DKC Connect’s Top Disrupt NY 2016 Moments

By Dana Bakich (@dbakich17) and Dixie Roberts (@dixieinnewyork)

As Senior Digital Strategists at DKC Connect, we’re always looking for the next big thing in cutting edge technology and insight to share with our colleagues and clients, as well as to maintain our own personal development when it comes to the constantly evolving digital landscape.

Wrapped up in a three-day event, TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY conference provided just that. Disrupt NY showcased up-and-coming startups, as well as seasoned “disrupters” speaking about their paths, pitfalls and platform innovations (say that three times fast!) Below are a few of our favorite, stand-out moments from Disrupt NY 2016.


  1.    Building an Obsessive Audience with Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin (theSkimm)

For huge fans of TheSkimm, it was exciting to hear first-hand how these two savvy co-CEOs devise their magic formula for audience building. Some quick, mind-blowing stats:

  1. Their email open rate is 40% (dreamy)
  2. Their own version of brand ambassadors, “Skimm-bassadors” are responsible for 19% of their user growth.

Both of these bullets speak highly to the commitment TheSkimm has to not just acquiring new fans, but keeping them, a mantra that can be translated to any brand.

Weisberg & Zakin also spoke of transparency in advertising, which is a hot topic for any social marketer. They practice total transparency in their advertising strategy, basically telling their fans, “we need to make money somehow.” This, paired with carefully curated advertising partners has proven very successful for them. #SkimmOn

Full interview here


  1.    Checking in with Dennis Crowley and Jeff Glueck (Foursquare)

It’s been enlightening to watch Foursquare grow and evolve with the ever changing social landscape. An app that was once used primarily for “checking in” to various locations, competing for “mayor” of your favorite neighborhood bar and bringing to the headlines the true “gamification” of checking-in, has expanded into a data goldmine, ripe for leverage by brands.

Crowley and Glueck expanded on the use of this data (105 million places around the world have been crowdsourced) not just externally but internally, highlighting the fact that Foursquare now uses your check-in data to make better, smarter recommendations, aspiring to be a must-have for users looking for the best sushi restaurant, gym, etc. In regards to external leverage, Crowley noted that Foursquare offered advertising assistance for ⅓ of all Fortune 500 brands!

While digital advertising and data mining contribute to major sales victories for many brands, Glueck and Crowley say that 93% of sales are still happening on the ground and, “unfortunately there’s no cookie for the real world.” Excuse me while I look up “best cookies in NYC” on Foursquare. I’m feeling inspired…

Full interview here


  1. Sallie Krawcheck (Ellevest) Talks on the Investing Gender Gap

It’s not unusual to hear conversation around equal pay for women, but what about investing? There seems to be a myth that women aren’t interested in exploring investing activities. Known as one of the most senior women on Wall Street, Krawcheck introduces a new twist – we not only have a gap with equal pay, but also a gender INVESTING gap.

Krawcheck introduced her new venture, A digital investing platform that provides investment consulting, content and advice that speaks directly to women. takes into account the different salary curves for women, career breaks and longer lifespans. Instead of talking in sports jargon, Krawcheck and team walk women through personalized portfolios with realistic goals.

Sign me up.

Full interview here


  1. Eat, Pray, Swipe: Robyn Exton (Her), Dawoon Kang (Coffee Meets Bagel) and Whitney Wolfe (Bumble)

I may or may not use some of these apps religiously…

The three female founders (AWESOME) of Her, Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble discussed how each of their dating apps are different, but all strive to create and sustain a strong user experience. Kang mentioned they see one user bring in upwards of 20+ new members. Utility is key.

As far as new features go, Bumble now has a BFF option. New to a city and not looking for a straight hook up? BFF allows you to swipe for friends. We’re swiping for friends now, people.

Coffee Meets Bagel introduced a photo lab where you can A/B test your dating photo. FYI bathroom selfies don’t work for men. CMB also understands that women interact differently with dating apps then men and therefore, each sex should have a different experience. Example: Men often go “dog walking” – continuously swiping right, while women take a much more cautious approach. They’re working on rolling out unique experiences for each sex later this summer.

Full interview here


  1. Inside the Chat Wars with Ted Livingston (Kik)

With 275 million registered users and 40% of US teens using Kik every month – If you had any question around where to be focused on your digital strategy, messenger apps should be on the list.

According to Kik Founder, Livingson, two-thirds of teens make friends online and spend more time interacting with friends online vs. in-person. Giving your phone number is a thing of the past. Teens now give their Kik username.

Kik understands there’s a strong advertiser play here and is currently doing Bot testing. With more than 6,000 bots in the creation process – H&M, Sephora and The Weather Channel are a few of the current bots available on the platform. Similar to what Facebook is doing via the messenger app, bots remove the friction of having to go into a separate app. There’s a significant distribution advantage to being where the masses are and customizing an experience for a user.

Full interview here