In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of vertical social media platforms, the father-daughter Rascoff duo was inspired to develop Recon Food, a vertical social media app that brings people together through a shared love of food. They were moved by the many aspects of social media that felt unhealthy, and food was something that brought their own family together during the pandemic.
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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact podcast. This is a really special edition of Impact, because we’ve got with us tonight Spencer Rascoff and his daughter, Sophia. Welcome to Impact.
Sophia Rascoff: Thank you.
Spencer Rascoff: Thank you for having us.
John: Well, we’re going to be talking about your new business venture that you’re doing together. But before we get talking about your new business venture, I love our audience that don’t know you yet to hear a little bit about both of you.
Spencer, why don’t you kick it off and share your amazing and unbelievably successful background.
Spencer: Sure. Thank you. I am a tech founder and entrepreneur. I’ve started nine companies. My first one was a company called Hotwire which is an early online travel company that we sold to Expedia. I then left Expedia to start Zillow and ran Zillow for about a decade. I retired from Zillow about three years ago. Since then, I’ve been starting companies as quickly as I can come up with ideas. We’re going to, of course, talk about the one that I’m working on with Sophia, Recon Food, which we’ll tell you about in a moment. But the other companies I’ve been starting include dot.LA which is a new site that covers LA Tech and Queue which is a streaming discovery service to help you figure out what to watch and many other companies.
John: Are you an investor? Or do you consider yourself a co-founder and helped create the company as well?
Spencer: Both. I’m an investor in about a hundred startups through 75 & Sunny Ventures which is my LA-based venture capital firm. 75 & Sunny Labs starts companies typically with me as co-founder, usually, as chairperson. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. But I also find scaling leverage by investing in other people’s great ideas.
John: Oh, that’s awesome. Sophia, talk a little bit about yourself. How old are you, Sofia? What are you up to right now?
Sophia: I’m seventeen years old. Obviously, entrepreneurship has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve heard about it since I was quite young when my dad was running Zillow and then now with all of his new ventures. It’s been a huge part of my life, really forever. I am incredibly involved in entrepreneurship. First, with my school, actually, I’m one of the leaders of our school’s entrepreneurship organization. We run an incubator program. We host speaker events. We run workshops for students. We have a summer program. I was deeply involved in my school. However, my latest venture and probably my most entrepreneurship e-venture that I’m working on right now is Recon Food which is a social media app for food that I co-founded with my dad. Recon Food was intended to be an escape for social media. It’s the place where social media can be everything it was intended to be where you share fun ideas with friends and share things you’re proud of and achievements without all the stress and negativity and toxicity that comes with social media.
John: Sophia, when you were growing up, obviously, dad is a serial success story. That’s to put it lightly. When did the light bulb go off for you that you said, “You know, dad’s really smart. I love what he does. But I can do this, too.” You got the bug to be the next generation Rascoff in entrepreneurship.
Sophia: I think it’s something that’s always been there. I can’t pinpoint a specific light bulb moment. But ever since I was young, we’ve done tech news at the dinner table or breakfast table where we read news stories and talk about things going on in the business world. I’d say my first venture was probably a perfume company I started with my cousin.
Sophia: [chuckles]. Just wait. We had the genius idea to start a perfume company by mashing up flower petals and mixing them with water. We bought cute little vials online. We had my dad help us start a website. We went to GoDaddy, bought the domain, created a website for ourselves. I think we sold maybe one vial to someone not in our family. The problem with our perfume business was we hadn’t done a very good product testing before selling. We haven’t thought of the fact that flower petals will rot after a few days in a small vial. Yes. It’s important to test your product.
Spencer: Willing to learn.
John: Sofia, [inaudible], how old were you when you did this? How old were you when you did this?
Sophia: Probably seven, I think.
John: There you go. That’s when you caught the bug. You were already in it in. By the way, no mistakes. Those were just lessons you learned along the way.
