Snapchat Founder and CEO, Evan Spiegel, Talk at Yale

Thanks to an event hosted by the Yale Entrepreneurial Society and Yale Entrepreneur Magazine, Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snapchat came to speak at Yale today.

Here are some of the things I found interesting.

What makes Snapchat different?

Snapchat is part of the conversation to use a photo as a communication tool vs. a documentation tool. Evan gets excited about the conversation to change the nature of what a good photograph is. Example – a fuzzy photo with the caption, “my phone is drunk.” Not a ‘good photo’ that would be found through regular filters, but becomes good with the snap and the chat are combined.

They wanted to go from people taking 1 photo per week to opening their camera 10x per day. How do we do that?

Communication is faster and more common than documentation. They want to continue to look at the camera as an interesting software tool beyond capture.

Is Snapchat the communication tool you use most?

Evan himself uses Snapchat, but text and phone are his top 2 go-to communication tools.

What was an advantage or disadvantage that came up with the company in LA?

With the company based in LA, attracting top talent was a major concern and question for some on the team. It turned out to be a great filter, meaning the early team was mostly self-selecting folks, who were willing to leave their comforts to join a new family in LA, because they fully believed in the vision and wanted to be a part of it. The majority of the team is not originally from LA.

Why doesn’t Snapchat have groups?

1) Wanted people to feel included (i.e. not disincluded).
2) Wants Snapchat to be more representative of how your relationships change. Maybe you’re closer this week vs. last or vice-versa. Not locked into particular groups where you might not be comfortable with some of the people there.

On the question of Founders who fail as CEOs

Building a business is different than having a great idea. Need to work on both of these IF you want to do both jobs.

Fortunate to work with people who believe that making mistakes are a part of becoming a good CEO.

As Founders, set up a system from the beginning to ensure they could make mistakes and couldn’t get kicked out of their company.


The photo above comes from today’s event. Evan is taking an Our Campus Story video (see Oct 17 announcement via the link). Everybody got a little excited.

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