By Alex Heath
The former president of Pinterest has a new mission to curb tech addiction.
Tim Kendall left his perch as the top business chief of the $12 billion company one year ago and is now the CEO of Moment, a mobile app that aims to teach people how to reduce their phone use.
Kendall told Cheddar that he invested $7 million of his own money into Moment, which already has 7 million downloads to-date, because he personally struggled with using his phone too much.
“For the past couple of years, I noticed that I personally was suffering from phone addiction,” he said Wednesday in an interview on Cheddar. “My view was, ‘God, if I’m suffering, probably others are too. And wouldn’t it be great if we could build a solution that could help with that.’”
Moment charges users for access to daily exercises that coach them to identify why they over-use certain apps and offers tips and behavioral changes that may reduce screen time.
Kendall noted that Moment users on average cut their time spent on their phones by roughly 30 percent per day after undergoing the training.
“The aim of the app is to give you back your time,” he said.
Kendall has spent the majority of his career in Silicon Valley working for internet tech giants. Before joining Pinterest as an early executive in 2012, he was an architect of Facebook’s monetization efforts before the social network’s blockbuster initial public offering.
Tech companies like Facebook ($FB), Apple ($APPL), and Google ($GOOGL) have recently come under fire for their roles in creating services and devices that enable addictive behavior and cause societal divisions. The backlash has prompted a rash of early tech executives, like former Facebook president Sean Parker and iPod creator Tony Fadell, to publicly bemoan the negative effects of their work on the country and world.
Kendall said that during his early days at Facebook there was never specific talk of creating behavioral addiction in users to maximize revenue from ads. But the way Facebook was designed has indirectly led to cultivating addictive behavior among its users. Americans check their phones 52 times per day on average, according to a recent study by Deloitte.
“Facebook and all these social networking services are really media companies,” Kendall said. “So like any media company that’s been formed in the last 50 or 100 years, they just want people to use it and consume it.”
For the full interview, click here.