I interviewed Dries Depoorter, a Belgian artist that focuses on themes around privacy, artificial intelligence, surveillance, and social media, and David Surprenant, a Canadian interactive developer, about their smartphone app, Die With Me.
The topics we discussed included:
- How the Die With Me app became reality
- The difficulties they experienced with Apple
- How they didn’t give up and were able to work around the App Store rules
- The work and life experience that influenced Dries’ art
- The Quick Fix machine that allows people to buy likes and followers on Instagram
- Unannounced new features for Die With Me that will be coming out soon
- Observations David and Dries have made about how people use Die With Me
Jon Henshaw”: This is Jon Henshaw with Coywolf, and I am talking with Dries. I’m going to destroy the last name. It looks like Depoorter, but I know it’s not. I’m also talking with David, and I’m going to will destroy his last name too. It looks like Surprenant, but it’s French, which means I completely destroyed that name too, so that’s…
David Surprenant: That’s perfect.
JH: No, it isn’t.
JH: Dries, tell me how to pronounce your last name.
Dries Depoorter: Yeah, actually it’s pronounced, you did a really good job. It’s Dries Depoorter.
JH: It sounds better when you say it. That’s what it I… And David …
DS: Roll your R.
JH: Right, right. Yeah, roll the R. David, how do you pronounce your last name?
JH: Okay. All right. I feel like I was close in my sad English-only speaking way.
DS: I don’t know.
JH: Well, Hey, thanks for joining me. Dries, you’re I think in Belgium, and David, where are you in Canada right now?
DS: In Montreal, near Montreal.
JH: Montreal. Yep. Well, yeah, thanks for being here. What brought us together today was this app that you collaborated on called Die With Me. Before we get into that, I wanted to give a little background. I know a little more about you Dries. And real quick for those who are listening Dries is a Belgium artist that handles themes around privacy, artificial intelligence, surveillance, and social media. He creates interactive installations apps and games with Die With Me being one of those. He’s also a speaker and does freelance concept provider-focused work around digital.
Then, David, I know that you’re a developer. Is there, an obviously an iOS developer because of Die With Me? Are there other things that you do and you work on
DS: I’m also kind of a creative technologist actually.
JH: Oh okay.
DS: I’ve collaborated with Dries with another project that we won an international contest, in collaboration with IDFA DocLab and NFB. Basically, I’m a developer.
JH: Right. You’re a developer, but you get to do really interesting things?
DS: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Before meeting Dries, I worked a lot with mobile and interactivity. I was doing a projection, then a user asked to use their cell phones to play with the projections and play with the art piece actually.
JH: It sounds like you are also an artist in your own right with technology. It sounds like it. No, no?
DS: Yes, I’m more of a technical guy, but yes…ideas but I’m just more technical.
JH: For those listening, the reason for my ignorance on David is because I originally reached out to Dries and he was like, “Hey, why don’t we have David on?” Forgive me for not doing my research.
DS: Not to worry. I don’t have a lot of me posted on the internet actually. I’ve done a lot of projects with other companies, but they’re not online art.
JH: That sounds good.
DS: That’s what I discovered here in Montreal.
JH: How did the two of you I’ll just say find each other, as far as how did you come about collaborating on projects like this?
DD: Oh yeah, do you want me to talk about it or David? Sorry.
DS: Both, but go ahead.
JH: I want one of you, just not as the same time.
DS: Go ahead Dries.
DD: Yeah. I think me and David met each other on a festival in Copenhagen. Was a festival called Trailerpark Festival. We were both part of an exhibition of a music festival. Yeah, we had some days to set up. We didn’t know each other. But then during the festival, we met each other. At the time I had this idea of Die With Me and I talked to David, and then basically we started to work on this idea. That’s like the summary.
DS: It’s a bit like you say Jon at the beginning, he got the idea. He just tell me like this stupid idea and I was like, “Okay, well I need to try it.” I really went to my side. He didn’t really ask me like, “Can you do it?” I just sent it to him one day and he was like, “Wow, okay.”
