Whitney Wolfe Herd is the Founder and CEO of Bumble Inc, a company that operates several of the world’s fastest-growing dating apps, including Badoo, Fruitz, and Bumble. Her aim was to disrupt traditional dating norms and create a platform where individuals could establish equitable and healthy relationships. Whitney has received numerous accolades for her achievements, including being named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Forbes “30 Under 30” list, the Bloomberg 50, and InStyle’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World. Her personal experiences have taught her to view challenges as opportunities for growth. Her vision for Bumble, a dating app that prioritizes women’s safety and empowerment, aligned with this year’s International Women’s Day theme of using innovation and technology to achieve gender equality.
Whitney Wolfe Herd’s shares advice on how to be your greatest self in your business journey and personal insights into pivotal moments in her career and how she’s managed to turn challenges into opportunities.
Turn your own challenges into your fuel.
I experienced internet abuse and harassment in the beginning of my profession. I was constantly anxious because the internet seemed to be a frightening and toxic place. I knew there had to be a better way: a kinder, more respectful internet. I could make the online world a safer place for other women by resolving this issue for myself. My own experience inspired me to create Bumble, a place where bad behaviour is not accepted and women feel empowered to make the first move. Except for my closest friends, few others appeared to think that a woman-first dating app was not required or could be successful. I was frequently misjudged. But as a result, we were able to test ideas, to build, and to make Bumble better.
Know your weaknesses, and hire for them.
Back in 2014, when I started Bumble, we didn’t even have an office. Four of us operated out of a two-bedroom apartment, where I would answer calls from a bathtub that was empty. I have, however, learnt to be honest with myself about my skills and faults as we have grown. I’m in marketing. I comprehend branding. I’m not particularly skilled in operations or design, though. As you grow your company, strive to assemble a diversified staff of subject-matter experts while being forthright about your own skills and limitations.
Throw the old rules out the window.
I didn’t follow the typical founders’ path; I never worked as a consultant or attended business school. On paper, my first job was not my ideal one, and it led me in a very different direction. My professional life has not gone as planned or smoothly. Actually, Bumble was created at a time when I had nothing to do with dating apps. I preferred to develop a network for women to compliment one another. But later, the concept evolved into Bumble. The best suggestions, chances, and even jobs throughout the years have often come from unexpected sources. We have to remind ourselves that the old rules of the working world were created by and for men, and make our own.
Don’t glorify the grind.
We work hard at Bumble because without it, we couldn’t have scaled, launched new features, or gone public. However, we don’t exalt the hustler culture. Nobody should compromise their mental well-being in order to advance in their careers. If I’m up early answering emails, I’ll schedule time with my kids in the afternoon. Additionally, we implemented an unlimited paid time off policy and two company-wide weeks off per year during the pandemic, when our mental health suffered greatly as a whole.
Kindness is power.
I am proud of our culture at Bumble. We ensure that our choices and behaviours at work reflect our platform’s principles, which include openness, diversity, accountability, and of course kindness. Asking for assistance is essential since the world demands a lot of us. But keep in mind to also give something back to other people, whether it be your contacts, your time, or even simply your moral support. It matters what you accomplish, but it also matters how you accomplish it.