This week, Cory speaks to entrepreneur, founder and CEO Sean Rad, who is best known for creating the revolutionary dating app Tinder, which has made more than 20 billion connections, garnered more than 50 million active users across 195 countries and was recently valued as a public company worth a staggering $6 billion dollars. In this weeks episode, Sean talks about how he got into technology, advice to non-technical people getting started at building technology companies, he takes us back to the very moment the idea of Tinder was born, what he did to get it on the map, early day controversies, the moment he knew it would be transformative to society, and the evolution of its users.
Entrepreneur Sean Rad (@seanrad) is Founder and Chairman of Tinder, the world’s most popular app for meeting people. While Tinder is one of the most successful apps of all time, Sean cautions young entrepreneurs who come up with app “ideas.” “A mobile app is just the delivery mechanism, that’s not an idea,” says Sean.
His idea to make introductions easy and less awkward, which turned into Tinder, started with seeing a pretty woman across the room at a coffee shop. “When I was sitting in a coffee shop one day, I was with a bunch of friends and there was a girl across the room that I really want to talk to. I lacked and courage, my friends lacked the courage. This is a common occurrence people probably experience every day. She looked at me across the room and I looked at her. In that moment, it was almost like an invite. She was giving me a signal that she’s interested and I was giving her a signal. As I realized that, that took away the anxiety, the pressure, the fear of rejection, then I became obsessed with the idea of how can I turn that moment, that behavior that happens, that real-world behavior that is natural but it’s not a common occurrence, how can I make that a more common occurrence as the cure to meeting new people? That was the impetus of Tinder.”
What was a great idea didn’t turn into a successful company without a great team that listened carefully to their users. “When you have thousands of opportunities…you really need to listen to the people who are on the front lines,” says Sean, who discusses in the episode of OFF RCRD Tinder’s efforts to make their platform friendly to trans users based on their feedback.
Despite the massive growth of Tinder and Sean’s accomplishments, he takes little for granted and doesn’t rely on his past successes. “It’s really important to stay humble and stay hungry.” Stay hungry and listen to the full interview with Sean Rad only on OFF RCRD, and listen to all of our episodes here.
Sean Rad talks about how he got into the tech world. “It was more about a passion for solving problems I would see around me, and the best way to solve those problems was utilizing technology.”
“I’ll hear people come and tell me, “I have an idea for a mobile app.” Well, just framing it that way is a problem because a mobile app is just the delivery mechanism, that’s not an idea.”
Sean talks about his companies before starting Tinder
When the Tinder team first realized they had something special
Why Tinder said no to Kim Kardashian
The overlooked aspect of diversity
How Tinder navigated around the image that they were solely a platform for “hook-ups”
“The one thing that I can’t live without is meditating.” Sean talks about his daily habits and routines
Advice for young people who are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. “I think the misconception we have about successful people is that they’re perfect, they’re successful, they know what they’re doing, the reality is that they’re just like all of us.”
How Sean makes hard decisions