• Adam Conner

Let's Get Phygital: Snack CEO Kim Kaplan with JUV CEO Ziad Ahmed


This is the Authentic Avenue podcast episode featuring Dana Marineau, Chief Marketing Officer of Rakuten, with host Adam Conner.


This is a link you can use to find Authentic Avenue, a marketing podcast hosted by Adam Conner, on Apple Podcasts. Remember to subscribe, rate, and review!

On the menu for today's Authentic Avenue...a Snack. Adam is joined on the podcast by Kim Kaplan, CEO of Snack. Think of Snack like "TikTok Meets Dating."


It's only fitting, then, that I'm also joined by a previous guest who is the best Gen Z expert I know -- Ziad Ahmed, the CEO of JUV Consulting.


(JUV just got into the podcast game, as well! Be sure to check out Just Us Vibing.)


Listen in to here more about what Gen Z desires most from tech-connected, IRL experiences today. Plus, if you've never heard the word phygital before...well, we'll take care of that for you too.


Enjoy! Full transcript below.


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Theme Song: Extreme Energy (Music Today 80) Composed & Produced by Anwar Amr Video Link: https://youtu.be/8ZZbAkKNx7s


TRANSCRIPT BELOW (powered by Descript; accuracy not guaranteed):


Adam Conner: [00:00:00] Kim, Ziad, good to have you both. How are you? Thanks for joining me for this three-person conversation.


Kim Kaplan: [00:00:06] Thanks for having us, Adam.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:00:08] Yeah, so excited to be here, Adam.


Adam Conner: [00:00:10] Now you both are, uh, you know, operating in a world and serving folks a little younger than I, in Gen Z. I love the spirit of Gen Z and of course that's where every brand wants to be right now.

And as way of foundation, I want to learn more directly from you both about your respective founding stories. Now listeners will. That we've had before we've deep dived into June, but they've got a whole lot new going on. And for Kim who's a first timer and we very interesting to hear the world of TikTok meets dating from her perspective.

Kim, let's start with you. Uh, let's go back to the founding. What about the combination of. Social world and dating led you to create a specific type of experience like Snack.


Kim Kaplan: [00:00:55] I actually had spent 10 years in the dating space previously at a company called plenty of fish. And when we matched com acquired us in 2015, and I got to spend three years really working cross different companies, including Tinder and OkCupid and match.com and.

I left about, wow. It's probably about two and a half years ago now, and really had no intention of getting back into the dating space at all. I know it's a really tough space. It's really crowded. Um, but one day I was using TikTok and I came across this woman's profile and she was pointing in these four different directions saying, what's your name?

What's your sign? What's your age where you're from. And I realized that she was trying to use to talk to me. And I had this kind of aha moment of video. First dating was going to be that next wave of day. And that the way that dating had kind of existed for the last 10 or 20 years was ready to be disrupted because TikTok had fundamentally taught people how to create these really compelling 15 and 32nd videos about themselves.

And that really was the missing piece previously. And. Tried my best to actually not get into the dating space. Again, I went out and I asked a bunch of people that I know in the spacing. Okay. Talk me out of this. I'm so bearish of the space, tell me not to do it. And everyone I talked to said, no, like this is actually a good idea.

You have to do it. Uh, so that's really where Snack was born and the idea kicked off from there.


Adam Conner: [00:02:25] I do remember that, uh, that I think it's the same TikTok it was, yeah. As I remembered it was a country song by a guy called chase rice. And it was absolutely right. So what's your name? What's your sign.

What's your drink? And they all, and so at that point it didn't have automatic captioning. So people would just point to the little texts they pull up, I'm aware of this game a little bit. And so, yeah, that was something that I had seen. It was like, oh, That's interesting. And I just didn't frankly know what I thought at the beginning.

And maybe you thought this too was like, shoot, take talk. Might actually just do this themselves, but maybe we'll get into that in a little bit. I'm glad that you had that basis of knowledge though, to see that. I mean, that was one and of course it blew up. Right. I mean, how many videos were made eventually with that?

I don't want to, I don't even have, well, I pull the up real quick and look at it, but how many videos was it? I mean, you probably know.


Kim Kaplan: [00:03:10] At that point in time, there's over 130,000 videos to that one song. And that song has since been taken down. So all those videos aren't there anymore.


