By any measure, Snapchat has had a busy year.

23-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel reportedly rejected a $3 billion offer from Mark Zuckerberg, dealt with a data breach that leaked 4.6 million usernames, and watched as countless “ephemeral” apps launched to compete with his app. Meanwhile, Snapchat, by some metrics, had passed Facebook in its number of daily photo uploads. The night of our interview, Spiegel strapped on a bowtie alongside co-founder Bobby Murphy to be honored by Time as one of the world’s 100 most influential individuals.

But Spiegel isn’t interested in talking about any of that. When I ask to take his photo, he demurs. He might be sitting on top of the world, but he’d prefer for people to focus on the app and not on him. He’d rather talk about conversations — or more specifically, about how we can make our digital conversations better reflect our real ones. That’s the philosophy behind the latest version of Snapchat for iPhone and Android, the two-year-old company’s biggest and most important update yet.