Swipe Right: The Influence of Tinder on Emerging Business Strategies

By: Narayan Escolin 

Tinder gets a bad rep because everyone knows it as the hook-up app for millennials. It has encouraged the idea that dates are quick, cheap, and disposable. Swipe left, swipe right, drinks and dinner, see you later. The app is actively lowering the value of individuals in the dating world. But make no mistake, the app is wildly popular and successful. Though it may not have been originally designed for altruistic reasons, I'd like to share some examples of how the Tinder platform has been adopted for a socially beneficial use.

  1. e-Nable (http://enablingthefuture.org/)
    3D printing is currently one of the most popular emerging technologies. It is amazing how this technology has brought out the best innovative minds to find applications in numerous fields/industries. E-Nable is an incredible system that matches children in need of prostheses with people that own 3D printers and want to provide help. I love this story because it highlights philanthropic people. This is a good antithesis to the selfish and dispensable approach of Tinder (no offense to any Tinder users out there).
  2. BloodDonor.me (https://blooddonor.me/)
    This incredible idea addresses an ongoing need that seems to just increase as time goes on: blood donations. You simply log in to the app as a Donor or a Receiver and provide your blood type. Based on your GPS coordinates, donors will be matched with compatible patients. The app has been launched in India for early testing, but I hope this type of service will spread world-wide. A matching service like this could alleviate the time, cost, and need for blood donations. Say goodbye to blood drives, say hello to Uber Blood!
  3.  Glassbreakers (https://www.glassbreakers.co/)
    I consider myself a feminist. Most of my mentors, who have influenced my career and goals, have been female. I also find that my female colleagues are more likely to be detail-oriented, hard-working, and determined (again, no offense to the guys, but this is simply my observation). This work-ethic may be the product of a male-dominated system. In a recent Rutgers MBS Alumni event, all female panelists concurred that gender was an obstacle they needed to overcome in building their careers. Glassbreakers is a great service that matches young women with female mentors that are only 5-10 years older. I believe mentorships can help grow careers significantly. Through this app, young professional women will gain access to support and advice on professional growth. The old saying was "behind every great man is a great woman", but the new saying might be "behind every great woman is another great woman".
  4. Open Utility (https://www.openutility.com/)
    Our society is hypocritical in the way it addresses the energy crisis. Although we have ways to generate renewable energy, much of it is still being wasted. This is possibly due to the pseudo-monopolization of energy companies. Open Utility provides a marketplace for places like farms and schools to sell their excess solar power. A consumer will be matched to excess energy providers based on a profile they are looking for, such as low cost or local sellers. There is no need for contracts or regular billing. You can just purchase from any provider of choice when you need more. Currently based in London, I do hope this type of open market for energy (like Open Utility's) will spread internationally.
  5. Switch (http://www.switchapp.com/)

 The internet has made many things easier for us, but there is one thing that has become more of a hassle because of it: job applications! You can apply for hundreds of job openings that you’re perfectly qualified for and not get a single interview. With the time it takes to write all of those cover letters and tailor your resume to each application, it can basically be a full-time job on its own! I’ve often compared the job search to dating. The implementation of the Tinder model to job searching is genius in my opinion. Job seekers simply create a profile and Switch provides them with personalized job opportunities. On the other side is a hiring manager and if they swipe to match with you, you get connected directly with them. This is a much more personal experience than submitting your resume and cover letter into a system that automatically filters candidates. Maybe we need to switch up our job searching methods and use to this app to help us land that dream job!

 These are amazing innovative ideas to solve big problems in different industries that affect many people. I'm sure there are more companies out there that are utilizing the Tinder Strategy for good. While some may think that Tinder is contaminating the way people view each other in the dating world, maybe it's not so terrible that they're successful. You can view Tinder, in a way, as a proof-of-concept for online matching services of any type. When used in different applications, this model has the potential to create valuable connections that never would have occurred otherwise. What type of connection would you swipe right for?