Adam Conner: [00:03:18] Really, I didn't even know that part.


Kim Kaplan: [00:03:20] Yeah, but she had also the hashtags single as part of her description.

Right. And so when I looked at the hashtag single there's over 13 billion views of the hashtags. And that's really the moment where it's like, okay, there's something happening here. There's this entire like single talk essentially occurring. And it takes off fundamentally, just isn't built for dating.

When you think about location and how close someone is to you or what the relationship status is, or how do they, like, how do you weed through your comments and your likes? If you create a good video, you're going to get hundreds of thousands of them. And so it was more, the premise of people were trying to use TikTok today.

I know some people successfully have. But it just showed that there's this opportunity to take dating and do something with it. From a video first perspective.


Adam Conner: [00:04:06] I had seen it and then I had seen offshoots of it. And then it started with like other creators would have like these frequent commenters. And then they would like do duets and videos and everyone say, oh, I shipped this.

I shipped that. And then, uh, Ziad, you and I were talking in the prep to this about, um, now quite famous TikToker called Emma Brooks whose boyfriend did this thing and basically was. Featuring all our photos and then be like, wait, I wish I was with her. And then boom, she pops out and it was like this internet breaker.

I mean, how are you seeing this whole side? And first of all, Ziad, before you answer that, let's, let's just get a brief reminder of what you're all about for our listeners who may not have listened to this right before tuning into our newest.

Ziad Ahmed: [00:04:44] Oh, you're so good. Um, I'm Ziad. I am the CEO and founder of truth consulting.

And so basically what I do is I work with clients to help them better understand and empower Gen Z. I am a Gen Z or myself. I am 22. I just graduated from college. Uh, I'm super passionate about understanding social media's impact on society and politics, particularly. That's what I focus my research on, uh, in university.

Um, and spend a lot of my time talking about questions like this, right? Like what are. Saying about human behavior and where Gen Z pushing culture and where Gen Z pushing community and what do we do about it and where do we go from here? And so I certainly agree, right. That there is a massive opportunity on digital platforms right now.

And so far as to create relationships, period, right? Like there are so many opportunities. To DM people and just make friends, right. And to see someone in your, for you page and be like, they're really cute. And you know, maybe I want to, you know, shoot my shot. Right. And I think that's a very human impulse that lots of gen X'ers are feeling every single day.

And so I certainly think this space is right for opportunity and innovation, because I think a lot of us are itching for human connection and itching for new and interesting ways to connect with people that move our hearts and minds and inspire us and make us smile a little. You know, bigger and brighter.

And so, uh, I, I'm excited to be part of this conversation to chat about just that.


Adam Conner: [00:06:10] And I'm so glad you're here because you speak with the community every single day that Kim is looking to attract with Snack. And so I'll say two things first, before we jump in the first is that if you are of that age or community, or want to learn more about this, go download the Snack cap rate and review it, get in there, you know, shoot your shot.

And if you are a podcast listener, which obviously you are, because you're listening to this juve is also an acronym for their newest podcast. Just us vibing, not just across audio platforms, but also across YouTube. They're getting into the video aspect of it, which I personally admire. But thinking about doing this here, but you both are innovating and you're creating these spaces specifically for Gen Z.

And so I want to ask actually, I'll go to the UC out first. Obviously talk to this community and our, our leader of it. What's cheesy looking for when it comes to these tech enabled community experiences. I mean, is there anything specific other than just, we want a space to call our own, um, what are the preferences or what has, what has been the cream that has risen to the top for what makes for a great experience online for this generation?


Ziad Ahmed: [00:07:22] Look, uh, first, thank you, Adam, for the shout out for justice vibing. I appreciate it. Um, and yeah, we're excited about having launched that, you know, last week. Um, but to say about Gen Z, like anything, it is hard because we're not a monolith, right? Gen Z is 2 billion all across, over 2 billion people all across the world.

And so I'm wary of making generalizations. But what I will say is that, you know, in my experience, working with, you know, many thousands of young people, right? You know, rises to the top in terms of digital community, in terms of digital connection, or first and foremost, the word inclusivity comes to mind, right?

I'm not just talking about diversity in terms of making sure that, you know, the brochure looks representative. I'm talking about actually creating infrastructure by which diverse voices, diverse experiences, diverse people can not just survive, but thrive. Running that looks like really intentional engineering that looks like really intentional planning.

