It was amusing to note that Sean Rad, the Tinder co-founder and CEO, had dinner with Matthew Freud the night before his car-crash interview with the Evening Standard this week. Clearly Rad, who boasted about his wealth and supermodels "begging" him for sex, and even misused the word sodomy in the interview, didn’t pick up any tips on how to handle the press during his encounter with the PR guru.
If you want to remain in the top job, you do have to grow up eventually
The interview, which came just before Tinder parent Match Group’s IPO this week, unsurprisingly went viral. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Match stated it not approve or condone Rad’s comments. It’s not the first time Match has tried to distance itself from the 29-year-old Tinder boss.
Rad had to be reinstalled as CEO in August after he was briefly ousted for his involvement in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
But while Rad’s unbelievably obtuse sound bites have sent the world’s media into overdrive, Wall Street wasn’t interested - Match was up 22% on its first day’s trading.
It can’t surprise anyone that the founder of a hook-up app has the emotional intelligence of a horny adolescent. He may hold the title of chief executive but there is clearly nothing corporate about him. Like the notorious founder of American Apparel, Dov Charney, Rad is a gambler.
He is the type that wears failure as a badge of honour and would dismiss critics as uptight squares, envious of his lifestyle.
Rad is by no means the first tech start-up founder to find out the hard way that the role of CEO doesn’t fit with his skillset
Tinder’s customer base has so far blithely weathered the sexual harassment suit that saw Justin Mateen, Tinder co-founder and CMO, ousted from the company, along with Tinder’s embarrassing meltdown on Twitter in response to a Vanity Fair article suggesting the app was a forum for casual sex. So, it’s likely they’ll be similarly unphased by Sean Rad’s latest revelations.
A tech geek to his very core, Rad managed to build an extraordinary global phenomenon in the space of three years. No one could truly expect him to also be a judicial business man and he is by no means the first tech start-up founder to find out the hard way that the role of CEO doesn’t fit with his skillset.
In 2004, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page risked derailing Google’s IPO by gassing about their future plans for the company in an interview with Playboy magazine.
Despite Rad’s frat-boy musings, Tinder remains bullet proof. The powers that be on Wall Street may not like its founder, but that isn’t putting them off going for a piece of the Tinder pie.
Some founders have managed to get away with making unchecked, egoistic and offensive remarks in public for years without hurting their businesses, as in the case of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary.
But, as O’Leary has discovered, if you want to remain in the top job, you do have to grow up eventually.