JH: Oh, you just started working on it?
DS: Yeah, yeah, just like this and I just give it to him and he was, “Okay, wow.” After that we pushed it to a creator. Then Casper is from IDFA DocLab in Amsterdam. This guy was so in love with the project that he invite us to his festival to present that project.
JH: Well, that just kind of happened quickly.
DS: Actually when we present that project at that place, at IDFA DocLab, we discovered that it will be a hit, that for sure that would be a hit. Then we just push, push, push and yeah.
JH: The thing that we would learn from all of this is that, whenever you go to festivals, tell everybody about your crazy ideas?
DS: Yes, but … Yes.
JH: You might meet the right person and it might actually happen.
DD: Yeah, but actually at the time it was a work in process. It was not in the app store and we still, we give it away for the audience, but I was super afraid, this is a new idea that someone will copy it. But luckily it didn’t happen to us for like, I don’t know how many people were there, like 200 people or something. But for us, it was a special moment because we saw people reacting for the first time. We talked for the first time about Die With Me. Yeah, it was nice to see for us.
DS: …because the project was sleeping for seven month actually. We did it in the spring and we were not able to find like, “Oh, we will launch or we will make money with this.” Then we just decide to actually like, “Let’s see what happened when this end.” It was sleeping on my computer for at least seven months until the festival, they came back and ask us to present that project.
JH: David, I’m curious to know, have you done projects like this before, because I know Dries has, and we’re going to get into some of the things that he’s created. I’m just curious to know, was this a new type of thing for you?
DS: Well, no. I already did an interesting website, that was real-time communication, and real-time interactivity, and they won website of the days or those kinds of recognition, but not as big Die With Me. That was my biggest project actually.
JH: Okay. For those who are listening, you might be asking yourself what is Die With Me and what are they talking about since I didn’t describe it yet. I’m going to go ahead and describe it. It is an app that you can get for your Apple phone for iPhone and basically-
DS: And Android.
JH: Oh, it does work for Android too. Okay so-
JH: … for Android and iPhone, and the way it works is when your battery hits 5% and you’re …
DS: Less that 5%.
JH: Less than 5% and you’re going to be close to dying, you can actually open this up and you can chat with basically anybody else who’s using the app who is in the same dire straits as you are. Therefore you can say whatever it is you need to say, and usually, you only have a few minutes to do it before one of you or both of you dies. Dries, how exactly did you come up with that idea?
DD: Okay. Yeah, so actually I was in Copenhagen and actually, I had this idea to make an app that you can only use when you have less than 5% battery. That came to me because I was walking in Copenhagen and I didn’t find my hotel back, and I felt really dependent on technology. I didn’t know, even I didn’t know the name of the hotel. I was totally lost. That was quite inspiring, and then I had this idea like, “Okay, I need to do something with this.” Then I just had the idea, “Okay, an app that you can only use when you have less than 5% battery.”
But I was not sure what the app can do. Is it like a game or something? Then it took me like a few days to, okay, it’s probably the most interesting when it’s in chat app, when you can only use when you have less than 5% battery and chat to other people with the low battery. First was the idea, the low battery and then came the chatroom and then I start explain to David and …
JH: It’s interesting because I’m thinking about the fact that, at heart you’re an artist and you are making things that I assume are meant for people to have certain experiences and to evoke certain things. Even just as you were describing it, and as I’ve thought about it before, it’s kind of along the lines of that last gasp of online connection with somebody, or that last ability to get help from the place that you always depend on before it’s all gone, before you’re completely disconnected from this world that not my generation, but the younger generations have become completely dependent on. Is that what you’re going after?
DD: Oh yeah, and … Yeah. I think it’s quite poetic the app itself. I think a lot of people experience this problem, having a low battery in a difficult situation. That was I think the starting point, and for me it’s important in everything, what I’m doing, it’s an original idea or it’s something new, it’s something fresh. I never saw something in the Apple App Store. At the time I remember I was quite frustrated about people seeing me like, “Okay, there’s already an app for that and everything is already done.”
