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Travis Chen: SoundMind

With anxiety on the rise within Gen Z, Travis Chen is doing something about it. The co-founder and COO of SoundMind believes in improving emotions based on how you're feeling.

At 24, Chen says he's "prime Gen Z." Influences on his generation include changes in the political climate after 9/11, the housing and financial crisis, social polarization amplified by algorithmic echo chambers, climate change and a global pandemic reshaping work and education.

His age group is learning how to enter the workforce on shaky ground, often lacking awareness of basic professional norms. And yet a cooperation gap exists in the workplace. Experienced workers, he said, can see younger workers as threats because they know how to use technology. At the same time, TikTok trends such as lazy girl jobs don't help the reputation of people like Chen who "want to do the work."

Identifying Feelings

But the norms are changing. Hustle culture will always exist, and always has. But it might not remain the defining characteristic of work. In every generation, there are people who create new dimensions in our shared existence, who make the world better in their way while grappling with the realities of their own point in history. Soft skills are the glue that binds the process. As Chen continues to develop what he calls "a single source of truth for mental health," he also needs to manage people and communicate feedback clearly in a way that they can accept. He grew up in LA in a Taiwanese family, and they didn't speak openly about their emotions, even while experiencing panic attacks or other intense states. He realized it's okay to talk about feelings and to identify them.

Emotional Intelligence

"Having good emotional intelligence. Giving myself permission to feel," he said. "I wasn't taught that at school."

Emotional intelligence enables people to be aware of friends, family, colleagues and strangers, and to titrate the conversation and share your own feelings as a result.

Chen is a fantastic example of what I mean by AI as Applied Imagination to improve our relationships with our creations, each other and ourselves. Sound Mind uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help people manage their minds with sound. It's the kind of application that can help people while enabling an ambitious entrepreneur like Chen to build a satisfying career and shape the world.


  • Learn from each other. Pair with a person you perceive as your opposite at work and see what you can learn from each other.

  • Create space. Become aware of other people's emotions and act accordingly. You still have shared goals but the ideal is to pursue them in a way that promotes success without burning people out.

  • Don't paint entire generations with a broad brushstroke. Hard workers exist in every generation, and so do people who want to make more money with less effort.

If you want to offer your workforce a workshop focused on pairing so people can learn more from each other, contact us.


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