Heyward Cover

I strive for two types of guests when I book a year’s worth of PandoMonthlys. True legends who are perennially interesting, and up and coming entrepreneurs who are fascinating right this moment. Whisper’s Michael Heyward is the epitome of the latter.

The debate over the good and bad of anonymity apps has been roiling the press and international governments this summer– spurred in no small part by our own reporting.

With Secret making itself look so awful, Whisper tends to get more of a pass. But should it?

These issues aside, the company is fascinating as a central tentpole of LA’s messaging boom. Before Whisper Heyward cut his teeth as a product manager at LA-based Tiger Text, a secure messaging client for the enterprise.

Whisper was incubated inside Tiger Text, before spinning out, and Heyward counts Tiger Text founder and CEO as a mentor and investor in his digital native focused social network.

Whisper is a great example of what LA is doing well these days, namely identifying the trends in consumer behavior and designing user experiences and communities that cater to these needs. It’s a trend that doesn’t stop with Whisper, but extends to Snapchat, Tinder, and a handful of other up and comers.

Like Snapchat’s Evan Spiegal, Heyward, who is in his mid-20s, is decidedly of this digital native generation, and not surprisingly seems to understand this audience in a way that entrepreneurs a generation his senior simply can’t. That’s one reason why Whisper was able to attract millions of users across college campuses before anyone in the Valley knew it existed. It’s also a reason why Heyward and his users view anonymity as a feature, rather than the bug many outside observers feel it to be.

We’ll dive into these and other topics on stage in a few weeks. Get your tickets here now!