meet their ancestors face to face.

Often people feel they should write their memoirs or record in writing what has happened in their lives.  Most never get round to it.  With video you don’t have to try so hard.  You plan a bit with the interviewer and then you put on a nice outfit, settle into a good chair, let the interviewer and videographer move you around to find the right  background …  and you begin.   You simply go for it.   It is not a performance that has to be perfect and you are guided and supported with questions and reminders all the way along.  Point is, it gets done without too much fuss,  without the need for marathon discipline and mental to-ing and fro-ing.

Today I interviewed Harry Sacks whose family started and still owns Sacks Butchery in Cape Town.  He told me about Muizenberg in the early days, about Mrs Loubscher’s kindergarden, about the thriving local community and how the area was ‘the place to be’ especially during the holiday periods when thousands arrived from all around the country.  His son Saul has just had a third child, a little girl.   Harry’s interview will be seen by her children and her children’s children.   They will get to connect with his life story and all the bits of history – the events, the happenings, the people and the places – that went with it,  eventhough they’ll never meet him in person.   That’s priceless.  Whats more, they’ll  be able to watch it from anywhere in the world (or off world) at any time they choose.

What’s also priceless is that Gary Munro, the videographer who shot the interview and a man who has been filming events and family occasions for years, said that he too ‘must do this for my family’.  Gary, don’t delay, you have a state of the art video camera and an edit suite at your fingertips.   Truth is we need constant reminders and today Gary got his while filming Harry at his beautiful flat in Sea Point.

What’s great for me on a personal note is that my best little pal Jacob Ramsay (the 8th wonder of the world and my sister Jodi’s son) will be able to log onto this site from anywhere in the world, at any time he chooses, and connect with Jacob Hyman Spilkin, the man he is named after.   What a great way to discover and rediscover the marvelous man that his great grandfather was.

Thank you Jacob Hyman Spilkin for being such a wonderful interviewee and raconteur and thanks for being the first one on this site [Interview available in the INTERVIEWS section in the menu bar above].  You died 11 years ago aged 94 and the interview you did for us 18 years ago reminds us again and again how much we love you.   I trust you are pleased with all of this as you watch things unfolding from above.  Lets hope that the many who’ll join you will also look down and be pleased as their descendants fiddle with web 2.0,  3.0 , 4.0, or whatever else is on the cards, to connect with them across the generations.   





Jacob Ramsay & Lisa
Jacob Hyman Spilkin

17 Responses to Life is Fleeting Digital is Forever

  1. Lawrence October 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi Lisa,
    Great to see your brilliant idea is off and running, I wish you much success.

  2. Max Kaizen September 15, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    There are extraordinary new digital ways to make our stories come alive after we’ve gone, RFID (radio frequency tags that can be detectable by devices like smartphones or scanners) popped into gravestones or memorial spots provide just one of the ways to use the digital carriers to take what you’re making in terms of content and embed it into life and serendipitous discovery.
    Check ReadWriteWeb’s piece:

  3. Paula Cohen September 15, 2010 at 8:36 am #

    Hi Lisa
    Fantastic idea. I will spread the word.
    Good luck with this venture.

  4. Tanya September 11, 2010 at 12:36 pm #

    Just when I was lamenting the eclipsing of real human relationships by bully technology, you came up with this fabulous use for it! Well done Lisa. Fabulous.

  5. jodi September 6, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Lisa, you have captured the essence of what it is all about. Great to see Lil Jacob and Big Jacob on same site – quite amazing. When I watch the interview it is like he is here with us.


  6. Joel September 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    You only need to watch a couple of minutes of these before quickly realising the valuable resources STILL available around us, whose loss without capture would be truly tragic!
    Life is fleeting, digital is forever.

  7. andrew stodel September 2, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    Now I know what you’ve been up to!
    Fantastic initiative/ super idea.
    Will spread the word.

  8. Gideon Avissar September 2, 2010 at 7:51 am #

    Dear Lisa you are a shining star, what a brilliant idea, i wish you success in your new venture, without shadow of a doubt i’m sure it will be succesfull. good luck. and SHANA TOVA ve METOUKA,


  9. Andy September 1, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

    Wonderful site, brilliant idea! Best part of it is that you are getting to do what you love doing best. I think it is gonna be a winner!

  10. Kelee September 1, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Hi Lisa, what a wonderful idea. Good luck with your venture, I am sure it will be very successful.

    • Lisa September 2, 2010 at 7:52 am #

      Thanks Kelee. You are keeping people alive through the advanced conflict training you teach ( and I am doing it by filming peoples stories before it is too late. Interesting parallel. Lisa

  11. Eli September 1, 2010 at 3:01 pm #

    Great idea – it’s the small moments in life that one misses most and wishes one had recorded, not necessarily those big occasions that don’t show who we truly are… will def follow the development on this site!

  12. Maddy September 1, 2010 at 1:36 pm #

    Loving the site. Good Luck.

  13. johann August 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

    Fantastic initiative!! Everyone has a story worth telling.

    • admin August 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

      Hi Johann. Everyone has a story to tell (or three). That’s for sure. Question is do we start telling them now or only when we are a little older reflecting back over four score and ten!

  14. Peter Walsh August 24, 2010 at 8:20 pm #

    Hi Lisa

    What a brilliant idea. I will definitely use your skills when Phyllis [my mother] comes to Cape Town.

    Good luck


    • admin August 31, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

      I look forward to meeting her! Will also be good to get all the ‘little Peter Walsh stories on cam. You must have been adorable. Every person I interview has a story that can be made into a movie.

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