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Tinder founder Sean Rad explains why the dating app is so popular and how the original app had no swipe in his Reddit AMA

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From Geekwire:

Founded less than 3 years ago, the dating app Tinder has facilitated more than 6 billion matches between users — many of whom end up getting married.

Those are a few of the insights from Sean Rad’s Reddit AMA on Thursday, during which the Tinder founder explained how his startup has become so successful.

The AMA took place just one day before Rad officially stepped down from the CEO role at Tinder. Recode reported today that former eBay exec Chris Payne will take over as CEO, five months after Tinder began looking for a new leader. Rad will stay with the company as president.

Rad answered several questions on Thursday from Reddit users. Here’s what the founder had to say when asked about Tinder’s origination, and its progress:

We started Tinder years ago because we had this obsession with breaking down the barriers in meeting people around you. We noticed that people grew closer to their small groups of friends but grew farther apart from the rest of the world in the process. We knew that if we could simply take the fear out of meeting someone, that we could bring the people closer together. And we’ve done just that (although internally we feel like we’ve only accomplished 1% of what we set out to do)… Tinder is a dominant platform in over 140 countries where we have created over 6 billion matches (26 million new ones every day). That’s 6 billion potential connections that would likely never have existed before Tinder; each one having the potential to change someone’s life forever.

Rad also addressed Tinder Plus, the new $9.99 version of Tinder released earlier this month that lets users “rewind” and give someone another look, as well as a feature called “Passport” that unlocks your location and lets you look for potential mates in locales you might be visiting soon.

Months of testing and thought went into the feature and price mix for Tinder Plus. We tested a broad range of prices and found that users that saw value in Tinder Plus were more than willing to pay at the existing price points. Rewind and Passport were the two most requested features, but of course we’re going to introduce more features to Tinder Plus, we’re just getting started.

Here are a few more answers from Rad:

Reddit: The bio portion of Tinder profiles is restricted to 500 characters. What is the reasoning behind setting such tight restrictions? What is the value that you see in profile brevity?

Rad: “After you match, Tinder requires you to be social and get to know your matches through conversation. It’s like real life… You don’t walk into a bar with a resume. EDIT: I mean, unless you’re applying to be a bartender ;)”

Reddit: What was the design impetus behind Tinder’s Swipe? Did you consider/test any other command gestures?

Rad: “I’m going to pass it over to Johnny Badeen to answer this one. I often tell him that creating the swipe could be the peak of his achievements and it all goes downhill from here haha:

The first version of Tinder didn’t actually have the swipe in the app. I snuck it in a few weeks later and told everybody after it was released that they could swipe. The swipe was born out a desire to mimic real life interactions with a card stack. When organizing cards you put them into piles. Swiping right fittingly throws the card in the direction of the matches. We’ve strived for simplicity by keeping buttons but we’re always looking for fun shortcuts in terms of interaction. The swipe just made sense in this case and seems stupid simple in retrospect.”

Reddit: What were some names you had in mind before deciding on Tinder?

Rad: “The original name was going to be Matchbox. So happy we decided on Tinder.”

Reddit: What other ways do you see people using Tinder, aside from romantic relations?

Rad: “Many users already specify their different intentions for using Tinder on their profile – eg. I’m visiting Paris and want recommendations on places to visit. Internally, we call this “hacking Tinder.” At the core we’re making it really easy to connect with new people by breaking down the hesitation in walking up to someone and saying ‘hi’. Tinder’s solution can be applied in so many ways.”

Reddit: Since Tinder is based on mutual physical attraction do you ever worry people’s feelings will get hurt?

Rad: “When you like someone on Tinder, they won’t know that you liked them until they like you back, which removes potential feelings of rejection. We call this the “double opt-in”. Even if you don’t match with another user, there’s no certainty that they saw your profile.”

Reddit: How do you motivate yourself?

Rad: “Knowing that we are transforming millions of lives is all the motivation I need. I’ve been invited to more Tinder weddings than I could attend in a lifetime :)”

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