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  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • ANDREW HORN: Hey, Google.

  • Can you guys hear me?

  • AUDIENCE: Yeah.

  • ANDREW HORN: We're on.

  • Rock and roll.

  • Hi, guys.

  • Welcome.

  • Awesome.

  • So as you can see, we're here to talk about human connection

  • in the digital age.

  • Thank you guys for taking the time to be here.

  • So I want to start by thanking you all, because being

  • at Google, I know that you could be

  • getting a massage for free, lunch for free, haircut

  • for free.

  • A lot of other things, but you're here with me,

  • and that makes me happy.

  • And so what I want to promise you before we dig in today

  • is that we're not just going to talk about human connection.

  • We're actually going to talk about how

  • to connect in a digital age.

  • And so my goal is that you guys walk out of here

  • with tangible techniques that you

  • can use to connect with the people you want

  • and the people that you want to know.

  • How's that sound?

  • AUDIENCE: Good.

  • AUDIENCE: Great.

  • ANDREW HORN: Rock and roll.

  • So you guys, before we dig in, this talk

  • is going to be broken up into three specific sections.

  • So stories about how I was able to take this deep yearning

  • for connections, curiosity about relationships,

  • turn it into this business that has helped 100,000

  • people to give what we think is the most meaningful gift

  • in the world.

  • We're going to talk about stats.

  • How do strong social ties and relationships affect our brains

  • and affect our bodies?

  • And we're going to talk about tangible takeaways.

  • So how we can actually communicate to connect.

  • So those are those three components.

  • And before we start, it's always nice to actually establish,

  • what is human connection?

  • And my favorite definition is this one by Brene Brown.

  • "I define connection as energy that exists between people when

  • they feel seen, and heard, and valued;

  • and when they can give and receive without judgment;

  • and when they derive strength and sustenance

  • from the relationship."

  • A beautiful articulation of that energy

  • that exists between two people when we feel connected.

  • And at Tribute, we've actually broken that down even further.

  • So we've created a construct that

  • can allow people to evaluate the depth of their relationships,

  • that which they have an abundance of, that which

  • they're really seeking.

  • And we call that AVS.

  • So AVS is a mutual feeling of A, appreciation,

  • mutual recognition of the other person.

  • Do you see that person?

  • Do you appreciate who they are?

  • Needs to exist for human connection.

  • Second, vulnerability.

  • Can I be honest with this person?

  • Can I be truthful with this person?

  • Can I be fully myself with this person?

  • Vulnerability is the bridge to connection.

  • Next is support, and support's a beautiful thing.

  • And the way you think about it in human connection

  • is a natural call to support and be supported.

  • And so these are the three components

  • that we can break down when human connection truly exists.

  • An easy way to evaluate your friendships, as well as

  • those new relationships that you're adding depth to.

  • That's our definition of human connection.

  • So we all know that human connection

  • is important to experience, to have fun, to magnify joy.

  • But I also want to introduce you to why we should really

  • care about our social ties, our relationships.

  • And to do that, I'm going to introduce you to a guy

  • named Dr. Robert Waldinger.

  • So Dr. Waldinger did the longest study on happiness

  • in our history.

  • It's a 75-year longitudinal study of 750 people.

  • When they released his research, he gave this famous TED Talk.

  • And also, as I was perusing through the results

  • of that research, there was one statement

  • that they literally highlighted and bolded

  • to emphasize its importance.

  • And that statement was this.

  • "The clearest message we got from this study

  • is that good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

  • Period.

  • Good relationships keep us happier and healthier.

  • Period."

  • So from this research, we can assume

  • that strong social ties, investing in our relationships,

  • is probably the smartest investment we can

  • make in our overall happiness.

  • But it goes beyond just happiness.

  • What about our health?

  • What about our brains?

  • What about our bodies?

  • So recent research also shows, people

  • who have strong social ties, the medical term

  • to connotate relationships, have longer lives, stronger

  • immune systems, literally higher levels of white blood cells

  • to fight off disease, lower levels of stress and anxiety,

  • and they're less likely to dive into bad habits

  • like smoking or drinking.

  • An alarming study I recently ran into said this.

  • Having weak social ties is as harmful to ongoing health

  • as being an alcoholic and twice as harmful as obesity."

  • So again, when we have weak social ties,

  • it's not just a detriment to our happiness.

  • It's a detriment to our health and our mental well-being.

  • So it's something that we need to care about.

  • And so now I want to tell you guys a little bit about how

  • I got into this line of work, how

  • I was able to study human connection,

  • start businesses that are bolstering relationships

  • and gratitude in the world, and started

  • when I was 10 years old.

  • The first job I can remember is selling these books

  • in a back of a room for my mom.

  • My mom's an eight-time published author.

  • She talks about communication, networking, articulating

  • the value of your ideas.

