Lauren Leto | Banters, A Scr – Appbook your Quotes

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Lauren Leto is the co-founder of Banters, an app that allows you to easily save funny and meaningful quotes.  You can find her on twitter @laurenleto.


My mom used to (in an endearing way) call me "hyena" because of my frequent fits of laughing. Every night at our five o'clock family dinners we'd sit to eat and I'd start laughing at everything my brother said. He was hilarious to me, commenting on our mutual enemy Vegetables with weird voices and warnings that it was poison. I'd follow suit, pretending I was choking from an inedible zucchini. While we frustrated my parents, we'd usually have them cracking up with us by the end of the meal (although they'd still make us finish our veggies.

Is it alright if I leave cookies out for Santa?  He'll probably like them since he helped make them. – My 11 yr-old daughter

I've never been able to shut my mouth or stop trying to make people laugh. I’m unable to whisper, I can’t keep secrets, Outbursts is my middle name, I talk fast and have never been shy to start up a conversation with anyone. All my report cards from kindergarten through high school have notes saying I talked too much. I’m too easily excitable. If I would just calm down and pay attention I’d do better in school. But while my mouth may run freely, I value these conversations. I’ve always saved notes, letters, cards from friends. My journals are filled with quotes from friends and old boyfriends.

Moving is one way of getting my room clean. — Jack, age 10

My love for conversations led me first to law school in Detroit, where I hoped I'd get to debate and talk with people all day, every day for the rest of my life. As plenty of people who work in law know, it's not actually all gab. Law is a lot of dense reading and critical analysis done alone, which clashed with my love for quick wit and conversations. While enrolled, I spent the long nights at the library working on a small side project with my friend, Ben Bator. It was a humor blog, influenced by my craving for an easy way for my friends to share, comment, and laugh about our text messages amongst each other. They were too interesting to let sit alone in my inbox but too incriminating to post under our real names. And so Texts from Last Night was born, out of the belief that many others had just as hilarious conversations in their pocket. Texts from Last Night was launched and weeks later became a viral hit and I dropped out of law school to try my luck with tech.

Mom, you're my favorite deputy. — Wesley, age 3

It was frightening. I never thought I'd do anything other than law and suddenly I was adventuring into entrepreneurship. I couldn't even spell entrepreneur at the time. What I did know is that I've always liked working hard, I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. So, we asked as many questions as we could, we took advice from everyone, we tried to remain cautious yet move quickly on contracts and hires. I couldn't ask for a better introduction to business. From the first negotiation we made, I was hooked. It wasn't that I found my calling – my calling had found me. I think that's how most people find the best kind of success, it's not so much about trying to fit yourself into where you think you belong, it's about doing what you love. I thought being a lawyer was going to be my life – my only way to success. Instead, a silly side project with a friend became the success. The reason for this is simple – it was rooted in a lifelong passion. That's why I always ask people concerned about their career path, "what do you want to do?" – what you think you should do should be ignored.

You can't rush great things — like potatoes.  — Thomas, age 10

I moved to New York the next year and started thinking about the world beyond inappropriate, anonymous, and humorous text messages. What about your every day conversations? Banters came from the realization that my daily exchanges — quips with coworkers, inside jokes with friends — carry with them just as many memories as photographs and videos. And they deserve to be saved. Not only that, but they should be able to be shared with friends, because they're often entertaining.

Mom, you're a good maker. – Caroline, age 7

It's been an awesome experience to work on Banters. I was most touched when I realized how parents use Banters as a way to save the adorable things their kids say. It's a lot easier than pausing to write it down in a book, which was what some told us they did before discovering Banters. We're happy and honored to serve as a scrapbook of quotes for them.  I feel blessed to get to do what I love every day – talk and make people laugh.

What do you remember that you did spontaneously as a child?  How can that inform your dreams? 

Have you gone down one path toward a dream (like law school), only to realize that it was a way station, not the destination?

What are the people, especially the children around you saying, that is incredibly clever – that you forget if you don't write it down?

P.S. Here's how to use Banters:

  1. You can sign up here and download the iPhone app here.
  2. Banters is simple.  Just wait for a quotable moment and save it by using the post button on the app or visiting Banters and hitting create a post.
  3. You can choose to make any conversation only viewable to yourself by hitting the lock button while posting or you can make your entire account private in the settings.
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