Spencer: Exactly. But that was definitely fun. Since that, I think it’s something that’s come natural to me where it’s something that I’m interested in. It wasn’t a, “Maybe I’ll decide to do this.” It was something that was so present across lemonade stands and bake sales and also big or small ventures that I started that really caught me.
John: I’ve got your website open here. For our listeners and viewers who want to find Sophia and Spencer’s website, you can go to www.getrecon.app, getrecon.app. Explain when you and your dad had this aha moment to start this business. Whose idea was it to do it together?
Sophia: Well, originally, the idea I would say came from him. But then I definitely transformed it into what it is today. His initial idea was to create a social travel discovery app. He’s worked with TripAdvisor a lot in the past. After all of that, it was very clear and evident that TripAdvisor is the old version of exactly what needs to exist today. But it doesn’t have the social layer. It hasn’t been innovated and brought into the modern world of social media and the new social culture. The initial idea was to create a more social version to help people find restaurants and travel recommendations and hotels. However, during COVID, it was evident that food was something that was becoming very important to our family. We were cooking together every meal every night of the week, baking desserts, probably three or four times a week. It was also something that we noticed spreading online, right? You would find a cool recipe online, make it, share with your friends, share the recipe, post it on social media, whatever it might be. Food was something that was really bringing everyone together during the pandemic. As we started thinking about working on this idea, we were thinking about restaurant discovery of wanting to help people find restaurants. But it felt timelier and more topical to create this platform that was meant to be a home for food as opposed to hotels or whatever else it might be. As the idea kept going, I definitely shifted it more towards the food idea but also the better social media part. Social media is something that’s a huge part of my life, obviously, as a young person in this day and age. But I definitely recognize that it has its problems. I definitely wanted to try to address those with Recon Food.
John: Spencer, talk a little bit about you doing this a lot professionally. But starting a business with your family member – your daughter, your oldest child – is a whole different dynamic. Explain how that worked for you and how it’s working so far.
Spencer: Sure. I have an investment thesis around the verticalization of social media, around the unbundling of social media into vertical categories. I’ve invested in a number of other startups that are vertical social media companies in different categories like fitness and news and pets and other categories. I believe that food is a big enough category that people are passionate enough about that it deserves and will have its own vertical social network just for food. I looked at the idea for Recon Food which helps you reconnect with friends and family over a shared love of food. I looked at it like I would any other startup idea. It passed my test. I think the market size is big enough. There’s enough of a hole in the market for something like this. I think the time is right given how interested everyone is in food and given the challenges and problems that we have with social media. In terms of working with Sophia, it’s been very inspiring to be able to do this with somebody like her. I always look for diversity on founding teams, because diverse viewpoints help build better products. Obviously, Sophia and I are not diverse from each other in a lot of ways, because we live under the same roof. But we’re very diverse in terms of our age difference. Sophia brings a completely different perspective to the category of social media than I bring. She lives in TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, all day every day. She understands what they’re good for and also what their weaknesses are. We’re able to build the product of Recon Food to address the challenges and also opportunities that social media has. As an expert, as a teenager in social media, she’s able to contribute immensely to the business strategy and product strategy of Recon.
John: Are there anybody else involved except the two of you right now?
Spencer: There are. We’ve got ten employees. It’s an entirely remote company. We’ve got software engineers. We’ve got frontend designers. We got PR communication, social media.
Sofia is the CEO. She manages the team. She does code reviews. She does the frontend development. She’s a humble software engineer. She probably won’t boast about her tech cred. But she’s got plenty.
Yes. It’s a team of about ten that works on Recon.
John: Sophia, what’s it like? Obviously, you and dad share the same house, the same last name. How is it? What were your thoughts going into this as partnering with your dad? Where are you now? Is it as you thought it would be? Or is it vastly different? What are some of the challenges you didn’t expect working with, of course, one of your closest family members?
