No one pays attention anymore. No matter what you post on social media, it’s like no one hears you. Your own family doesn’t even hear you! You could talk until you’re blue in the face, and they just stay in their own little world.
Kevin Strauss decided to try something different.
He decided to try using technology to make conversations easier.
He created a mobile app with lists of questions, and he got his dad to hop on it with him.
After just a few weeks, he found that his relationship with his dad had gone to a whole new level. They were listening to each other better. The app had accomplished what regular phone calls couldn’t:
A feeling of being heard.
In this week’s YBTV interview, Kevin talks about why we don’t feel heard and what we can do about it.
You’ll learn why 10,000 followers on Instagram won’t make you feel as good as a few good friends. You’ll learn what eating disorders and addictions have to do with disconnection. And you’ll find out how you can use Kevin’s app, called Uchi, to strengthen your relationships with the people you love.
What You’ll Learn
Kevin wasn’t always in the business of bringing people together.
His background was engineering. He loved solving problems and figuring out solutions. Often, all it took was honing in on the root cause of a problem for the solution to present itself.
One day, he saw a father arguing with his teenage daughter. The argument became more and more heated, but it seemed to be going nowhere.
It was sad to see.
Kevin wished he could say to them, “If you would just say how you actually feel, or what you’re really thinking, you would have no argument.”
Why don’t we say how we actually feel?
Why do we fight instead of opening up to one another? What would it take to get us on the same page, so we could feel heard by the people who matter most to us?
Those questions set Kevin on a journey to develop a technology that would help us feel more connected.
The result is Uchi, an app designed around questions and answers.
The Power of Self-Disclosure
If you’ve ever played one of those question-and-answer games, where you’re given a list of questions to answer about yourself and asked to pass it on, then you know how enjoyable it is to share fun facts about yourself and find out things about your friends you never knew.
Uchi makes that question-and-answer process easy by giving you sets of 10 questions on a variety of fun, fascinating, thought-provoking topics, and making it easy to share your answers with your closest friends.
Unlike other social media platforms, Uchi keeps it intimate by limiting you to 50 friends. (UchiTribes are limited to just 10 people, in or out of your network). That’s deliberate.
“It’s great to connect with lots and lots of different people,” Kevin says, but “the human brain can really only manage about 100 to 150 relationships at a time.”
If you’re going to answer personal questions honestly and vulnerably, you don’t want to share your answers with just anyone.
The Power of Your Inner Circle
The word uchi comes from the Japanese for “in group” or “inner circle.”
“The real goal is just to help as many people as possible connect with their loved ones, with the people that they cherish,” Kevin explains.
It’s not about broadcasting yourself to the world. It’s about feeling connected, heard, and valued by a few people.
If you have a few people in your life who truly get you, you don’t need 10,000 followers or strangers liking your comments to feel good about yourself.
But if you don’t have anyone in your life who truly gets you, you could have 100,000 followers and still not feel as if anyone cares.
“If you don’t feel really connected to the people that matter most to you, it hurts,” Kevin says.
The Power of Connection
He’s been studying connection for 20 years, and the research is clear.
When we don’t feel love, connection, and a sense of belonging, we don’t do well.
We find ways to manage the emotional pain of disconnection that aren’t always healthy, like addictions or eating disorders.
What we’re truly craving is connection.
When we feel connected, we’re happier. And the happier we are, the better our behaviors tend to be, because we’re not trying to manage our pain as much.”
That’s easier said than done.
The Power of Vulnerability
Social media seems to provide an avenue for connection, but it’s often superficial and one-way. You share posts about what you’re thinking and feeling, but who is actually reading them?
“There’s a true reciprocity on the Uchi which is unlike any of the other social media apps out there,” Kevin says, “because you could just scroll and scroll and scroll and consume content, but with Uchi you have to contribute in order to consume.”
In order to see how your Uchi friends answered a question, you have to answer that question yourself. And your friends won’t be able to see your answer to a question unless they’ve answered that question themselves.
That means everyone has to get vulnerable. Everyone has to dig deep.
Often, we don’t share our true selves because of fear. We’re worried people will judge us or reject us.
But if your friend has to share her response to a question before she gets to see your response, it’s less likely that she’s going to shame or judge you.
Most of the questions on Uchi are fun and easy. They’re only as deep as you want them to be.
But they’ll help you start listening to each other. They’ll create a safe space where you can share what’s on your mind.
Kevin has a vision of turning Uchi into a movement where we learn to listen to each other better. If we can feel more emotionally connected to the people we love, our world will be a kinder, healthier place.
Are you ready to try out Uchi? Download the Uchi app for free and invite your friends to connect!
Jump to Topics of Interest
2:01 From biomedical engineer to Uchi founder
4:34 Why don’t we feel more socially connected?
6:59 Why it’s so hard to share our real selves
9:31 What happens when we don’t feel connected
11:49 Let’s start listening
16:32 How Uchi helps strengthen relationships
19:17 The Uchi movement
Kevin is the founder and CEO of Uchi, a social app dedicated to helping people connect authentically by making conversations easy and fun. Kevin is an expert problem solver and has earned 75+ patents and 10+ publications in spine, psychology, and human behavior. Uchi is his approach to help reduce conflict and strengthen relationships. Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.