2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

From Stranger to Lover in One Swipe

#sxsw #SXSWDates

As social connection apps and mobile technology evolve, instant gratification is now expected when it comes to new people and information. We’ll tackle the new norms of meeting people via app, diving into the lifecycle of social connection to illustrate how every move matters. We’ll explore a long-term vision for connecting people through new technology – its many opportunities and the limitations of using algorithms to introduce real people.
Questions to be Answered:
With endless social connection products in the market, what are their differences? What can we learn from success and failures existing in the market?
How will social connection products evolve past mobile devices?
What is the social stigma around meeting via device, and how is it changing generationally?
Is social technology making us less personal?
What are the concerns with forging new social connections, and how do they differ between men and women? What can consumers and companies do to protect safety and privacy?



Colin Hodge

Co-Founder & CEO


Colin is a co-founder and the CEO of DOWN. He founded DOWN (formerly Bang With Friends) in January 2013. Previously, Colin founded HeardAboutYou, a dating startup that evolved into Bang With Friends, as well as Cloud 8 Studios, a mobile apps company that published flick+share, a location-based photo sharing app. Colin holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in computer science, where he served as vice president of the local chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery. Colin has been recognized as a world-finalist in staring contests and has received a variety of other imaginary accolades.


Joel Simkhai

Founder & CEO

Grindr LLC

Joel Simkhai is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Grindr LLC, the company behind the highly popular Grindr app and the Blendr app.
Founded in 2009, Grindr is the pioneer and largest all-male meet-up app that uses location-based technologies to bring together a global community of more than 7 million users in 192 countries. Joel’s inspiration for Grindr was simple; he wanted to know who was gay around him but had a hard time figuring it out. He wanted a better way to help guys meet one another, and when smartphones with GPS came out, he knew the time was right. Since its launch, Grindr has become a worldwide sensation and garnered tremendous media and pop culture attention.
In 2013, Joel launched the new version of Grindr and Grindr Xtra, rebuilt from the ground up with heightened functionality and performance including new filters, a revamped aesthetic such as a restyled Grindr logo and modern profile design.
Leveraging his learnings in creating a tremendously engaging user experience on the award-winning and scalable technology platform that has made Grindr a phenomenon the world over, Joel launched Blendr in 2011, a mobile app for everyone to chat with new people, share photos and interests and even date.
Prior to forming Grindr, Joel worked in several different fields, from finance to journalism to a start-up, before creating his own Internet marketing firm in 2003 that was later sold as Grindr gained in popularity.
Joel has presented at leading industry events, including the TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco, SXSW Interactive conference, F.ounders conference, iDate conference, among others.
Born in Tel Aviv, Joel immigrated with his family at the age of three from Israel to New York City. He later attended Tufts University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in a double major of International Relations and Economics. Joel currently resides in Los Angeles.

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