Sophia: I’d say I was really excited to get to work with him. I’ve been involved to some degree in his ventures in the past whether it be just hearing about them at the dinner table and giving my opinions, too. I remember when Zillow was launching their first TV ads, we got to watch them and give an opinion on which one we liked. I helped a little bit in that I [inaudible] with social media in the very early stages. I’ve sort of gotten a taste of what it was like to get to be part of one of these companies. I think the most unique part of the experience for me was with all that, I got to start that at a younger age. I didn’t face the same barriers in trying to find an official role that you might find when you’re looking for something really interesting, however, you’re a student or not a college student, I should say. Going into this, I was very excited. I think it’s definitely lived up to those expectations. Obviously, it’s been challenging. We’ve faced roadblocks and had to work really hard in order to address them and continue keeping the app and the company functioning especially during the up-and-down times of the current news cycle and everything that’s going on in the world. However, it’s been an incredible learning experience for me. I guess to address your question of unexpected difficulties or anything like that, I’d say the biggest roadblock for us has just been my own school schedule just because of the fact that I do go to school. All of our meetings and everything takes place before school or while I’m at school during my lunch break or when I get home at night and have to start homework. That’s probably been the biggest roadblock. But I would say, in that case, living under the same roof has probably helped us more, because we’re able to discuss things in the car ride. Or we’ve gotten a lot of work done at times where other companies wouldn’t function.
John: True. But you’re being very humble in terms of what you’re dealing with as a young person in this inundated, information-laden world. You’re seventeen. Boys and girls like to be together. You have a social schedule. You’re also at one of the best high schools in all of LA. You’re also trying to get into a great college. You’ve got a lot of the pressures. How do you juggle it all? When you go to bed at night right now, what’s your greatest greatest problem that keeps you up at night with regards to the business that you think that you’ve got to overcome?
Sophia: I think I’ve been able to manage everything and keep working on it just because I’m so passionate about it. Obviously, it’s an incredibly important issue. I love the fact that I feel like we’ve grown more to address not only the “I think we should have a social media app where you can post pictures of food.” That was definitely the initial idea. But is shifted so much. The thing that we really hit on with a lot of people has been addressing this issue of social media and it being stale and toxic and stressful and not a good place. I think that’s what really keeps me going on. It is knowing that this is an important issue that we’ve heard resonates with a lot of people and being able to feel that I’m, at least, trying to impact that greater issue in any way I can. The biggest challenge we faced with Recon Food has probably been trying to expand the product to new users. We’ve actually faced unfortunate roadblocks about why people are enjoying it. Because one thing we’ve actually heard from a few users has been they don’t want to share the product with friends, because the validation they receive on the app feels so much better coming from random strangers that they don’t know. We’ve created such a strong community on the app that people are making friends there and feeling supported. They feel like if they have more friends that they do know on the app, it would almost be like they were obligated to say, “That looks great,” or give them feedback or kudos. I’d say we’ve run into a few issues regarding user growth especially spreading by word of mouth. But we’re doing some things to try to address those.
John: This is for both of you, Spencer and Sophia. The entrepreneurial journey has an arc. Where are you in the journey now? If this was a baseball game, are you in the top of the first? Or are you in the bottom of the second or at the top of the fourth? Where are you in the journey as opposed to where your vision was when you started it together? And where do you want to be by now? Where do you want to go in the future?
Spencer: The product is pretty well built out, maybe the sixth inning in terms of the product vision and product strategy. It uses computer vision and connects to your camera roll to pull out every photo you’ve ever taken of food on your camera. It plots it on a map. It’s an incredibly fun way to walk down memory lane and remember great meals that you’ve had. It lets you follow different people and get inspiration. It lets you post recipes. It has video. We’re getting ready to launch Android right now. We’re only on iPhones. The product is basically there. But as Sophia says, every startup has the challenge of user growth and of finding product-market fit and then building some sort of virality or word of mouth especially products that don’t have ad budgets. We haven’t done paid advertising or paid media for Recon Food. Although the product is very robust, we’re still looking for these breakout ways to grow audience, grow usage, and drive additional growth and virality which is difficult for a consumer app in a very crowded marketplace
John: Sophia, what do you think? Where are you?
