The good news is: Heather is fine. (Don't worry: it all ended well!) Thankfully, it turned out to be a very special and intense form of migraine headache that presented exactly like a stroke. But afterwards, questions crowded my mind:
During the seizure, Heather's brain had locked up. She'd found herself utterly unable to dial or compose a text message. That's why she didn't call me -- or anyone else. All she could do was lay there, hoping for help ...
But she could have pressed a button. Ah ha!
She'd had her iPhone with her (she always has her iPhone with her).So she already had a device that could instantly summon her friends and family and neighbors to her aid. It had the capability.
After all, the iPhone knew where Heather was. And other mobile devices out there knew where people willing to help her -- like me, like her friends, even the next door neighbor -- were located at that exact moment. Why, her best friend could have been driving by at that very second ...
The problem was, none of these devices were organized ahead of the emergency! They weren't pre-coordinated to respond in a flash. They were just ... well, sitting there. With all this potential.
Thus was born Guardian Circle.
I realized that what was needed was the flash coordination of resources: the ability to immediately locate everyone willing to help Heather at that very moment, and to allow them to know each other's locations and communicate with each other and Heather immediately -- even if none of them knew each other ahead of time.
The alternative was for Heather to text or call each and every one of them, one at a time, to have the same conversation with each, then put them in contact with each other ... And that was assuming Heather could even type or talk, which she couldn't.
No, we had the technology to solve this problem with a single button click to set everything into motion. Instant connection of all Guardians. Peer-to-peer protection, a personal safety network.
I talked the idea over with Heather, and she instantly loved it. Her eyes went wide at all the uses -- life-threatening emergencies like hers, yes, but also 'lite emergencies' like getting stuck in an airport and having no one home to greet the kids, or feeling scared on a date, or getting a flat tire ... the list went on and on. And then a friend told me about a TED talk he had just seen that described the prevailing lawlessness in much of the developing world, where there are no cops to call, no 9-1-1 ... but where everyone has smartphones, and a willingness to help their neighbor. I realized that what they lacked was the intelligence grid, the 'open source 9-1-1' if you will, that allowed everyone to have a bird's eye view and work together for everyone's mutual safety.
As these conversations and possible uses and new feature ideas flowed and flowed, I realized we had to get an initial version out as quickly as possible, and build on top of that. And that the network of people itself -- the Guardian Circle of friends and neighbors and family and loved ones -- was the core of it all. The trust. The 'ask' of being a Guardian, which is a sacred bond between two people.
So there you have it. Guardian Circle: an app born of Heather's moment of crisis. You could say I made an app just to protect Heather ... but it would be selfish of me not to share it with you also, wouldn't it? And after all: maybe you'll end up as her Guardian and be the one who helps me save her someday! :)
–Mark Jeffrey, Founder & CEO of Guardian Circle
This release is only the beginning -- we have many more features and new ways to protect you coming soon! We truly hope that Guardian Circle will help you and your loved ones stay safe and secure. Download and start your own Guardian Circle as soon as you can.