Tinder swipes left on CEO Sean Rad, journalists swipe right
I hope someone like Eric Schmidt replaces me, dreams ousted cofounder
Comment Tinder CEO Sean Rad has been dumped by the dating app maker he helped found, although he'll keep his 10 per cent stake.
Unusually, the details of the firing were revealed by the 28-year-old himself in a lengthy piece of blowjob journalism by Forbes, titled "The Crazy Saga of the World's Hottest App".
In between learning about Rad's choice in clothing and cars, and how incredibly insightful and sharp the young hotshot is, the article reveals Rad's downfall at the IAC-owned Tinder:
IAC said it didn’t want Rad to go away completely – and, indeed, this article is the first time his removal has been made public – but rather to relinquish the top spot and focus on the product. "The board thought the best path was to bring in a CEO, thinking if we opened up the role it would attract better talent," says Rad. "I strongly disagreed." So, should he stay or go?
The answer of course is: he didn't have a choice because Tinder appears to be a subsidiary of IAC, which also owns dating companies Match.com, Chemistry.com, Meetic and OkCupid. So it called the shots.
Building irony on irony, Rad consulted with his close friend Justin Mateen, who had left Tinder some months earlier for allegedly displaying even poorer judgement, and they both decided Rad should try to persuade IAC to keep him in his CEO role.
So Rad called his boss Sam Yagan and Yagan’s boss Greg Blatt, chairman of IAC’s Match Group. According to the article, Rad then "called his business advisors and lawyers. His girlfriend. His father. His girlfriend’s father – who just happens to be tech billionaire Michael Dell. There was no consensus: half recommended remaining in the lesser capacity, and half told him to quit."
Displaying exactly the sort of judgement that perhaps he was being fired for, Rad then took a train to New York and pushed for a face-to-face meeting with Yagan and Blatt. “I thought I could still convince IAC to change their minds,” the article quotes him as saying. Amazingly, readers, he couldn't.
In between glowing tributes to Rad's entrepreneurial brilliance, Forbes accidentally revealed Rad's thought that for some inexplicable reason IAC was going to spin off Tinder and give him full control of it.
And he appears to believe he will have the final say on the new chief exec. And he's aiming low.
“We’re looking for an Eric Schmidt-like person,” says Rad of the upcoming search. “There is no CEO coming in the door that I don’t get along with - that would be corporate suicide.”
Just in case you remain in any doubt how this is all going to play out: it was claimed in a lawsuit this year that Rad had texted messages about IAC chairman Barry Diller that used his initials "B" and "D" to form the shape of a penis and balls.
That legal action was brought by Tinder cofounder Whitney Wolfe, who was dating Rad's friend, career advisor and Tinder's chief marketing officer Justin Mateen while they were all at Tinder. She alleged she was subject to sexual harassment when they broke up, and unfairly ousted from the organization.
Like an excruciating two-hour special of Beverly Hills 90210, the lawsuit laid out all the recriminations that resulted; IAC eventually paid out $1m to Wolfe, it's understood. Mateen left shortly after.
Incomprehensibly, despite everything, Rad still believes he is irreplaceable.
“I might be naïve in saying this, but the soul of a consumer company is the product,” says Rad. “You take away the product leadership, and the company dies.”
Yes, there is simply no way that Tinder will be able to continue without him at the helm. ®
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