Liana Pavane, founder of ttyl
Social media detoxes have been proven to be beneficial, but it’s not encouraged enough. Viola! Liana Pavane, founder and creator of TTYL (yes, that stands for “talk to you later”) launched a no-phone social club dedicated to building a human connection. In today’s spotlight, Liana shares how her company is changing how we evaluate the relationship with our technology devices and the digital world, and reality. Read about how she quit her job and ran with her passion and what fulfills her soul.
Liana, can you tell us what inspired you to launch TTYL?
The inspiration for TTYL stems from my childhood. From an early age, my parents set boundaries around my technology use. I wasn’t allowed to watch TV during the week and they never purchased a video game for me—I still don’t know how to use one to this day. I found the theater community when I was in high school and fell in love with the concept of creating experiences for people as a Director. I followed my passion for theater in college and studied Playwriting and Directing where I got to make up stories and allow people to walk out of the show with a shared experience. During this time, social media was blowing up. I felt disconnected from my peers and myself. I fell victim to the addiction of social media along with everyone else. Right after graduation, on vacation with my family, I found myself having FOMO as I watched my friends back home through my tiny screen. I couldn’t believe how ridiculous that sounded as I was exploring beautiful Scandanavian cities. The idea hit me when we were out to dinner one night and my dad asked for us to come up with an invention, but I wanted to create an experience. After sitting on the idea for a few months, I decided to take the plunge and go for it!
You recently quit your job and going full-time with TTYL, what do you advise to those who inspire to do their hustled full-time?
I believe that if you are so passionate about an idea that it consumes your every waking thought, you should give it a shot! The worst that can happen is not that it doesn’t work out, it’s that you let your fears get in the way and someone else launched your idea before you.
I believe finding fulfillment in what you do is one of the most important parts of life. As I wake up now to work on my passion everyday, it doesn’t feel like work. That’s when you know you’ve found something that lights you up and you should continue to do whatever that is no matter what it takes.
What were some of the challenges when you began your business? And what about the good stuff like milestones?
When I first came up with the idea, convincing people that it would work was the hardest part. The digital wellness community is quite new and has only seen major growth in the past year of so. I got a lot of backlash from family members who thought that no one in my generation would give up their phones because our devices are essentially an extension of our arm. In addition, my big dreams for scaling the business quickly came crashing down early on. I had big plans for where TTYL would go including a permanent space and thought that I could easily raise enough money to have a few pop-up weekends and that it would all take off from there.
Luckily, my wonderful, supportive friends brought me back to the ground and suggested I develop the idea before trying to fundraise and begin hosting pop-up nights in different venues around NYC. The rest is history.
Since I launched the pop-ups in January, I have been building buzz so much so that NY1 News picked up my story just six months in. Seeing more and more people come every time, and many come back, has been reassuring and extremely fulfilling.
Where seems to be a huge growth in “community” these days, why do you think it is important?
The biggest cause of depression in millennials today is loneliness. Social media is a huge part of the problem because we are isolating ourselves for hours on end every day to interact with a fake reality. And even though many people know this, they find themselves scrolling anyway because those apps are designed to be addictive. So, the idea of community comes from people wanting to feel less lonely, to feel that they belong in the real world somewhere that isn’t their individual bubble including family, school or work. Especially in NYC, and other big cities around the world, there can be this overwhelming sense of isolation. Cities are often overwhelming to people because many come for an opportunity, but don’t have their support group with them anymore. By creating these communities, such as TTYL, people can feel comfortable to come alone and feel welcomed. They feel that they have a sense of purpose in a larger society and can go home feeling a little less alone.
Do you think TTYL is contributing to digital self-care?
Most definitely. TTYL is all about digital wellness, but in a fun way! Of course there’s a lot people can learn on the educational side—which is something I’m working on tying into my business—but the TTYL experience is showcasing digital detoxing as fun and enjoyable. There’s also been a huge bump in the self-care industry and I want TTYL to be known for self-care as well. Putting your phone away for an hour or two can do wonders for everyone. I believe that giving people the space to disconnect and replacing phones with fun activities will re-spark the creativity and imagination from our childhoods, which will therefore increase the livelihoods of society.
What is something you’re looking forward to?
I am excited to go full force into TTYL. I am looking forward to hosting digital wellness workshops, coaching, and providing other forms of live entertainment at my events. I am in the midst of developing some other projects that could really expand the business as well. And mostly, I’m excited to learn more about the entrepreneurial world.
Interviewed by Chary