The story of our world is not complete until you add your story.
As Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of this award-winning global media digest and CEO/ReImaginator for 360° Nation, I was delighted to have the opportunity to get better acquainted with Jean McGavin, Founder of History Chip —with a mission to celebrate the stories of all humans and open up the world of human resilience, triumph, and everyday experiences to their readers and storytellers. And because of that, we are very pleased to confirm that History Chip is now one of our select worldwide “special alliances”. Learn more as you enjoy our inspiring Interview below ⤵︎
We’d like to hear about your professional journey before History Chip
Much of my life has been spent as an artist. As a child and well into my 20s I was a dancer. I became a visual artist and received an MFA in theater design. In 2001 I began work on a voice-over production company, Global Voice Systems, which I still own.
Artists are particularly sensitive to the odd little thoughts in our own heads that when given respect are often the most surprisingly creative and interesting points of view. It’s those little interesting voices that too often get squashed or ignored. I know that every single person has those bits of notions, stories, and experiences that are waiting to be recognized and listened to. History Chip is here to welcome those thoughts, stories, and experiences.
Stories create community, enable us to see through the eyes of other people.
Tell us about History Chip and the inspiration behind it.
History Chip is reshaping history by inviting true stories from everyone around the world; actively working to include marginalized voices and groups in their rightful places in history. We invite anyone in the world to add stories to our archive. Our watchword is respect. We respect each human voice. This is my foundational passion.
The stories of the 99% – women, people of color, LGBTQ, the middle class, the poor, indigenous people, people in developing economies, and the disabled – have not been included in history in an appropriately meaningful way. If these segments of our population are not included in history, their contributions, their needs, and their value are left uncounted and unappreciated. At History Chip, we aim to change that. We aim to upend the current equation and make 99% of history about 99% of the world’s people.
Our memories are fallible,
that’s why we want your story to expand the truth of our world. History Chip is your voice, your writing, your story, and an essential part of the majestic history of our world.
Our opportunities are limitless. There are billions of individual storytellers with stories to add to our site. There are millions of universities, historical associations, museums, oral history collections, and libraries around the world that can benefit from partnering with us for important academic research. Sociologists, public policy analysts, anthropologists, historians, and journalists will find our dynamic archive of first-person narratives, of singular importance. Our current challenge is getting the word out to the world that this amazing opportunity, to add stories to a great historical archive and to learn from these stories, exists.
History Chip has three essential and equal pillars: read, write, and search.
Our online archive provides an opportunity for all people to add their voices to history and our search functionality provides readers and researchers the kind of information not previously available. This will revolutionize our understanding of history and of the story of our world.
When an old man dies a library is burned.
~ African proverb
We want to save all of those libraries.
This is an immensely important project and one whose time has come. We have the technology and the passion to make this happen.
What’s unique about your History Chip and who is your ideal audience/participant?
History Chip stands alone in the world of storytelling in that all stories go into our fully searchable historical archive. Stories added to History Chip become a part of the truth-telling by ordinary/extraordinary people that helps to flesh out the story of our time.
When did you launch History Chipe and what’s been your biggest challenge so far?
I launched initially as Story Chip in 2009. I relaunched it as History Chip in 2019, renamed, rebranded, redesigned, and rebuilt. The biggest challenge currently is drawing in early adopters, storytellers, and ordinary folks to tell their stories. We welcome and truly value all stories, big and small. Even the smallest stories – stories about daily life such as food, clothing, school, and jobs are critically important pieces of information that inform our place in the world.
Any noteworthy surprises or ‘A-ha’ Moments along the way?
I wrote a story about the assassination of President Kennedy. I was in grade school at the time of the shooting and had a crystal clear memory of the day. This memory was like a video – that clear. I wrote about a boy in my class, who, in my memory was taken out of school for his own protection after the assassination. I saw this boy 40 years later and recounted my memory. He told me that he wasn’t even in the state that day. My memory was completely false! Our memories are not perfect and the farther we get away from them in time, the more likely they are to be altered. This event made it so clear to me that because our memories are so fallible, we need lots of people sharing their memories in order to have a better shot at the truth. And the truth is paramount.
When I was in grade school in Jim Crow Virginia, our state textbook taught generations of children that the slaves were happy on the plantations. Clearly, no slaves’ stories were included in that book. Without those stories of slaves, that history can not be true. This is why we need everyone’s voices. This is why History Chip is important.
How would you describe your typical day presiding over History Chip?
My typical day is spent working to make the story-telling more user-friendly, continuing to improve the site, implementing new features, and working to get the word out to the world about this exciting project.
What about your impact/outcomes?
History Chip is working to make the stories of everyone part of history. The impact of that is huge. People living ordinary lives – working people, poor people, immigrants, moms – are no less part of history than the rich and famous. In fact, the lives of most of us really are the larger story of our time. Those stories tend to be seen as not important but the needs of most of us are so much more important than the needs of Jeff Bezos or Johnny Depp or Elon Musk. We want to bring those needs, via storytelling, to the table for public policy and our historical record.
Another important point is that we never charge anyone to add a story. We want to remove all the barriers to people adding their stories, their truth, to history.
What’s the next big thing/challenge for History Chip?
History Chip is looking for 10,000 stories in the next year. We are looking to make storytelling easy, fun, important, and infectious – the next big thing.
As an experienced leader and entrepreneur, what’s non-negotiable for you?
It always seems clear that if the people working for a company are unhappy, that company is poorly run. I always work to make sure that people who work for me feel valued and respected. That makes them vested in working hard for my company and our mission.
How can our global audience learn more about History Chip?
historychip.com! Get in there and write your stories.
BONUS QUESTION: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I enjoy swimming butterfly.
Author’s Note: As History Chip is now one of “special alliances”, I took the plunge and published my first story on History Chip —why not follow my lead?