That was also like a motivation of me to prove that you can come up with new ideas even. Yeah, Die With Me was something else, I guess.
JH: Yeah, and David, you talked about how you did a project before that was this real-time chat. It sounds like this …
DS: What I was doing, it was more real-time heart. For example, you are on the website and then the person on the same website, but you can connect your mobile and do interaction with the website, and the other one will do the same things.
JH: I see. But it does sound like the two of you were a good fit particularly for this project. You had different interests, different technology experience in regards to what people are doing. What was it working together on this?
DS: So, so sorry, can you repeat?
JH: What was it like working together on this project?
DS: It’s a mix of multiple talent. It’s the art vision. Yeah, this vision that Dries has, it’s super important I think and it’s help a lot to create a better product, understand the people. Yeah, [crosstalk 00:12:57] actually helps a lot with the technical.
DD: For me, it was important and never, at the time I never made an app. I normally investigate, put some time and like make … Yeah, put some time in the making it, but I really wanted to do in a good way, because I was hoping for a success. I reached out to David because I know he had had some experience.
DS: Actually that was our third project together.
JH: It was your third project, is that what you said?
JH: What were the first two?
DS: Just after we met at Copenhagen, we worked on a project together, it’s called Cloud Messenger. It was a installation in a museum. It was a cloud where you go inside the cloud, where the participant go inside the cloud. It will speak … You will say a little message, and after this message will go in the space and with the wind of the heart, the message will just take the wind and float on the space and follow the wind.
DS: If you’re under a cloud, if you’re under a message, like you open your cell phone, you see the message around the world, if you’re under one of those message, you can listen to that message [crosstalk 00:14:24]. That’s the only way you can listen to message it’s being under the message.
DD: It used real-time wind data. It was like a virtual, all your message going all over the world based on real-time wind data.
JH: Dries, you said you had never made an app before. Obviously, David you have I remember reading I think it was either on Vice or TechCrunch or something like that, where you talked about how it was actually a little difficult I think working with Apple. They were very, I don’t know … This might be overstating it.
DS: The timing was tight. The timing was tight for the app because of the stories of Apple and their battery.
JH: Oh, [crosstalk 00:15:14] that’s when it happened, you were doing it around that same time because that was about two years ago.
DS: It was an accident actually. It was really not planned and the day we were ready to launch, it came out of the news, Apple with their battery and yeah it was ..
JH: It’s like you’re poking them in the side at the time?
DS: Yeah, yeah. It was just timing.
JH: What kind of grief did they give you?
DS: The thing is, we decided to launch one version of the application early in the process to be sure that, okay, Apple accept our app and we are on the app store and we knew that the next update will, the process of reviewing will be less hard, because the first time you release an application, the reviewing time is super long. It took one month that they opened our app and decided that they wanted it on the app store or not. Yeah, we just released an alpha version and that alpha version get accepted.
When we wanted to release our final, final version for iOs, they started to reject it because they found our application useless.
JH: Oh, so it worked fine. It didn’t necessarily go against their policies in general. They just thought it was a useless app.
DS: Exactly. We were fighting with them like, “Hey guys, a lot of person are waiting for the app. It will work.” We’re like, “A lot of person wants to talk about our app,” and, “No, no, we don’t believe, we don’t believe. No, no. You need to do something else. No, that doesn’t work. That doesn’t work.”
DD: Actually it’s in their guideline 4.2 is the main reason was always minimum functionality.
DD: Yeah, we always got this feedback that actually I have sentences before me, in front of me. The feedback was [inaudible 00:17:21] still limited by the minimal amount of content and features it includes. That was always a feedback that they rejected our app in the Apple app store.
JH: But what they really meant to say was, “Makes us look bad?”
DD: Oh, yeah.
JH: That’s the secret item 4.8.3 makes Apple look bad.
