In 2012, the dating app Tinder was launched by Sean Rad, Justine Mateen, and Whitney Wolfe-Herd.
As with any start-up, the founders worked 24/7 to make it a success.
Being so close all the time, romantic attachments happen and Mateen and Wolfe-Herd formed a relationship.
After a year she broke it off, this didn’t work out so well because she was Marketing VP and Mateen was her boss, the CMO.
Apparently Mateen took it badly, he began to publicly disrespect her: sending her obscene messages, even dick-pics, and calling her a whore in front of other employees.
She complained to the CEO, Sean Rad, but he was Mateen’s best friend.
He called her a ‘dramatic and emotional girl’ and removed the reference to her as co-founder saying that giving a girl that title made the company look a joke.
Wolfe-Herd said she couldn’t work under those circumstances, so Rad said she was fired.
She sued Tinder for sexual discrimination and, although both men denied the allegations, she was paid $1 million to settle out-of-court.
Wolf-Herd was pretty low at that point, she’d given everything to make Tinder a success and had it all taken away.
But instead of giving up she did the exact opposite.
She decided to use everything she thought was wrong with Tinder as the brief to create a new app that was better than Tinder.
So in 2014, she launched Bumble, a dating app that would be everything Tinder wasn’t.
Tinder had become part of the whole ‘bro culture’, guys would use it simply for easy hook-ups then just ‘ghost’ the women once they got laid.
So Wolfe-Herd decided to make Bumble the first feminist dating app.
Women would initiate the contact not men, profile pictures would need to be verified, so would profile information.
Women would decide if they wanted to continue the relationship or not.
There would be a platonic section for people who were just looking for friendship, not just sexual relationships.
There was an LGBTQ section, so it was welcoming for all kinds of people.
There was a business section for people who wanted to make work contacts or network.
In general, Bumble was geared towards female values, being more inclusive and welcoming.
And of course, the women, and even men, who felt excluded by the oppressive bro-culture at Tinder, gravitated towards Bumble.
By 2015, 25,000 people a day were signing up to Bumble.
By 2019, Bumble were generating $240 million a year.
By 2023, Whitney Wolfe-Herd’s stake in Bumble was worth $1.54 BILLION.
Meanwhile, Justine Mateen and Sean Rad had both been ousted at Tinder, and the company that owned Tinder, Match Group, tried to buy Bumble.
Wolfe-Herd replied with a public letter showing Bumble’s hand swiping left on Tinder’s offer.
In part, the copy read:
“Between trying to buy us, copy us, or sue us, why don’t you just take care of the bad behavior on your own platform?
Consider yourselves blocked.”
She signed off with Bumble’s strapline: BEE KIND, OR LEAVE.
And that is the correct way to handle a massive disappointment or a huge rejection.
Make whatever was wrong with your last situation the direction for your next move.
Learn from them but don’t copy them.
Make their mistakes your brief.