Sophia: I was going to say a bit earlier in regard to overall. However, I do agree that the product is definitely almost there. We built out a lot of our dream feature where at the very beginning, we were talking and saying, “That’d be so cool.” We’ve gotten to a lot of those places. We’ve added collections where you can save highlights on your feed. One of my big features that I was waiting for and that we have is the map being able to see all of the restaurants that you’ve ever been to and everyone else’s. So we built out a lot of the things that we were really excited about. Product is definitely almost there. But I was going to say probably second inning on where we want to be with user growth. We found the target audience. It’s hard to explain. But it’s the people who enjoy food but aren’t professional chefs but don’t post their food on social media either because social media makes them stressed out or they think it’s weird to post food on social media– not weird, but it sometimes feels awkward to. We found the people that it resonates with. It’s just about trying to spread the name and spread the idea out so that we hit more of those people.
Spencer: It’s very validating though when you have a new product, and you get user feedback that encourages entrepreneurs in what is a difficult journey. The other day, for example, we heard from a user that said, “When I use Instagram for five minutes, I feel crappy. I feel bad about myself. It stresses me out. I’m reminded of all these issues in the world because of all the negativity and challenges and news media that has infiltrated traditional social media. Then I also have all these people who I follow that I’m sort of friends with, but they’re living their best lives. I feel inferior.” We know this inherently. Everyone who uses social media knows this. Research that has leaked out of Facebook and Instagram has shown that even they know this. This user went on to say, “But when I use Recon Food, I feel great. I feel happy. I’m looking at pretty pictures of food. I don’t feel the stress that I feel on regular social media. I feel inspired to post my mediocre cooking. Because you know what? It’s the best that I can do. I don’t feel like I don’t have to be perfect. Do I have to live a perfect life on Instagram?” That’s validating. Then we see the validation in other categories like Strava for running where you post your run on Strava or AllTrails for hiking or these other vertical social networks like in sports and in health and wellness or Peloton or Fitbit where there are vertical communities in these other categories. All the signs point to the [crosstalk]–
John: Your work.
Spencer: — yes, that there should be a very large vertical social network for food. We’re off to a great start. The company’s less than one year old. We have a very dedicated user base and a very solid feature set. Now, it’s time to grow.
John: Well, everything that you both just said about who you want your target audience to be is somebody like me then. Literally, everything you just said is exactly why I don’t use any of those other social media platforms. But I love food. I love trying new restaurants and stuff. I love the idea. Is this also for someone who travels and goes to a city? I just came back. Last week, I was in London, in Ireland. I had colleagues with me. I wanted to host them and show them a nice time. But again, I want more than just the concierge’s recommendation, because that’s just one person. I’d love others to assist. Is this for someone like me who does that kind of stuff as well?
Sophia: Absolutely. That’s why I love the map feature. You can scroll to that city. You can see on this map where every location is. You can see essentially the reviews of everyone who’s posted from there. Another great thing about Recon Food is that we have pictures. There’re pictures of lots of menus, lots of dishes. You can actually get fish recommendations as well which I personally love. The other thing that we decided to do when creating the app to try to make it a less potentially toxic space was instead of rating by stars or by decimal points – a star system – everything is really rated by smiley faces. When you click on a restaurant, you can see that it has twelve smiley faces. You can see every one of those posts and what that person had or what they posted or if they posted a picture of the restaurant’s interior or landscaping. It’s great for restaurant discovery as well. What you said about you feeling like you really related to and agreed with what I was talking about, what we were talking about, that’s something that I’ve experienced with so many people not talking about it. When I speak on social media at large, not just in the context of Recon Food, when I say, “Social media make people feel bad about themselves sometimes,” the response I often get is, “That’s not just me.” I’ve had this conversation maybe two days ago with someone when I was talking about how social media is so stressing and so toxic and not a fun, happy place. The person literally responds to me by saying, “I felt that way. I thought that that was just my perception of it.” It’s such a universal feeling that everyone feels a little bit upset about social media all the time. When you open it, it’s not fun and happy. It’s stressful. At least, at the very best, in my opinion, it’s neutral. I’ll be clicking through people’s stories just trying to get to the end of it. That’s not what it was intended to be. That’s not what it should be. That’s something that we really wanted to try to address.