It looks like intentional leadership of thinking about how will this space that I'm cultivating actually feel for somebody who comes from a different lived experience, who comes from a different background. And I think the Gen Z is the most diverse generations that are low, especially in the United States context.

And so with more of us, you know, Identifying a new ways, right. That allow more of us to feel like our best selves. What are our ops? What are our physical spaces doing to make more of us feel like we have permission to be ourselves unapologetically. And I think the places and spaces that make us feel like we can be whoever we are.

Right. Um, in, in bold and beautiful ways. Uh, I think our, what is, I think is what is most exciting, right?


Adam Conner: [00:08:55] So those spaces in which you can be as expressive and as broadly expressive as you want is the true key to making sure that all of this and I, yeah, let's not generalize. It's not a monolithic to make sure that everybody is able to find their individual voice in their individual self.

And, and Hey, that's, everybody's authentic journey. Now, let me actually go ahead.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:09:21] No. I mean, and I think also, you know, beyond inclusivity, I think humor plays a big part in Gen Z digital community and like things being funny and entertaining is important. Right. I also think that, you know, being honest and authentic and candid, you know, is a huge part of what Gen Z is looking for because there's so much noise online.

And so I think it's not just like, oh, like if you're inclusive, I think. Make something that works, that it's interesting and that it's funny and relatable. Right. But also make sure that you're not forgetting your values. Right. And, and what it looks like to experience whatever you're putting out there in the world, as somebody who might come from a different experiment perspective.

Um, but I think when you marry all of those things, I think a lot of magic is possible.


Adam Conner: [00:09:57] Now, Kim, let me turn this over to you because you're now hearing this from the source and Hey, I, and maybe as he had to consult for you at some point, I don't know, but like you're now building a community like this to try and attract this wide wide generation.

Uh, infinite, uh, preferences and desires to be their own individuals. And humor. It's funny enough. Ziad has it, as he out of said it would probably be like my, one of my leading edges, if I were to go into a dating app today, because, and maybe this is just stereotypical of like, you know, what, what I see in, in joking TikToks uh, look, I'm not six feet.

I don't have a dog. I don't have a boat. All right. So there are a lot of things that, you know, those typical profiles might not have. I might have that I can't match, but I could do funny. And I could do honest now with this in mind, How are you molding Snack to meet this wide inclusive, expressive desire of Gen Z?


Kim Kaplan: [00:10:53] First, I'll say I absolutely love everything that Ziad said because that very much aligns with, I think a lot of the thoughts we've been having and as we've been building Snack, what we really want at the core of who we are, I think authenticity from day one has been something that. A word and a term and a way of being that we've definitely tried to instill in everyone inside the organization, but also in the people that are joining Snack.

And that I think video allows you to be more authentic than a static image does and show off that humor like you were saying, Adam, and kind of give us a real sense for who you are and show people. Not just the curated version of yourself. That is kind of the, I always say it's like the Kim Kardashian selfie, like Instagram era, where there's this very specific version of who you are that you're willing to put out there versus TikTok is a lot more self deprecating and a lot more humorous, a lot more diverse in terms of the types of content that you see on there.

And it's so wonderful, uh, in terms of what we're doing at Snack. For me, it really comes down to hiring in the culture and ensuring that we have a diverse. And inclusive group of individuals that are working on Snack and that's something that's always been really important to me and that we actually have a more, um, Female identifying group of employees.

And we have in that diversity continues on through our engineering team, which I think is quite rare. And it's something that I'm always mindful of also from an age perspective and making sure that Gen Z is being included in the conversation around what we're building. I mean, I didn't even come up with the name Snack.

I went out to a number of Gen Z's and I said, okay, what would you call the next dating app? And they came to me with the name Snack, and I honestly didn't even know what it meant. And I had to Google it. So it's kind of showing that, well,


Adam Conner: [00:12:40] I can hear Ziad laughing. Why don't you help us with a definition there of the definition you received at that?

Because you know, it's not just something you put in next to your lunch. I I've heard of several interpretations of what define this for us. Give us this new, give us this new name.


Kim Kaplan: [00:12:55] It was really around, is more being the term of like, he's a Snack or she's a Snack. Like they're good looking. And as soon as I heard that, I said, oh, that's really interesting.

