What if social apps were actually social?

How I turned the biggest struggle of my life into Squad: the best way to hang out with friends while in your favorite apps

📌 Why this focus on social connection?

There’s a very real problem with loneliness caused by today’s most popular forms of social media. My passion for building a better way stems from my own lifelong struggle with loneliness, connection, and belonging.

Baja California, Mexico

😥 The worldwide epidemic of loneliness

People of all ages — including teens and college students who seem popular and connected — are reporting that they lack strong, meaningful relationships.

🤦🏼‍♀️ Ironically “social” networks are designed as solo experiences

You scroll through feeds alone, inevitably comparing yourself to the highlight reel of your so-called friends’ lives.

👯‍♀️ We all need a squad to hang with

Whether we like it or not, screens are part of the problem — and — screens are here to stay. Our devices have become extensions of ourselves — augmenting, enhancing and capturing our lives.

⚠️ The struggle is all too real

I didn’t pick this problem. It picked me.

Christmas 1993 (left to right): stepdad Oswaldo, brother Jonathan, sister Trish, me, Mom
  • One of my earliest memories is watching my neighbor’s mom get beat up by her boyfriend / pimp. I’ll never forget the sound her head made — thud! — as it hit the concrete step outside.
  • I met my dad when I was 8, and then he died from cancer while I was in college.
  • My stepdad, pictured above, was a former gang leader. Living with him was terrifying. He was sentenced to life in prison for truly monstrous crimes when I was 13.
  • My stepmom abruptly left my dad when I was 14 — I didn’t even get a goodbye after all the years we spent together.

🔥 The desire for connection fuels my life’s work

I experienced a lot of physical and psychological abandonment as a kid so it’s probably not a big surprise that amidst all the financial and relational struggles I often found it difficult to know where I belonged.

My weird and wonderful friends (Burning Man 2018)

📈 Started from the bottom now we here

We’re hardwired to pay special attention to the bad stuff that can harm us in an effort to keep us safe — which is why, like everybody else, I have very vivid memories of my experiences of isolation, loss and rejection.



Product at Twitter. Life story: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Optimist. Technologist. Wearer of many hats.

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Esther Crawford

Product at Twitter. Life story: “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Optimist. Technologist. Wearer of many hats.