John: Honestly. I agree with both of you. I think my life has improved since I stayed off of it. But to your dad’s point about the trend that he’s been tracking and having success investing in in the verticalization of social media, I totally agree with that, because just look at the verticalization of just, for instance, television and media.
John: It’s the same thing. When we were kids growing up, there were only four of five channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and a local. Now, a television show could be produced and put on any channel even one that we’ve never heard of. We’re going to go there and find it up as its destination for the product. Same thing as your dad said with Strava and Fitbit and all the other great other verticals. I think you’re just killing it in a vertical that needs to be handled on its own and like you said, isolate it from all that other noise and drama and angst that comes with social media. Making it a happy spot I think is just wonderful. Food is such a wonderful happy topic when handled the right way. I think you, guys, are onto something big. Sophia, I have to tell you this. My children who are behind me here have worked with my wife and me for years in various capacities in our businesses. They are now both on their own doing their thing as lawyers. But you have a mom in your house. You have two siblings. How have they reacted to you and dad having this as a you-and-dad thing? How’s that going?
Sophia: Well, it definitely–
Spencer: Very insightful questions, John. You’re clearly a parent.
Sophia: I think that’s really been a bit of a whole family thing. [inaudible] at the start, when we were talking about the idea initially, I mean, from everything, from the logo and the name all the way to what the product should actually be like, we definitely brought it to the dinner table and all discussed.
John: That’s awesome.
Sophia: I think actually my brother had a thing with my dad first before we started Recon Food which maybe, I guess, this was me– it wasn’t. But maybe this is me reacting to that. They have a very successful podcast together where they discussed business questions that my brother asks or discuss topics called “Dad, I have a question” which I’ll plug here for him.
John: Oh, I love it.
Sophia: Very popular [crosstalk]–
John: How old is your brother? What’s his name? Let’s give him a plug.
Sophia: He is thirteen years old. His name is Luke. In their podcast, he asked my dad a business question or a question about a business topic. My dad answers. Luke summarizes it for kids. It’s great for the family, great for kids, great for parents, too.
John: I love it. That’s awesome. I love it.
Sophia: It’s definitely something that the whole family has been involved in Recon Food and also just the fact that we have other things. The plan for that summer before COVID struck was to start a family business, I believe to do a drop shipping business or something like that.
Spencer: That’s true. I actually forgot that. We were going to build any type of business on Shopify, an e-commerce business, direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, because I thought that would be a great way to teach everybody – all five of us – to learn about web development, about digital advertising, about social media, about e-commerce, logistics. Let’s sell anything on the web through the Shopify website. But then COVID happened. We started cooking a lot more. We’re stuck in the house for about a year. Instead, we built Recon Food. But I’m glad that we did.
John: That’s incredible. Sophia, you know what? I have a large listener base in the United States and around the world that are young people that want to be you, that want to be your dad, that want to be entrepreneurs, and also make an impact and make a difference. What advice from what you’ve learned growing up in your father’s entrepreneurial household and also from starting Recon Food would you share with some of our teenage listeners out there about being an entrepreneur?