And also I talked to the team about the name and we weren't all sold to start with. And then the more we start to see the term being used more naturally, and we're kind of searching for an on TikTok and searching for it. In social context, we realized we could have a lot of fun. And that there's a lot of things you can do with the name Snack, but it still is a term that Gen Z understands, but you talk to other generations and they're like, I thought it was a food app and in some ways that makes it more for Gen Z than it does for other generations.

And it's just been really, even the pretzel logo is something that, um, uh, someone in Gen Z came up with and I'm very cognizant to the fact that I am not agenda. Um, I understand dating and understand what can work for dating. And it's really important that I'm surrounding myself with different perspectives of that generation so that I am building something and that we, as a company are building something that relates to that.

And that is really meant for that generation.


Adam Conner: [00:13:58] Hmm. Ziad, any thoughts on the pretzel? Why would they do that?


Ziad Ahmed: [00:14:02] I'm not exactly sure. Actually, I imagine that it's a Snack that has like, it's kind of like a link. Connecting different pieces together. Like it's interconnected as a Snack itself. So that's what I --

Kim Kaplan: [00:14:18] It's shaped a heart and really, pretzels go so, and pretzels also goes so well with so many different food groups. It's kind of like pretzels are a great pairing. So there's so many different connotations and of course the food puns are endless.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:14:34] Yep. Love it.


Adam Conner: [00:14:36] So, uh, Kim I'll, I'll ask you this next part and then, Ziad, I'll come to you for a comment.

Uh, you obviously have all this rich experience in the dating world, but you've been getting all of this advice on how to build Snack from a social first, at least in my opinion generation. I mean, a lot of this started this whole inspiration started on a social networking app. So as you've come to develop Snack and release, Which elements are, which elements seem more prevalent?

I mean, is this a dating app with social connections or is this mostly a social app that just happens to have this dating component to it?


Kim Kaplan: [00:15:12] When you think about dating apps over the last 10, 20 years, it's been, you upload your five images. You write your paragraph about yourself and you never change it.

It's the static version of who you are, but that's not how people engage with social media. Social is something that you're continually updating and changing and refreshing and showing off kind of what's relevant to you today or yesterday. It's not from five years ago. And that I think to me is the core of what we're doing differently at snap is once you've matched with someone you don't thrown over to different messaging screen does.

Okay. Go figure out what to say to one another. We actually continue to show you your matches in your face. And instead of a like button, there's now a DM box where you can kind of engage their content directly. And you're not having to try to come up with, uh, figuring out who's going to go on a date.

Who's going to ask who on a date first it's, you're engaging with that video that you uploaded of your dog saying, oh my God, that's such a cute dog. What type of dog is it? It's a more natural way of starting the conversation. And when we were talking to Gen Z about how they're currently dating. That's ultimately what they're doing is they would match in Tinder and Bumble.

And then they were saying they immediately moved to snap or Instagram for that kind of covert flirtation through content. And that was a really great nugget that we heard. And so we intentionally built Snack with that social component of mine, but with a dating first approach.


Adam Conner: [00:16:34] Got it. So that you're able to have this sort of all in one experience and you can see.

You know, connect personally with somebody right there where you, where you see the, you don't have to migrate somewhere else. But if you'd like, you can also do that as many times over as matches as you get. I mean, is that, is that basically what you're getting at?


Kim Kaplan: [00:16:50] Yeah. And you shouldn't have to have multiple accounts to try to date somebody it's not normal.

That's not natural. And I think video lends itself more to a natural. Representation of who you are than an image in a written paragraph. So why not kind of continue that natural flirtation on one app versus saying, okay, now that you've mashed, you got to go and experience it, like share that experience on Snapchat.

Instagram knows that you shouldn't have to date over two apps.


Adam Conner: [00:17:18] Right. And Ziad, I want to get your opinion here because no matter where it might be, uh, there is, in my opinion, this constant, I don't want to say friction, but certainly things that don't exactly line up, which is this need. Two or this desire to connect with people personally with something which is net or organically, one to one, especially in a dating context.

And also the ability that tech provides to connect with people at scale, where do those come together for? Um, again, uh, I don't want to generalize it, but like how, how would you have perceived Gen Z to one? Is there one that outweighs the other and how do they marry? Well, I don't want to use that in this context, but like, how do they come together well?


