Two Provo-based website companies, Lifey and Prepare to Serve, merged this year.
Alex Balinski founded Prepare to Serve in 2012. Its purpose was to film returned missionaries and allow them to share their experiences and beliefs with the world.
The company saw success; during its lifetime it interviewed over 1,000 missionaries and generated millions of views on YouTube.
As of this year, Prepare to Serve will be absorbed into Lifey, a pre-existing company that Balinski expects will have a much larger worldwide reach.
Lifey’s goal is to become a video-based Wikipedia, filled with video answers to questions and subjects pertaining to everyday life. Balinski believes Lifey’s applications are nearly innumerable, from travel and tourism to life with chronic diseases.
“Lifey is all about making everyone’s life experiences accessible and helpful for everyone else,” Balinkski said. “I believe everyone has experiences and insights that could help other people in the world, but there’s no one place you can go and have easy access to all of that information.”
Currently, Balinski records Lifey video interviews in his own professional studio. However, much of Lifey’s information will soon be crowdsourced.
The company will continue making professional videos, but the ultimate goal is to allow all users to create their own “Life Selfies” or “Lifeys.” This option will be available through a mobile app with release plans later this year.
BYU communications professor Robert Walz is the subject of one Lifey interview. He is optimistic about the company’s prospects and the benefits it can provide.
“I like it because it’s fun for me to look back and remember. Lots of times you forget the great things that shape your life,” Walz said. “This is a real easy way to relive the major events of your life — not just for you, but for your family.”
Current Lifey intern Austin McMullin shared similarly optimistic views at the company’s prospects.
“I think it’s something that could benefit a lot of people, and it’s a free service. I can see the whole world using it down the road,” McMullin said.
Balinski said he wants to focus heavily on developing Lifey as a positive, safe atmosphere for discussion.
“One thing I don’t like about Facebook is that it often incentivizes things that are angry or violent,” Balinski said. “I think there’s a lot of value in encouraging people to listen. I hope the Lifey app will be a safe community, a trusted database of free resources where anyone in the world will have access to that kind of information.”