Sophia: I think the most important thing that I’ve learned from when I was young with my dad and also from starting Recon Food and everything I do with my school activities and all that is just to be passionate about whatever you’re working on. He talks about it, my dad, in terms of founder-product fit or founder-market fit where there’s no great idea or great founder. There’s only a great founder for a great idea. It has to be something that you wake up every day wanting to solve and fix and address whatever you’re working on. I definitely feel that with Recon Food. It’s something that I’m so passionate about. That’s why I’ve kept going and kept pushing and kept working on this, because I truly believe in the mission. I know that it’s larger than the app that we’ve created. It’s this incredibly important topic that we need to address as a society. I feel like I’m doing my part in that. As far as how it’s pertinent and relevant to my life, social media is so deeply ingrained in our society and culture. We all know it’s a problem. But the solution to me isn’t just to get off of social media. It’s to remodel it and restructure it to be the powerful tool that it can be. It’s a great space to share what you’re proud of with friends, connect with family from across the country, and reconnect with old friends and family, too. It’s such a powerful tool that can be used for such good. I like the idea that we are creating a space where you get the benefits of social media without the downside. When I open my phone every morning, I open social media, and I’m immediately reminded of exactly what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to fix.
John: That’s awesome. That is really incredible. Spencer, for you, obviously, with the success that you have in your wake and ongoing success in the other ventures you’ve now started or invested in, what lesson do you want the next generation of entrepreneurs to hear that you wish you had heard when you were twenty or eighteen or seventeen or twenty-five?
Spencer: Startups are hard. Most of them fail. That’s the hard news that founders should hear and [inaudible].
Sophia’s absolutely right that given that, you have to be incredibly passionate about the problem that you’re solving. You have to have some connectivity to it, some personal connection to it, or else, you won’t have the commitment necessary to succeed and to power through. It’s also important for founders to understand that failure is okay and that you learn from failure. I think people tend to overstate risk. I hear from people a lot of the time, “I don’t want to go to startup. I have this idea, but I can’t pursue it. Because what if it fails?” Most people have some sort of a safety net that they can fall back on. They can likely, especially in a good economy, still go get that job back. They can fall back on their education or their degree. I think it’s important for people to be realistic and not overstate what risk they’re taking when they do startups, when they pursue something entrepreneurial.
John: Sophia, outside of dad and your family members, who would be your greatest role model in business that inspires you every day?
Sophia: Okay. This is a question that I’ve thought about, because I thought about it and didn’t come up with an answer.
John: That’s fair.
Sophia: I was looking at it through the context of– I was thinking like, “Who do I want to be when I grow up?” I was trying to find a female entrepreneur founder who was the CEO of one of the top, whatever, maybe twenty companies in the world. I couldn’t find one in my brief research. However, with my school project, I’ve been able to work with some really amazing people who were involved in my school or attended my school. They’ve definitely been very inspiring to me. I’ve worked a lot with Karen Ortman who’s a venture capitalist at a firm here in Los Angeles. I’ve worked a lot with Natasha Case who is a founder of Coolhaus Ice Cream which is a very trendy ice cream brand. Through working with them, I’ve seen their passion for everything that they worked on. When they came back to speak at the school about their entrepreneurial ventures and everything they’re working on, it’s clear that they are so passionate about what they do. That’s really inspiring to me.
John: That’s great. For listeners and viewers who just joined us, we’ve got Spencer and Sophia Rascoff with us that. They’re the founders of Recon Food. You can find their great app and download it right now on Apple products, soon to be on Android at www.genrecon.app, getrecon.app. Sophia and Spencer, what’s next for Recon Food?
Sophia: Over the summer, we’re going to be doing a lot of work to try to expand our user base and grow to even more people who feel connected with the app and feel like it fills a need for them. We’re looking at doing some social media work to try to expand on there, obviously, pertinent to the subject as well and whatever other marketing tactics and ideas we come up with as well as trying to strengthen our user base that’s currently on the app through more community challenges. We’ve done a few of those in the past where we challenge the community to cook something with potatoes or make chocolate chip cookies for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Things like that really bring the community together, because you see everyone with their own take on whatever the challenge or topic is. There’s a little prize. It really strengthens community. We want to do some more of that.
Spencer: We’ll be expanding to Android as well. Right now, you can find Recon Food in the iOS app store on your iPhone but soon on Android.
John: What’s the dog’s name? That’s what we want to know.
Sophia: We have two dogs. One’s named Phyto. One is Ginger.
John: I fell [?] at Ginger. That’s awesome [?]. What kind of dogs?
