Former Match Group CEO’s Advice on Encouraging Innovation

Sam Yagan

Sam Yagan, former Match Group CEO and OkCupid co-founder, has shared his three main tips for encouraging innovation within a growing company.

Yagan is now the CEO of ShopRunner, a free-shipping company, but spent seven years in charge of the online dating organisation.

He was speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Reinvent Conference in Chicago.

The first tip he gave was to encourage failure. He realised most of the executives at Match Group had worked their way up the corporate ladder without ever experiencing failure.

In order to promote creativity and innovation, he asked each executive to include their failures in their personal end-of-year reviews.

Yagan then took the unorthodox approach of not giving them bonuses if they hadn’t made a mistake that had cost the company money.

The second piece of advice was not to follow conventional wisdom. When Tinder was first pitched it went against many industry rules – such as not using a national marketing campaign.

A risk was taken on Tinder, and Yagan helped it grow into a brand that is one of the market leaders today.

Finally, Yagan warned all business owners to protect their products from their own company. As Tinder began to grow exponentially, Match Group executives were concerned that it could kill off some of the other brands in their portfolio.

He was apparently pressured into selling the dating app, but he stood strong. His faith ultimately paid off, as Tinder is now Match Group’s flagship product.

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