Jonathan Badeen

Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Tinder

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 14, 2016


Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
Hi everyone – I’m Jonathan Badeen, co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Tinder. It’s been a big year at Tinder. Product highlights for us in 2017 have included launches like Smart Photos, Spotify integration, and More Genders. We also launched Tinder Stacks for iMessage and just released Tinder on Apple TV. We’re growing fast and just last month opened a shiny new office in Palo Alto. Thanks for joining this LIVE chat. Looking forward to your questions!
Philip Kuklis@philipkuklis · Co-Founder, Hubble
Hey Jonathan, what’s one thing you learned the hard way while building Tinder?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@philipkuklis when we started Tinder and in those early days, we often said "that would be a good problem to have" when referring to engineering and scaling issues. After you've encountered enough situations where those good problems became problems (like we did), you stop saying that. There comes a point where we had to consider those "problems" and handle them preemptively. We make very different choices now and thankfully don't need to cut as many corners to keep Tinder up and running.
Jason Safaiyeh@safaiyeh · TODO Menubar, MyProgress, Vestige
I am from LA and I am excited about its growing tech hub. What advantages does LA have over Silicon Valley? Is there migrations of talent from SV to LA? Also, when are the Tinder internships opening, looking to apply!
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@safaiyeh Los Angeles is growing as a tech hub, as you say. It's still got a ways to go before it reaches SV levels but it's still a great place to choose as it's being taken seriously by both entrepreneurs, tech workers and VCs. First and foremost the best reason to choose LA is the weather. We really get spoiled here. We also have a lot more diversity here in contrast to the mono-culture of our northern brethren. That diversity can not only be fun but it can be good for business. In our world, we must identify real world problems and trends. While LA is by no means a normal place, it can paint a bit more accurate of a picture as to how the world utilizes and views technology. It's often pointed out that SV brought us Google Glass while LA brought us Spectacles. These real world realizations can be important in defining or choosing a product to develop. You also won't be annoyed by all the people in Starbucks talking about their series A round or ever see on somebody's computer. Instead we get to listen to people brag about pitching their script to a studio or their amazing auditions. Did I mention we have Disneyland? Game over. We do hire interns. Check our for positions as they open or shoot me a message.
Pablo Rochat@pablorochat · Director of Creative Lab at Tinder
Hey Jonathan. People enjoy using Tinder because the UI is fun and playful. Product Hunt is full of playful and often quirky products. There's even a "WTF Product of the Year" category in the 2016 Golden Kitties. What's a memorable product this year that has made you think "WTF!"?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@pablorochat Obviously the most memorable "WTF!" app this year is Pee World VR. 😉
Pablo Rochat@pablorochat · Director of Creative Lab at Tinder
@badeen Indeed, you have a great taste for technology!
Hayk Yaghubyan@haykoyaghubyan · Serial entrepreneur and digital marketer
Hi Jonathan. How has Tinder raised so fast? How have you got first 1000 users? In which stage have you got investment for it? Also, which ad channels and ad formats are you using now?
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Thanks Jonathan! What are 3 things you've learned about human behavior in your work with Tinder?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@theo_dimarhos We really learned how important simplicity and reducing barriers to entry are. Having a very simple flow for creating an account was key. We've also realized the importance of creating an emotional experience. That comes in the form of swiping (a physical and connected way of manipulating an interface) and a variety of other niceties. People end up having fun doing something that they would have otherwise considered laborious work. We've also learned how important it is to give users more ways to express themselves - especially through GIFs and music. Our integration with Giphy allows people to better express themselves in short pop culture videos (animated GIFs). Our users really identify with musical interests/tastes, too, which is why our Spotify integration is such a hit with our users.
Alex Barrett@alexbarrett · Likemoji Founder
Hi Jonathan, When you started, what were the things that helped you achieve a network effect / market saturation to be able to offer value to your users in a given geo? ie: When you could first only find a handful of people to swipe in your area, what did you do to cultivate that user base and keep people joining / coming back?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@alexbarrett We focused our marketing efforts on dense communities like universities. Cognizant of the potential to run out of people, we initially set the minimum radius to 10 miles. Once we'd achieved a certain level of saturation, we then lowered that down to 1 mile.
Austin Sandmeyer@as_austin · Thinker/Student/Rockstar
Hey, Jonathan how do you see the DTR podcast working into the strategy of consumers? (PS: I love the first episode! Three Cheers to you and Gimlet media!)
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@as_austin Podcasts are an incredible way to reach our audience: the average millennial spends about 4 hours a day listening to audio. Tinder is a fascinating phenomenon, and DTR gives us the platform to dive into the things people are genuinely curious about. Dating is interesting. Dating in the digital age is even more interesting, and Tinder is a huge part of that. There will be a new episode tomorrow!
Matija Abicic@matijaabicic · Head of Product Strategy at Sysrepublic
Have you thought about introducing ratings, where users rate their experience with others. And a follow-up question - why not implement it?
Arif Akhmedzade@arif_aze · TRANZZO LTD.