Ziad Ahmed: [00:17:59] It's interesting to see here, here, how you framed the question. Um, because even the notion of one-on-one is maybe something that Gen Z has challenging, right. With more people being polyamorous or openly identifying as poly on their social media words every day. Right. And I think a lot of what Gen Z is all about is, you know, challenging the status quo, right.

And rewrite. Um, the rules are, we don't like them. And I think so much of, you know, what dating historically looks like was really embedded into a hetero patriarchal culture, right? Where there wasn't a lot of room for community oriented or experiential models of what it looked like to build community or connection in a room.

Um, you know, context and I think that's changing. And so, you know, I don't know that it's one over the other. Uh, and so far as what we're looking for in online connection or in person connection, um, because I think for every person it's so individual, and I think so many Johns ears are embracing the fluidity of identity and the fluidity of experience in new and interesting ways every single day.

Um, I think for a lot of young people, like we actually want, right? Like to migrate, to stop chat or Instagram, or like that more casual. Flirtation in that, you know, it's not like, oh, I'm only maybe just interested in this person in a dating context that they're my friend, but like, maybe right. And like I'm posting this for my friends, but then whoever swipes up, you know, that means something it's like, it there's a gamified aspect to it too.

Right. And I think having social and external validation embedded into everything about Jonesy's life, right. Does digital, physical or digital. Is so important to us and those little DMS and those little moments and comments. And when someone is bold enough to comment publicly on your posts, that means something right.

And so for a lot of us, I think we're approaching a really fluid space of phygital where it's like, everything is constantly in and the digital oftentimes leads to really wonderful physical. Opportunities and experiences and, and, and, but one isn't necessarily more or greater than the other. Um, and I think we're learning to be okay with all of that to not know, to not be so certain and to not necessarily be so certain with exactly how we want all of this to look, but to navigate it really natively regardless.


Adam Conner: [00:20:23] Yeah. I, you had said that you had said that after physical and digital, then you said fedora and you sort of just rolled off the tongue. And I was like, oh my God. I was thinking to myself, like, did he say phygital? And he came back to it. I have never heard that word.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:20:34] Oh, yeah. Digital is like, I cannot take credit for the term.

Uh, it's a term that I is being used increasingly to, you know, uh, to talk about Gen Z and to talk about where we're approaching as a society, which is that there isn't a clear separation between the physical and digital. Right that like one sort of seamlessly moves into the other. And I think a lot of adults or older folks have conventionally been really confused by the idea that we have digital friends that we've never met in person.

Are those inherently lesser friendships than not, you know, than those that we've made IRL. I think instead of we're approaching it. You can have just as close as somebody you'd only that digitally, but like in-person interactions to like the consummation of that in some way. Right. And I think that's transits, that's the dating space as well.

Like you can talk to someone for a long time on digital before meeting them IRL. Um, and that relationship can still be really deep because we don't necessarily see the digital as physical as, as separable as I think my parents' generation did. I think one really seamlessly moves into the other and amazing experiences.

Both of these things at once. Hence the phygital world that we're moving towards.


Adam Conner: [00:21:39] I'm going to chew on that for a little bit, because like the closest thing that I can immediately visualize would be like augmented reality experiences where I see the physical world through the lens of something digital, but I'm not necessarily bringing them together.

Um,


Ziad Ahmed: [00:21:55] Even the idea of going to an event and Instagram storing it in real time is a phygital experience. Right. Because you're digitizing the physical in real time. Right. Or the idea of it. The friend that you've made online, like, like playlist live or VidCon in some ways it's like the consummation of a phygital community because so many digital communities are coming together physically.

But the most feedback that you get from people is like, it doesn't feel like we're just meeting them for the first time. He's like, I've known this person my whole life. Right. And this idea that like we're living in a digital world where the separation is not so distinct, like it's not like an in-person in-person event.

Does it include digital components? It does. And almost every case now a good physical event, necessitates social sharing, right online and vice versa. Right? Strong digital community, necessitates in-person convening. And that's just, I think, where we're moving towards


Adam Conner: [00:22:44] Well, when it comes to where we're moving towards, I'm going to come back to you as we close out.

But I'm going to switch back to you Kim for a second, because as somebody who is also looking to embrace a generation, which is using this word that I had never even heard of until right now, I guess that makes me a 29 and older. I am curious about the ways in which you are helping to further these interests.

