Beyond the Binary: A NY Tech Week x Pride Panel (Recap+Livestream)

June 17, 2024

Beyond the Binary

On June 6th, in celebration of Pride Month, CMYK hosted a remarkable panel titled “Beyond The Binary” as part of a16z’s New York Tech Week. This was the latest in our ongoing Thirsty Nerds networking event series, and the first time hosting such an event at our Brooklyn studio-office in DUMBO. The intellectually stimulating panel featured experts at the forefront of innovation at queer dating apps, with backgrounds in marketing, product design, research, and PR:

​Cameron Femino – Senior Creative Producer / Sniffies

Darshy Narine – Chief Product Officer / HER

​Stanton Plummer-Cambridge – UX Researcher / Motto

​Eleanor Bonner – Account Director / ASTRSK

The topics included promoting diversity and inclusion through design, the role of content and marketing in representation, the importance of sexual expression, and the future of technology in the queer dating space​​.

Listen to the full panel below and continue reading for a few highlights.

Key Moments and Insights

The Necessity of Diverse Dating Apps Cameron from Sniffies kicked off the discussion by emphasizing the importance of having multiple dating apps tailored to the queer community. “The community is diverse, and so must be the tools we use to connect,” he noted, highlighting that different apps serve different needs at various times​​. This sentiment was echoed by Eleanor, who pointed out that dating is a varied experience, and each app offers something unique for different moments in a person’s life​​.

The community is diverse, and so must be the tools we use to connect.

Cameron Femino, Sr. Creative Producer, Sniffies

Exploring Identity and Sexuality Darshy from Her stressed the importance of giving users the freedom to explore their sexualities and identities within the app. One approach to this end is showing users “It’s about giving everyone equal visibility so that everyone has that level of success,” she stated, emphasizing the blend of data-driven approaches and principled product development to ensure inclusivity​​.

Balancing User Safety and Experience A thought-provoking discussion arose around the responsibility of dating apps to ensure user safety while providing an equitable experience. An audience member posed a thought-provoking question about how their teams balance user demands with ethical considerations, such as avoiding the perpetuation of racial or socioeconomic stereotypes through filters​​. The panelists agreed that while user feedback is crucial, it is equally important to adhere to core principles – including support for minority groups and user safety.

Innovative Solutions for Safe-Sharing Eleanor from ASTRSK discussed the challenges and innovations in sharing *ahem* “adult content” over dating app DMs. She described how Archer addresses this by automatically blurring explicit content that can be removed with the receiving user’s consent within the chat, thus creating a safe yet satisfying user experience​​


“Beyond The Binary” was a resounding success, offering deep insights into the complexity, innovation, and intentional design within queer dating apps. We are grateful to our attendees, panelists, and everyone involved in making this event a success. It was a privilege to host this highly relevant conversation for the LGBTQ / Tech community, an underserved segment of the broader NYC Tech scene. We are proud to contribute to a more inclusive and diverse landscape in NYC.

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