DD: Yeah, but actually at the time, then it was super frustrated me and David were really frustrated about, and they rejected us all the time and we try a lot of different things. At a certain point we tried internet radios, small games inside, to have some functionality, but yeah that already killed a bit the concept. We really wanted to launch this app that you can’t use when you have less than 5% battery. But was a long way for us.
JH: Well, it’s interesting because not that I necessarily want to go down, go off on this tangent, but when you are dealing with a platform that is closed and completely controlled, it’s interesting to me because of the stuff Dries that you do around privacy, and how companies do certain things on the internet. You’re essentially beholden to Apple in particular who likes to control everything, put everything behind the wall, approve all the things and that type of thing.
Here you are this artist who makes these types of things to bring attention to it, and you’re being completely denied by the platform trying to bring attention to. It’s kind of a perfect mix.
DS: Yeah, and also it’s totally the opposite for Android. Android doesn’t ask any questions. You just push your project and it’s live. It’s the community will rate your things and yeah.
JH: Yeah. You definitely have more flexibility with Android and in that world, although I think Google is trying to rein things in there too. I will say, just to be fair, out of all the giant, monopolistic conglomerates, Apple, even though I think it’s probably more from a marketing perspective to differentiate themselves, they are better at privacy. But still at the same time, it’s fascinating to me that based on the timing, other issues with batteries and when you were trying to push this and the fact that you kept on getting denied, because they’re saying, “Oh, this has no utility. It has no use,” that you had to go through that.
I think this is something that plenty other people have had to deal with in some form or fashion. I don’t mean making this specific app for Apple, but I mean, when you have this idea and you create it and you’re excited about it, and it’s actually functioning and then people start putting roadblocks in front of you for whatever reason, because maybe it somehow goes against their own interests. It sounds like you didn’t give up, neither of you gave up and you even tried to find other ways around getting into it by adding another functionality.
What kind of experience and advice would you give people who are listening right now, particularly people who are from an entrepreneurial background, who are trying to make something and they keep on having walls put in front of them as far as not giving up, and how did you deal with that?
DD: I’m not a really good motivation speaker, but actually yeah, I think we didn’t give up. We really believed in the idea. We put so much time already in this and it was super frustrated, but we tried a lot of things and yeah, there’s a lot of artists having the same experience and I reached out to them also like, “Hey, how did you push through?” Surrounded me with all their people and me and David, we heard a lot of stories. We did a little research about how all the process going to, but we just, yeah, we just continue working on this because we believed in it. I don’t know if David have to say something.
DS: Exactly like you and its belief, first believe in your things, always believe in your things is the most, most, most important things in the world and yeah.
JH: I guess just persistence, don’t give up?
DS: Exactly. [crosstalk 00:22:19] Exactly, sure. If you’re sure about your things, for sure it will work for sure. If your motivation is there, if all your energies it’s well-placed, there’s no way to not succeed.
JH: Did you ever doubt yourself though? A lot of times when people are in this situation, they just start to doubt whether this was a good idea.
DS: We passed by this kind of a feeling actually, both of us when we got this rejection, we were like, “Yeah.” Indeed.
JH: What did … what kind of-
DS: [Crosstalk 00:22:52] come back and you need take a little break, two seconds and just, “Okay, let’s go. We can do it. We will find a solution,” and we did.
JH: Is that because you’re both optimists? How did you come to that conclusion together?
DS: We just like try to, like Dries told you just find other functionalities and yeah. We were sure at one point it will work, but …
JH: It sounds like, you just continued to regroup and-
DS: Well, actually what happened is, we just decided that one point, “Okay, we will release our application even if it’s buggy on iOS, this we release. Even if Apple doesn’t accept us anymore, we will release.” That’s what happened, and we went viral automatically.
JH: Well, it also sounds like not just that, but in the most practical terms, you kept on trying to find another way to get in. In other words, don’t accept the rejection, just be like, “Okay. They said it’s this, what can I add that will supposedly give it more use or utility to them?”
JH: Even if that’s not part of your vision.