Now, something that I thought was interesting was earlier this summer tech crunch had put out an article that talked about TikTok's new log-in kit through which a third party app could have their user's credentials, uh, their TikTok credentials be used to log in and share content back and forth. So somebody could share their TikTok videos or content or music or whatever on Snack. Snack is one of those, uh, 14 it had talked about -- in fact, five of those 14 were dating apps.

I want to, I want to get your advice here because you know, on TikTok, you make great content. It stands out. You're funny. It stands out. Does that translate perfectly into a dating profile? I guess essentially what I'm asking. Well, how do you make a video first dating profile? Stand out if chase Rice's music is off of the platform.


Kim Kaplan: [00:23:55] Well, I think TikTok, I would say majority of the videos you create on TikTok would be transferable. I think there's some where you're showing off your friends are theirs. You're not necessarily sharing yourself off in the best light that maybe those ones don't aren't applicable, but for the most part, that humor in that, um, context and content that you'd be creating on TikTok is very transferrable from a dating perspective because.

When you think back to, we're not just five images, we're not just five videos. You can upload 20 videos, a hundred videos. So if some of those videos, are you showing off your car or showing off your singing skills or showing off your pets? That's okay. So to have those, that variety in terms of what you're sharing and essentially port over all of your TikTok videos is absolutely.

Okay. I think as long as you have some videos that are a good representation of who you are, and they're not. None of the objects that you're kind of showing off or your pets and someone they need to see who you are too.

Adam Conner: [00:24:50] Sure. Sure. And so would that extend through to how somebody can truly show their authentic self in this way?

I mean, do you have any advice based on, uh, let's say what you've seen from those who have, you know, use this apple a lot or successfully what makes for the most authentic type of space. Well, I


Kim Kaplan: [00:25:07] think the best videos we've seen are the ones that get high interactions are ones that actually engage and try to almost ask a question of the person who's seeing the video.

So one great example that actually won a matchmaker that I'm friends with came up with was she'd be slicing a loaf of M or tomato with a loaf of bread next to it, and saying, what would you like on your sandwich? And just something as simple as like, how do you create a video? Immediately would elicit a response from someone and kind of give them that jumping off point is always going to be easier.

Then you just kind of posting a static kind of video of you sitting there not saying anything, not doing anything. So whether it's showing off your skills, your, whether that's your cooking skills, your pets, um, The hike. You went on, anything that shows you in the context of what your interests are, I think is a great way for you to then share more about yourself, but also allow that person something to easily be like, oh, I like hiking too.

So I can, I know that hike that they went on or I, you know, what would you want to go on a hike next weekend? What's your favorite hike? So it's giving them the context and the ability to be able to start the conversation from the videos that you're post.


Adam Conner: [00:26:16] Got it. Okay. And this helps too. You know, get in touch with as many potential matches as possible, which is, which is helpful and also showcase your creativity, your interests, and things like that.

Does he, I don't want to come back to you because like I had just left you, where, where are we going? Was the question, or at least the focus I want to talk about the future of what dating may look like. Um, you know, not just given the fact that last year was what it was, but also because this is a new generation.

Own interests. And it's so broad that it's, it's, it's hard for me in ancient, I suppose, to pin this down. But I guess what I really mean to ask is that in this increasingly phygital world, where many of the ways we interact with people are digital. I'm still struggling with the fact that dating we're building relationships sort of in that romantic way are pretty much still done physically.

So. What do you see for the ways in which these digitally connected dating apps can enhance more than just their digital home?


Ziad Ahmed: [00:27:16] Yeah, I mean, I think that, you know, obviously dating has had such an interesting year, um, because of the pandemic and the fact that for a huge part of the pandemic, uh, you know, the only legal and safe way to meet people was digitally.

Right. Um, you couldn't convene and just go to a bar and run into somebody or whatever it was. I think a lot of people have taken, you know, progressively throughout the last decade and digital platforms as a really efficient way to process. Lots of potential. Partners and to pick one or ones that suit them.

Right. Um, and I think for a lot of Gen Z time is at a really high premium because of how busy we are. And so efficiency matters a lot. And if a little bit of swiping can get you what you're looking for, whereas. You know, it can be a lot more laborious that they get dressed up and go somewhere physically.

