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The FORT with Chris Powers

Mar 22, 2021

Kenneth Schlenker is the Founder of Opal, an app that was created to give control back to the users of screens. Opal uses a VPN to block access to distracting apps in a way that encourages us to think about the 'why' of what we are doing when we mindlessly pick up our phones. 

On this episode, Kenneth explains how Opal works, data on just how addicted we are to our screens, how the scientists hired by social media giants are designing their apps to keep us online as long as possible and much more. Enjoy!

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(03:50) - Kenneth’s Story and Career Leading Up to Opal

(05:45) - What’s the inflection point that people are starting to realize there’s a problem with our addiction to Social Media?

(07:51) - Is there data around how much we don’t know what we’re getting into when we open up social media?

(10:06) - Are we becoming conditioned to pull out our phones on instinct?

(11:32) - What are these scientists you talk about doing that incentivize us to stay on our phones?

Opal on TechCrunch

(13:23) - Well-Timed Notifications

The Social Dilemma 

(19:21) - What data are you seeing with regards to the Zoom'er generation and their usage of social media vs. other age groups?

(22:58) - Was there a moment in time where you felt so convicted that you needed to start Opal?

(25:25) - How does Opal work?

(28:24) - Is there any customer requests you’ve been getting that you didn’t expect?

(30:00) - What was your experience raising a seed round during the pandemic?

(32:27) - How do you think about the incumbents like Facebook who may not be super excited about your entrance?

(34:00) - Is there something you believe that many others don’t?

(35:27) - What’s the best advice you’ve ever received 

(36:06) - What’s the best book you’ve ever read

Indistractable - Nir Eyal

Power of Breath - Swami Saradananda 

(37:31) - How do people grow up differently in French culture vs. American culture?

(40:04) - Which country uses their phones the most?

(41:11) - How can people reach you?

The FORT with Chris Powers is produced by Straight Up Podcasts