DD: Actually also I believe really in Apple, they’re not open about how the process going to, the review process. You don’t know if it’s like the same people watch your app, you don’t know.
DS: Yeah, exactly.
DD: And we got accepted like this first version, really baby version. Then we launched it really frustrated, we launched it I think a month later or something, because we get new, our updates were not accepted anymore. But then it got pretty viral, then now, when we’re pushing updates, they were super fast. That was nice to see.
DS: Really, it was one day they just decided to react, to accept finally our application without telling us nothing, our update was now accepted.
JH: You beat them into submission.
JH: They were tired of dealing with you.
DS: Yeah, yeah. We had a version that was set up on the platform that was really to get the Apple analyze. They took this version and they put it live automatically without noticing. They just one day just revert their mind, they accept our product. They have accepted the [inaudible 00:25:27].
JH: What do you think happened? Do you think that pressure from media, like you said you tried to be on, I don’t know some radio or getting people to write about you or whatever it might be? Or do you think that [crosstalk 00:25:45] you got the right person that day to look at it?
DS: No, the number of downloads that we got, we were super viral, our things was going super nuts and [inaudible 00:25:54].
JH: It has use, it has utility, yeah.
DS: Yeah, it works. It works. I think that’s why did decide to revert their things because now they found it was not useless anymore.
JH: Cool. I want to shift the conversation a little bit, just because I want to make sure we cover this. But I’m always really interested in creators. I consider myself a creator. I haven’t done anything awesome like the two of you, but I do like to make things. I like to make things that don’t exist yet. I like to see my ideas become reality. But what’s interesting about what both of you are doing is, it’s not simply making something that you hope a lot of people will just buy and that type of thing.
Most entrepreneurs, they may be passionate about something, but they’re generally making something, so that they can make money off of it and maybe sell it or that type of thing. I know for Dries in particular, just from looking at your background and things that you’ve made, one of the things you made was something else that was really interesting called I think, Quick Fix where people could buy hundreds of likes and followers on Instagram, which is interesting in itself. But I don’t want to go into that. I do want to go into it, but for the second time, I don’t want to go into it.
I want to ask you more about what I’m about to ask you. That is, how did you get into that? What I mean by that is, have you always been an artist and you just happened to have an interest in technology? Or do you have a background in psychology or technology? How did you get to this place, where you were coming up with these ideas and even following through with them?
DD: Actually I have a background in electronics, studied electronics, then I went to an art school and that was a really change, like really different kind of school. I went to an art school and I studied media arts. I was interested in technology. I used a lot of technology in my work, but at the time I was really … Also in my family, I don’t have any … My family doesn’t have any backgrounds in art. I was studying there and I was quite frustrated at the time when I was working, working on stuff.
All my art teachers and they was like, really not dumb to talk about money at the time in my art school. It was a taboo to talk about money in our art school. My parents always, they’re all independent. They have their own companies. I had this background also, and for me it was really, I asked lot to my art teachers like, “How can I make money with this?” That’s why I think … Actually, when I was studying, I was super frustrated about this. Then I start working for an advertising company and that was totally opposite. People always talk about money. How can we make money with this idea, blah, blah, blah?
That was for me really interesting, and I think now where I’m at now, it’s a mix between this. I learned a lot in this advertising agency to make ideas better and to sell them also. It’s like a mix between this art school, media art school and the stuff I learned in the advertising.
JH: That’s really interesting. That’s an interesting background, because what I just heard was all of my influences at least from home, were business oriented and about money and here’s how you do that. But as you progressed in your life and the things that you’re interested in, even though you had that influence, you were really interested in the artistic side of things, the meaning behind certain things.
It’s like somebody being on the inside, and now they have become maybe your worst nightmare or maybe the person who can reveal the most to you, which is, “Hey, by the way, all this stuff you spend all your time on and obsess about and try to make money off of and whatever, this is what it’s really doing for you. This is really what it’s really doing to us.”