Like that sounds like a smart way to do it, but I think, yeah, ultimately the goal is I think in almost all cases to meet somebody IRL or that person or persons IRL. Um, and I think that TikToks and Instagram have become a huge part of this ecosystem. So many people. It that I know that I'm friends with, right.

Use TikTok as a way to they scroll. And TechTalk definitely shows you a lot of very cute people on your, for you page because you engage with that content more and that's how the algorithm works. And then you DM people and shoot your shot. And it oftentimes works out right. No many people for whom it has, and then you stay connected to that person via DMS and swipe up on their story, but then eventually, hopefully maybe meet them in person when you're in the same city or whenever it works out or you make plans.

Um, and that's often really, really special. And you kind of feel like you already know them and that you've all sort of skipped into the second. You will. Um, because video of course is more interactive and having been connected with someone on social means that you know who your mutual friends are already, what your mutual interests are already, and it cuts out a lot of that noise and gets you to what you're looking for much quicker.

And so I think as we're approaching more digital experiences, products, and use cases, we're going to see the world becoming a little bit more efficient. And I think Jonesy's game for that because we are so pressed for time. And so. You know, a video first, socially integrated dating ecosystem helps with that significantly.

Um, but certainly I think many of us, um, are not necessarily are not necessarily yet happy with the products that we have access to or the dating scene writ large. Like I said, there's a lot that I think we want to change and a lot of things that we're still challenging. Um, and obviously a lot of things that people are still getting wrong about Gen Z, but I certainly.

We're getting a lot closer and more than zeros are also starting companies of their own and spaces and places of their own. And I think these are all really, this is an exciting time to be alive, right? To see where we go from here and to see how innovation can best empower inclusivity and best in power, all of us, you know, to live our best lives.


Adam Conner: [00:30:02] That's a very rosy optimistic look at things. I mean, Hey, I I'm glad that that that's how it is seen.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:30:08] I don't know that I'd call myself an optimist but I'm --


Adam Conner: [00:30:12] It sounded awfully like it. And I grant though that within the same breath, you said, Hey, look, when people still are pushing to be better pushing to have the experiences for them improve and even stepping into the spotlight themselves to do it yourself included in that list.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:30:27] We're trying. We're trying. We'll see where we go though. I don't know that I'm an optimist. Cautiously pragmatic, I guess. We'll see.


Adam Conner: [00:30:33] Okay. Well, uh, you could be cautious with this last one, but I want to ask you both to complete a sentence and that's how we'll round out today. And by the way, I really appreciate both your perspectives here.

Of course, on authentic avenue, I focus on that, a work that we're being authenticity. And I love to hear either the definitions that people have of that word, because it is. Or specific examples in which they believe people operate at their most authentic. And so that's how I'll end this to say, could you both please complete the sentence specifically?

This blank people are at their most authentic when they blank Ziad, let's start with you. And then let's move to Kim.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:31:15] What came to mind was people are at their most authentic when they admit that they're wrong. Um, I think that vulnerability is like the key to authenticity. Um, and I think relationships are, are empowered, uh, when people are most vulnerable.

And so I think if we're to look for a more authentic dating world, perhaps it's one that is more radically vulnerable.


Adam Conner: [00:31:44] Hmm. Kim, what would you say to that?


Kim Kaplan: [00:31:47] You took my word vulnerable was going to be my word too. Um, yeah, pretty what I have come to mind there. Um, I think honest as well, um, by being honest to yourself, um, and honest with other people, that's where you're your most authentic.

Um, but I vulnerable is absolutely a word that immediately came to mind as you were speaking, Adam.


Adam Conner: [00:32:12] Well, I hope that folks are able to keep that vulnerable self through these fears, digital experiences, whether it be in the lens of documentary, something in between funny or finding a relationship, or maybe a little bit of both, it's always fascinating to learn about what the new things out there are.

And Z out for your everyday expertise there and Kim for your targeted expertise in this dating world, which is changing by the day. And now, by the way, I thank you both so much for your perspectives here for joining me and for this three-part conversation. It's great to get this comprehensive education all in one.

And thank you both very much for doing that.


Ziad Ahmed: [00:32:52] No, thank you so much for having us, my friend.


Kim Kaplan: [00:32:55] Thank you, Adam. It's great to be here.