Mr Muir said the firm was replicating in a desktop online environment the “shoebox” many people store in a cupboard, containing personal memorabilia from all parts of their life. Best Friends Pet Care offers owners a one-stop shop for all their pet needs including an onsite vet, grooming service and puppy school.
One of the nation’s newly minted billionaires, the former executive chairman of The Good Guys whitegoods chain Andrew Muir, has moved into the burgeoning world of social media with the launch of a company known as Shoebox.
Mr Muir said the firm was replicating in a desktop online environment the “shoebox” many people store in a cupboard, containing personal memorabilia from all parts of their life.
Shoebox allows users to create slideshows capturing memories chronologically and to order them on a timeline. Users can also create multiple timelines (for example, of children, businesses or sports clubs).
Everything added is protected by bank-level encryption.
Public and private settings are controlled only by the user and can be turned on or off at any time.
“At the moment our life is stuffed in a whole load of photos that is a clutter of mess sitting in an icloud that we never get around to sorting,” Mr Muir said.
“Or maybe on Facebook, which is a dumping group for lots of things. Otherwise it is in a shoebox at home. We hoard stuff. We even rent storage places to hoard all the crap that we won’t throw out.
“What if you could put things in order, put it on your own secure site to show your life on a timeline? Videos, thoughts at the time, and share it with your family in an easily curatable form.” Mr Muir said that after being soft-launched a year ago the website, known as shoeboxtimeline.com, was still in test mode but already had 30,000 users.
Its second incarnation is now poised to launch a mobile app. “It is really doing the job of your eulogist.
“(When) we die the family rips through all those shoeboxes. Then you hand it over to a family friend or someone else who has two or three days to get your life together.
“They get up and make a speech. That is all you get. That is it. These days there might be a little video at best. But that is it.” Mr Muir, whose family has just made $870 million from the sale of The Good Guys to JB Hi-Fi, said he was not seeking to make money from the Shoebox project.
“I am happy for it to be a social asset people around the world can use. It is a contribution to society. I don’t want to monetise it. Sure I’d like it to cover its costs one day. But I just want to bring it to bear.” Outside his extensive work in the not-for-profit space, Mr Muir is a director of the Essendon Football Club. He also has a stake in the company he founded in 2007, Best Friends Pet Care, alongside private equity outfit Archer Capital. It now has 30 stores.
Best Friends Pet Care offers owners a one-stop shop for all their pet needs including an onsite vet, grooming service and puppy school. Mr Muir is on the board of the company and gives active support to the management.
In setting up the company Mr Muir said he gave significant thought to what other categories of retail had not been “killed”.
“Babies was one, the other was pets. Pets are all about the love, it is great. It is a beautiful thing.
“In the old days, the dog was outside, you threw it a bone, it was chained to the Hills Hoist and that was it. Now the industry is growing, with the domestication of pets. Today the pet is a family member, it has a bed, super premium food and insurance,” he said.
He said the company’s first store, established in Geelong, was still its best. The Australian pet-care industry is estimated to be worth more than $9 billion a year and growing, highlighted by the $410m paid in 2015 by Quadrant Private Equity for VIP Petfoods.Vet and pet-store group Greencross is also listed on the ASX.
Credit: Damon Kitney
(c)News Limited Australia. All rights reserved.Best Friends Pet Care, Philanthropy, Shoebox Timeline, The Australian, The Good Guys