JH: Everything that I’ve seen and read about you doing very much has a psychological and sociological impact. It has this way of exposing ourselves. That’s how I feel when I look at the different projects that you’ve done. It’s cool and relevant in that it’s working with something that everybody’s using, particularly around social media. But it always exposes something either embarrassing or ugly, or something that we should really think about.
That actually takes me back to the Quick Fix which is, I can instantly get all these likes and followers on Instagram. Why is that important? Why are you even going out of your way to use this machine that will do this thing, when ultimately, especially the way that you built it, everything’s fake anyways?
DD: Yeah, I build it because actually … On this machine, you can buy likes and followers for Instagram. I can also change it to YouTube views or whatever. But actually I made it, because you can buy everywhere fake likes, fake followers on the internet, but you don’t see it in a physical space. Yeah, it looks like a small vending machine, where you can buy them for a few dollars, you can have 100 likes. You just need to give in your username and then you will get it in second.
JH: Well, the thing though is, what you made the physicality of it, it shows the absurdity of what we’re doing, if that makes any sense. That’s what I mean by the things that you’re creating, they actually work and they’re functional and they are connected to the things that everybody is doing, but it reveals the absurdity in some cases like this one of what we’re doing, like how ridiculous that behavior is when you … That’s what I get from something like the Quick Fix is, “Okay, here’s a machine.
It almost looks like something that would be in a bathroom, at a truck stop in the US that sells condoms.”
DD: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:33:29].
JH: It’s what it looks like.
DD: That was the starting point I would say.
JH: Oh, okay. There you go. Well, you got it. You got it just right.
JH: It’s just like, “Ah, that’s what I’m doing when I use these services online, so I can pretend to make myself look like this, because if I do that, then I’ll whatever, it’ll strip my ego. It’ll somehow make me more popular or accomplish some other goal.” I think that’s really interesting. David, it sounds like you have somewhat similar interests, except for you are more on the side of being able to technically pull these things off, at least with code.
DS: Yes, definitely.
JH: What is your interest? What has pulled you into wanting to work with Dries and doing projects like this?
DS: What is interest me in those kind of project is, the relation with the public, how public will use my works, how they will try to maybe [inaudible 00:34:37] or they will try to destroy, those kinds of things interest me. It’s really like the people with the art, this relation that they have, how they will use it, how they feel about it. That interests me a lot. That’s why I was doing a lot of those, I told you in the beginning of the podcast, this interaction with mobile and projection, that was interest me a lot to see how people will use my product with … How they use it exactly because two people will not use it the same way. It’s always … People can always surprise you and it’s funny.
JH: What have each of you learned about, about technology, about people from doing these projects after you’ve seen how people use them? What’s inspired you? What have you learned from it? What drives you to do the next thing? David, maybe you can go first.
DS: For example, for Die With Me, what surprised me a lot is to see people using this application for first time of their life, like getting as low as 15% for the first time of their life. That surprised me a lot actually to see that people are so connected to their mobile and for the first time of their life, the chance to really disconnect, that was a pleasure for me to change habit of person. That’s also a satisfaction actually.
JH: Yeah, it’s interesting. What about you Dries?
DD: For me I was … We learned actually a lot. I think the thing is that, maybe the most important is what we already told is like, just continue, push through also if you have really difficulties. For me it really surprised me, how many people tried our app and download it, to see how many press we got and we never pushed anything in … I think the app is now more than a year old and we never pushed anything in advertising. For me, it was important that it grows organically. But it took only like one day. But yeah … Yeah, so I think the main thing to keep in mind is that [inaudible 00:37:18] just continue working on it and working hard.
JH: What is or are there any kind of next projects that the two of you are working on together?
DS: We have an update for Die With Me that I’m currently working on. I’m speaking with you, but I’m working, I’m programming.
JH: This very second, you’re actually programming and speaking with me?
DS: Yeah, yeah. I’m working on a tablet actually, and we want to release next weekend.
JH: Oh, wow. That’s a big deal. I didn’t know that was happening.
