An unnamed Tinder co-founder is reportedly among the senior tech executives to have attended Silicon Valley’s spiritual retreat, Esalen.
The claim is made in a longform piece, published in The New Yorker, describing the peculiar reputation of the California getaway.
Esalen has become known as a place for The Valley’s biggest brains to contemplate the ethical impact of their products.
It exists in the same niche as Tristan Harris and the Time Well Spent movement, which encourages tech CEOs to build businesses that focus on increasing well-being.
In 2016, executives from Apple and Facebook joined co-founders from Google and Slack for a private workshop at the retreat. According to The New Yorker, one of Tinder’s co-founders was also in attendance.
They were told they had been “hand selected” for their “unique ability to influence entire markets”. The trip involved “hot springs”, “roaring fires” and a digital detox.
One anonymous guest said to reporter Andrew Marantz: “Maybe the best way to serve our customers is to get them off the phone, building relationships in the world.
“It’s never easy to reverse course, especially when it’s a decision with financial implications. But it’s also the case that no CEO wants to go to sleep at night thinking, I built something that is causing massive psychological harm.”
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