Sophia: They’re both Havanese.
John: Got it. Got it. Spencer, go back to what you were sharing earlier with a hundred investments, and you’re still co-founder of a bunch of them, and you’ve had so many huge successes with Zillow and Hotwire and dot.LA now. How do you split your day in terms of working with Sophia on this very important and great venture but also managing your capital investments in those other ventures as well?
Spencer: It’s hard. It’s complicated. I’d say very busy. The unifying theme of what I’m doing at this stage of my career in my late forties is I’m teaching – I’m teaching; I’m mentoring; I’m coaching – whether it is co-founders with whom I’m starting companies, whether it is companies that I’m investing in or companies whose Boards I sit on or students that I teach in my classes. I teach two classes at Harvard on startups. I’ve got two podcasts. All of these things are forms of teaching, no longer on the fields. Startups and entrepreneurship is a full-time job. It requires you to suit up every day and get on the field. It’s very hard. The bruises and beatings that you get on that field every single day, they take a lot out of you. I’m now very content to be in the coaching box up top rather than on the field. The way I balance it all is I work with great people. Behind every successful person, there’s a team. That’s truer in entrepreneurship and startups than anywhere else. For each of these endeavors, whether it be investing or any of these startups that I have co-founded, I have great partners and teammates including Sophia on Recon Food.
John: You said something earlier that it doesn’t get played well in the media, if at all. You should have diversity. Diversity has been framed by the media as we all know with either just sexual diversity in terms of male/female and maybe race. That’s about it. But the diversity you said doesn’t get any coverage in terms of generational diversity. One of the things that I love about what I try to do is I have partners that are in their eighties. My partners in my last investment were guys that were nineteen and now, twenty-five. But it’s fascinating to have almost literally every decade covered in terms of friends, relationships, and other things, because you can learn so much. It’s that kind of diversity that you can’t buy. You can learn so much from almost every decade of the life of people who have experience. My mentor and business partner who’s in his eighties, his experiences are amazing. He’s helped me so much. But so are the young guys who are – like you said about Sofia – in the middle of TikTok and all these other newfangled technologies. Is that something you also try to strive in terms of your diversity about your investments and also the people that you’re betting on?
Spencer: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I’ve seen it firsthand at Zillow. There were a lot of product decisions that were made better by having people stretching across generations. People have different perspectives. They have different life experiences. They are more native to different platforms based on when they grew up and what their experiences have been. There’s no question that diversity of all types – diversity of thought, opinion, race, gender, age, socioeconomic status – drives better business outcomes. I actually think that those that care about diversity, equity, inclusion – Sophia and I are very much in that category – I feel that they sometimes overly focus on the moral arguments in favor of diversity rather than also highlighting the business case for diversity. There’s a very strong business case. There’s plenty of research in academia to support that there are better business results coming from diverse teams, leadership teams, and business and product teams than non-diverse groups of people.
John: Sophia, I’m going to give you the last word here. How could our audience get involved with the Recon app? What do you recommend for them to do and how to get involved in your community?
Sophia: If you’re interested in getting involved in Recon Food and becoming part of our food community, you can go to the iOS App Store and search Recon Food. Hopefully soon, you can find us on Android as well. We’ll let you know if you want to follow along on our journey. But you can’t download the app yet. You can follow us on Instagram, @reconfood. Or you can follow me on Instagram, @sophiarascoff or my dad, @spencerrascoff. We’ll be sure to keep everyone posted with our new developments and our latest features.
John: Sophia, I know this. I’m going to be able to brag to my wife and children that I interviewed you at some point. Because when we see you on Bloomberg or MSNBC or CNBC getting interviewed, I’m going to say, “She was on the Impact podcast at one point.” I know you’re going to be a big success like your pops. I really thank you both for your time today.
Spencer and Sophia Rascoff, thank you for being on the Impact podcast. Continue your success. I hope to have you both back on one day as your Get Recon App continues to grow.
Sophia: Thank you so much.
Spencer: Thank you.
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