DS: Yes, yes.
JH: Can you tell me the features or is it all top secret until it comes out?
DS: We can discuss. Yeah, we can maybe tell you about this Dries?
DD: Yeah, go for it. Don’t worry.
JH: It’s like, “Let’s decide live right now.”
DS: Yeah. First we will have a big change. You tried the application, right?
DS: For the moment in the application, you open the app, you choose a username and you chat. You reopen the app, you choose again a username and your chat. Now, you will have your username. You will open the app for the first time and you will have to register your username and it will be yours forever. After that, you will have the opportunity to enter a little bio about yourself. People will also be able to look your bio and also like your person. You will kind of build a reputation actually.
DD: Actually I think we had one interesting update or one of our last updates. It was actually like, now the first update, the first version you only use it when you have less than 5%, but one of our latest update is an update where you pay €5 in the app, around $5, €5, you can pay it in the app and then you can start using it from 10% instead of 5%.
JH: I like that. That’s actually more practical.
DD: Yeah. There was an update and then actually also we do like funny, I don’t know, Facebook posts. For example on Black Friday, we changed the price that day from €1 to €2, so it was double the price of the app on Black Friday.
JH: It sounds like cards … What is it? Why can’t I remember. It’s Cards from Humanity or Cards … Oh, what is it? It’s a crazy game. I think it’s Cards of Humanity or something like that. I’m going to kick myself later because it’s such a well-known thing here. They do crazy things like that, where on Black Friday they were like, “Yeah, it’s three times the cost today just for you.”
JH: Those all sound really good. It sounds like usability updates, things that are more sticky in a way. As in, I can go in and immediately start using it again, and I can potentially even see the same people who were dying on their phone last time.
DS: …after this, we will be able to certify some person.
JH: Oh, cool.
DS: Like gamers, like…
DD: Be verified users.
JH: Before we go, have you had anybody tell you about any interesting experiences they’ve had on the app
DD: Yeah David.
DS: Me, I got one interesting experience actually. At the beginning, beginning, I was chatting on my application just for fun. I really, really was chatting with a girl that I met in Amsterdam. Just by that, I didn’t know it was her, but just the way that she was typing and I was, “I think I know that person,” and I really asked her on the chat, “Are you that person?” She was really that person.
JH: That’s amazing.
DS: It’s really anonymous, it wasn’t her name. It was really funky, but just the style that she was writing things I was, “I’m pretty sure it’s her.” I went to Messenger and I asked her and she just sent me a screenshot about the conversation.
JH: Do you find that the conversations are sped up because you’re at such limited time?
DS: No. People was a lot surprised about how much time they were able to stay on the application and their battery not really not going down, because I really tried to optimize the application because you’re on low battery [inaudible 00:42:15].
JH: Well, I mean, I’m just saying, it seems like you would want to respond quickly. Messaging a lot of times can be asynchronous, because you can just reply at your leisure. In this case you can’t, because both of your phones are dying.
DD: But I think we also see more spelling mistakes in the chatroom. People maybe chat at the same speed, but there’s much more spelling mistakes. What we also see is that people want to know each other. In the chatroom you’re quite anonymous. You don’t know who you’re talking to. They share a lot of Instagram names or Twitter links.
JH: Interesting because of the public forum nature and anonymity part of it, is that at the end of the day, people still want to make a personal connection with somebody?
DS: Yes. But also like with this kind of anonymous things, we realize that people can be racist or can be yeah, it can be racist, super easy, actually.
JH: Very interesting. Hey, thanks for taking the time to tell me about this, and giving me-
DD: No problem.
JH: …a little background about you, and about especially the Die With Me app, which is available now and is getting an update it sounds like in a week, which is exciting. People need to go download it and drain the battery.
DS: Actually you are from the US?
DS: Send me your email, I will include you to the beta version.
JH: Great. Perfect. I will. All right. Hey, thanks so much. I really appreciate it.
DS: Thanks to you Jon.
DD: Thank you Jon.