For an episode of Business Insider’s new podcast, “Success! How I did it”, Tinder co-founder Sean Rad was interviewed about the early days of Tinder, offering some new insights into Tinder’s well-trodden founder story and speaking about his time leading the online dating sensation.
Recorded last November, when Rad was still CEO, the co-founder talks about how, while working at IAC incubator Hatch Labs, Tinder only became the focus of the team’s attention during the 90 day period it took for another idea, local rewards program Cardify, to get approved on the App Store.
After it became clear they had something special, the team decided to shutter everything they were doing with Cardify to focus on Tinder.
Quickly growing on college campuses then across the West Coast, Rad tells Alyson Shontell: “When something is growing as fast as Tinder did, you don’t think about it. You’re up until five in the morning working.
“It was a small team of 15 people that literally did not sleep for the first year. You just don’t think about it because you’re getting all this feedback from your users and you just focus on executing and delivering for them.”
Shontell also asks Rad about Justin Mateen’s departure from the company following the sexual harassment scandal, and being fired as CEO in 2015.
Rad says: “Fired is an exaggeration. I was asked to move over and be president and continue to run parts of the company. The thing was, we were growing so fast that naturally there was a lot of doubt whether or not a 28-year-old who hasn’t really experienced something at this scale would have the experience and business intelligence to carry it on and make the right judgment calls.
“To be honest, even I had doubts. I was terrified. Tinder was growing faster than anything and it was stressful. So we made the decision together. A lot of people think it was this adversarial thing.”
The 30-year-old, who is now Tinder President and leading new project Swipe Ventures, also gives some advice about creating the best environment for building innovative products: “When you’re trying to innovate, the process is the same. You have a hypothesis, test the hypothesis, learn from the success or failure, apply it to the next step, learn, apply it to the next step, learn apply it to the next step.
“That’s true if you’re building a startup, that’s true if you’re the size of Tinder and building the next great feature. It starts with creating an environment where it’s OK to take risks and fail. As long as you’re learning from it.”
Listen to the interview here.