The Webpreneur Nerd

Creating Something Rad – Sean Rad @ GA

tinderchatI had the pleasure of attending another rad event at GA (General Assembly) in Santa Monica last night. It was truly rad as Sean Rad – the founder of Tinder – led the conversation. Tinder is one of the fastest growing dating apps on the market right now. With millions of downloads and seventy thousand reviews; this four star app is all the rage. Sean did talk about the app and his vision; he also gave a great deal of insight to those that want to be entrepreneurs and not wantrepreneurs.

Am I a Wantrepreneur?

If you’re wondering which one you are; you’ll need to ask yourself one simple question: “Am I building something that solves a real problem?” According to Sean “That’s all that really matters”. One attendee stated that most entrepreneurs’ think they are solving a real problem and raised the question – how do you know if you truly are?

Sean first made the point that there are some pretty dumb entrepreneurial memes. One of them being “if people disagree with you, you’re probably onto something”. Sure, if people that aren’t part of your audience or potential customer base tell you it’s a dumb idea – you’ll never find success listening to that noise. However, if your customers; as Sean put it “Don’t have an emotional reaction” to what you’re doing – you probably need to make some adjustments.

Keep in mind that it’s not enough to have a great solution. If your audience doesn’t see it as a real problem; there’s no need for a solution. So make sure you’re getting a reaction to both sides of the coin.

You might not know that I also have a background in coaching salespeople (mostly selling tech stuff of course). I work with people that are really frustrated with conversations that go nowhere or feel beat-up at the end of the day – the Problem. I teach them how to make sure every conversation goes exactly the way they want; and at the end of the day they feel great about themselves and what they did – the Solution. If you’ve ever been involved in sales you probably just had a bit of a moment reading that.

Hire the Rad way

Gone are the days that we hire only on the basis of their resume; how long they stayed at a particular job; or how much experience they may have in a certain area. Sure, you still look at those things – but you can’t stop there.

What does Sean look for in a candidate to know if they should be part of the Tinder family? He wants to see if they have an emotional reaction to the Tinder mission.

Do you see a theme? Emotion! Think about it: If you have a mission that both potential customers and employees respond to emotionally – the result will be greater customer acquisition and internal (employee) buy-in. Of course there’s more to building a great company. Just like there’s more to building a house than a foundation. Though, I think you’d agree that the foundation is pretty dang important.

It’s Stupid to Monetize

When I heard Sean say this I just about fell over in my seat. If he’s looking to get emotional responses from people – it worked! He went on to explain that Tinder just isn’t ready to monetize right now; because it hasn’t come close to fulfilling its vision. It reminds me of a core success principal. It’s the idea that those who focus on money will find ruin; while those who focus on creating something rad will find money.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have ideas on how to monetize. I am saying that if it’s your core focus; your audience will smell it a mile away and run faster than you can say “I want your money”.

The Takeaway

  1. Do you get an emotional response from your audience? Figure out who your audience is; get to know them; and find out if the problem is worth solving and if your solution gets the response you’d like.
  2. What’s your mission? If you can’t clearly state the problem and your solution with passion; There’s no way I’m going to be passionate as a customer or team-member.
  3. Bonus Tip on Hiring! Make sure the people you hire are naturally curious. As Rad says “It’s that curiosity that keeps [people] up till three in the morning researching [or problem solving]”
  4. Focus on creating something great and the money will come. Sure, have a plan or some ideas on how you’ll make money. But if that’s your core focus; you’ll never put the time and energy into what would make your product/service great.

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