Hi Jonathan, have you faced with a problem when investor stopped financing your startup at early period? If yes, what were you doing and how you solved that?
Sloane Ortel@srvo ·
What's the last thing you've seen beautifully simplified?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@willortel Obviously, meeting new people with Tinder and the right swipe. Just kidding. It's a small thing but I've found the iOS emoji autocomplete/suggestions feature in iOS 10 is really helping step up my emoji game. I never know what I should be looking for and having it suggest them based on what I'm already writing is a godsend. 🙌
Sloane Ortel@srvo ·
@badeen Agreed! Now if they'd just get it to the desktop :(
William S Huxley@williamshuxley · Multidisciplinary Designer
How can profile-centric apps/services overcome user inauthenticity? That is, bland profiles centering around mundane, catch all characteristics (as opposed to articulations of what makes them them).
David Berman@david_berman
What's the thinking behind the apple TV app?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@david_berman Since its launch, friends have been swiping for each other on Tinder. There is an existing behavior that we've observed in which people will Airplay Tinder onto the TV when they have friends over. We wanted to improve upon this natural and social behavior by making a truly native experience. The Apple TV provided us the perfect tools including the remote with trackpad which allowed us to bring the #SwipeRight to TV and into living rooms. If you haven't seen the promotional videos, please check them out for a good chuckle. You can find them all at My personal favorite is "Cough, Cough":
You can also learn a bit more about how the app was made in our iOS engineer's, Shawn Gong's, blog post:
GJ Kooijman@gjkooijman
What has been your most surprising learning about the users' behaviour or likes since you've started Tinder?
Gautam Naib@gautam_nb · Contracts Analyst in Oil & Gas
As a business major, I am looking to get into the tech industry. Is there any advice on what courses and/or path I should follow to secure a job in the tech industry? I have a strong business background but not really any knowledge of how to code or create apps.
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@gautam_nb The best advice I can give is to play up your strengths. There are many different facets to a successful tech company, and having employees with business savvy is extremely important. There are many people who work at Tinder that do not code, such as our marketers, PR team, international team, community team, etc. I would also advise you to speak up, have confidence and be bold in what you have to offer. If I were afraid to share my opinion and code the swipe into Tinder (note: I did so without telling the team that it was in the latest update), I wouldn’t be answering your questions today. There is no wrong answer. There are many different paths to one solution. Oftentimes, people in the tech industry want a fresh perspective — and who better to offer that than a new recruit? If you do have a desire or think that you could have a desire to code or create apps, pursue it. I was a business major myself and majored in marketing. A couple years after college I taught myself to program. It's hard to learn depending on your personality but it opened a lot of doors for me. Just keep at it.
Aline Dahmen@deleted-749609 · Founder of Nomad Soulmates
I would love to know your top 3 bootstrapping strategies for growth hacking and growing a network.
Bryant Peng@bryantpeng · Product Designer
Is there anything on the timeline for swipe down? Seems like there's another core feature waiting to be introduced.
Marius Chawa@mariuschawa · UX Designer @ Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hi Jonathan, how do you think buy and sell marketplace apps can evolve and take a piece of market share from Craigslist?
Taufiq Husain@taufiqhusainca · Managing Director at Polar Hills.
Hey Jonathan, I have 2 questions: 1. How did you come up with the swipe idea for Tinder exactly. Was there a specific app that you used that swiping features? Was it like you were playing cards and thought of the swiping feature? What exactly made you come up with this unique gesture idea because it's such a big phenomenon today. 2. Do you think the swiping a deck of cards gesture can be used for other apps successfully? For e.g. news articles, funny photos, jokes etc.
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@taufiqhusainca --- 1. When we were developing Tinder, people’s profiles resembled a stack of playing cards—and from the beginning, I had a nagging desire to gamify it. Using the buttons to move the cards felt clunky - I wanted more fluidity. Finding and selecting the appropriate button felt deliberate and sluggish, whereas in a real world scenario, the decisions we make are quick, subconscious. Funny enough, the idea for the swipe came to me one morning during a hot shower. About half way through my shower I realized I forgot to turn on the fan. When I stepped out, the room was especially foggy. I wiped the mirror clean, but within a minute it was fogging up again. I wiped it clean a second time, only this time, I wiped in the opposite direction. I saw a familiar face looking back at me in the clear sliver of the mirror that my hand had just…swiped. I had imagined the card stack as being sorted and that additional card stacks for yes and no existed on opposite sides of the screen. The swipe was the simplest way to get the card from point A to point B. Conveniently when you swipe right it's as if you are dragging the card into your match list on the right. From there, I immediately went into the office to tell the team and started building the swipe into Tinder. 2. I think it can certainly be used for other apps or genres successfully. However, I don't believe it's a UX pattern that should be applied without a good deal of thought. There are certainly situations where it makes sense and others that it does not. I would simply warn those who may be tempted to use it in the future to really examine whether it's the best interface for their use case.
Sreeraj Krishnan@sreeraj_krishnan · Cofounder, Redrawlife
Who was your first customer?
Jonathan Badeen@badeen · Co-founder & CS(trategy)O, Tinder
@sreeraj_krishnan Our first customer was ourselves. I used Tinder personally from the beginning. The product came from not only the recognition of a need for others, but also ourselves.