  • So this thread of communicating to connect

  • was something that was ingrained in me at a very young age.

  • And so one of the common threads through my childhood

  • was sports.

  • It was how I connected, playing basketball, football,

  • and lacrosse.

  • Right before I graduated, I was enlightened

  • to the power of adaptive athletics,

  • helping young people with disabilities

  • to unite with their peers through sports.

  • And that inspired me to start dreams

  • for Kids DC, a community that brought kids together

  • to play all these incredible things you see up here.

  • Water skiing, outdoor adventures, hockey, lacrosse.

  • Using sport as a facilitator of human connection.

  • Then I got really interested in tech,

  • and I started to look at bigger problems affecting

  • the people with disabilities in their community.

  • And so we built Ability List, an online platform

  • that allows people with disabilities

  • to share the resources they know about and that they need.

  • So again, building community with an online platform.

  • So this passion for connection, this curiosity

  • about communication took a step up to the next level

  • when I was 27 years old, and it all started with a gift.

  • So my fiance Miki is in the back of the room right now,

  • and on my 27th birthday, she took me out

  • to dinner in Brooklyn where we live.

  • We come back to our apartment, and I'll always

  • remember that I swing the door open, thinking that we're

  • going to have a low-key night.

  • Then there's a silence.

  • And then three, two, one, all these people jump out.

  • She had planned this incredible surprise party.

  • So I'm hanging out with all of our favorite people

  • in the apartment.

  • Halfway through the party, Miki jumps up on a chair

  • and she yells, (YELLING) everyone in the living room!

  • So everyone runs into the living room.

  • She sits me right in the back, and she had

  • rented this projection screen.

  • So she puts it up on the wall.

  • I have no idea what's going on, and I would soon find out.

  • So Miki had taken the time to reach out

  • to 25 of my closest friends and all my family members.

  • She asked each one of them to submit a one-minute video

  • telling me why they love me.

  • Even telling you this, I get goosebumps over my entire body.

  • So as I sat there in the back of the room,

  • these videos started to stream.

  • My best friend in New York calling me his best friend

  • for the first time ever.

  • My brother telling me how grateful

  • he is that we're finally friends again.

  • My mom telling me how proud of me she is.

  • And that was about the moment that--

  • what Alan Watts would call tears of wonder joy started to flow.

  • Not even a cute little cry, but like a big, ugly, like, massive

  • drops coming down.

  • One of those cries.

  • And I did that for the next 20 minutes straight.

  • So I remember when it stopped, the first thought

  • I had in my head was, wow.

  • I just watched my eulogy at 27, which

  • is a much better time to watch your eulogy, in my opinion.

  • So I needed a break, and I walked over to the next room,

  • and I just looked at Miki, and I said,

  • that was the best gift I've ever received.

  • And I said, how did you do it?

  • And she just looks back at me and she says,

  • well, it was terrible.

  • [LAUGHTER]

  • And so she says again, it was hundreds

  • of emails to remind people to submit their videos,

  • collecting files through Dropbox, drive, text message.

  • And last but not least, editing everything together in iMovie.

  • So it took her about 15 hours.

  • It was then and there, I had this innate understanding

  • of the power of this gift.

  • And I realized the only reason more people

  • didn't get it was because of how difficult it was to create.

  • So then and there, Tribute was born.

  • And so Tribute is our website that

  • automates the process of building

  • one of these gratitude-filled video montages.

  • It automates the process of inviting your friends,

  • of collecting videos.

  • And we built the first web-based collaborative video editor

  • to easily put these things together.

  • And it started as a simple mission

  • to share that joy, those tears of wonder joy

  • that I felt in the back of the room with the world.

  • And the last two years have been really fun.

  • So over 50,000 tributes in 40 countries around the world.

  • Yep, that's Regis, checking us out on "The Today Show."

  • That was appearance number two, which was very fun.

  • But most importantly, what we're most excited

  • about is that we feel that we're deeply

  • ingrained in this digital intimacy movement.

  • It's that we are on a mission to leverage

  • the power of video to spread gratitude and human connection

  • in the world.

  • It's, how can we build technology

  • that adds significant value to our users'

  • offline relationships?

  • And we think that this is not only something

  • that we are personally passionate about, but something

  • that is incredibly relevant right now.

  • Because as a society, we are more connected

  • than we have ever been, and we are

  • quantifiably lonelier than we have ever

  • been at the same time.

  • In 1980, AARP ran a study of their entire membership,

  • the Association for Retired Persons.

  • In 1980, the number of people who identified as lonely

  • was 20%.

  • That's a lot.

  • They did that same study in 2010,

  • and the number had doubled to 40%.

  • 40% of their entire membership identifying

  • as lonely, at the same time when they were identifying

  • more connections and more acquaintances

  • than they were in 1980.

  • So next, an even more alarming study

  • talking about in 1985, the "American <