CEO of Snapchat x The Knowledge Society

Interview with Evan Spiegel at GIPHY

Teenagers meeting one of the biggest entrepreneurs in the world.

Psst… Evan’s on the left.

Wait… What’s The Knowledge Society?

Great question! The Knowledge Society or TKS is a program teaching 13 to 17-year-olds about emerging technologies and how to impact billions in society. It’s because of TKS that we’re able to do insane stuff like this!

Tour of GIPHY

The night started off with a tour of GIPHY’s office, located right between Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Yes, I did get lost finding the building, but that’s beside the point.

Who did it better?

Interview with Evan

Evan Spiegel x TKS!

Greatest Failure

  • In college, he and some of his friends started an app called “Future Freshman”, which would help students with their college applications.
  • They quit their jobs and invested money into it, only to shut it down a few years later when they realized it just wasn’t working.
  • Going to Stanford and being surrounded by friends doing incredible, successful things made failure even harder.

Listen and Learn

  • You learn the most from your doubters! They’re the ones that tell you everything that’s wrong.
  • Use it as a learning experience to better your product. It’s how Evan was able to improve Snapchat to what it is today.

His Mentors

  • Eric Schmidt: the Chairman of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Advisory Board and former CEO of Google
  • Michael Lynton: the Chairman of Snap and former CEO of Sony Entertainment

His North Star

  • Learn how to simplify things and explain something so that anyone can easily understand. It’s how you connect and bring more people along.
  • Follow the Idiot Test! Can even an idiot understand what I’m saying?

The Bigger Issue

  • He’s really passionate about the future of the U.S.
  • Currently, there’s an abundance of baby boomers leading the country and a lack of young leadership. There need to be younger people in positions of leadership that’ll make decisions directly impacting their own future.

A Truth from His Wife

  • Whatever you do, you should always come from love.
  • It’s easy to come from fear and have it define our beliefs. As a result, we don’t recognize human potential because we’re afraid of what we’re capable of.

Snapchat’s Core Values

  • Imperfection > Perfection

Implementing Feedback

Snapchat constantly does this, but obviously, it can’t accept every piece of feedback. For instance, in the past, a lot of users wanted a “send-to-all” button that’d send photos to everyone in their contacts. But the company was worried this would just be another cause of spam. Clearly, they had to think about what would be best for the consumer.

“Get really good at saying no.” — Evan Spiegel

Which is pretty helpful advice, considering how bad I am at saying no.

Final Thoughts

Not gonna lie, I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first time meeting someone as well-known and successful as Evan. Yet, I wouldn’t call myself a “fangirl” — honestly, I deleted Snapchat nearly four years ago. Regardless, I was definitely curious to learn about how his brain works and what he had to say.

Key Takeaways

♦ Evan’s a really chill and personable guy with a strong vision for the future.

A Caltech student who likes to tell stories.