Gen Z and the future of social apps

Product Hunt Radio

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35:42

Oct. 16, 2018, 9 p.m.

In this episode of Product Hunt Radio, I'm recording from my home in San Francisco to talk to two young entrepreneurs.

Tiffany Zhong interned at Product Hunt while she was still in high school. After she finished school, she worked in venture capital before starting Zebra Intelligence, a startup helping brands and old people like myself better understand Gen Z. She's also an investor with her fund, Pineapple Capital.

Drake Rehfeld is CEO of Splish, a Y Combinator-backed company that's building social apps to make the internet more fun. He formerly worked at Snap, where he was one of the youngest hires, as well as at Team 10. Drake's been a tech entrepreneur since high school when he created a product for school events that made real money.

In this episode we talk about:

  • “What the kids are using these days” and all things Generation Z, including what they're looking for in products and some of the common misconceptions about this younger demographic.
  • The projects that Tiffany, Drake and I started while still in high school, including the story of a OperationLaugh.com, a site I created with the goal of earning $100,000 that netted $70 before I shut it down. (Tiffany and Drake had more success with their high school ventures).
  • “Digital influencers” on Instagram, what Gen Z thinks of them, and why you would start your own. Also — why any of this has anything to do with fake plants.
  • The phenomenon of a “finsta,” the ways that “the kids these days” are reshaping how identity works on the web, and some of the experimental social apps that don't have any of the typical social features like comments, followers or likes.

We of course also talk about some of their favorite products, including the HQ Trivia of music, a tool for creating your very own “digital influencer” and an anonymous app that (surprisingly) brings positive vibes.

We’ll be back next week so be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, Overcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Also, big thanks to our sponsors, Airtable, GE Ventures, Intercom and Stripe for their support. 😸

Quotes from This Episode

“I like calling this [Gen Z] the side hustle generation, because nothing can stop us from building a company, given the internet.” — Tiffany

“I think [online identity] is less about real name versus fake name and more about the persistence of identity.” — Drake

“The future is going to be digital celebrities selling digital merchandise and digital collectibles.” — Tiffany

“You see someone who is 13 or 14 across the world shipping things and you see that and think, I could do that too.” — Tiffany

“You make what you use and there's this wave of products feeling more like toys than full-on utilities. People want toys not tools.” — Drake

Companies and Products Mentioned in This Episode

Facemoji — Emoji your face (via webcam).

IGTV — Long-form vertical videos from Instagram.

IRL — Hang out with friends in real life.

TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) — A creative music video clip maker.

Out of Tune — The HQ trivia of music.

Shots (RIP) — An online selfie-sharing app.

Splish — Live photo filters and animated effects.

Suprize — “Win sick sh*t.”

TBH — The only anonymous app with positive vibes.

Zebra Intelligence — Gen Z, Gen Z, Gen Z.