Come say hello

Back in 2012, dating was a much slower process that involved happenstance, awkward conversation and gradual understanding.

Then came Tinder, and all of a sudden, first meetings happened online and the right swipe became a universal symbol for a positive response.

In the years since, the company has seen its app used almost all over the world, with some tales ending in casual encounters and others reaching the aisle of matrimony.

The formula behind this steady success, according to Tinder India head Taru Kapoor, is keeping it simple and putting the interests of the user first. Excerpts from an interview:

Tinder was all the rage a year ago, with social media being alight with stories and references. Now that the buzz has died down, what have you been up to?

It was very new in India a year ago, and now it has become normalised. The foundation has remained the same. It works just like real life – you meet people, and if you are interested, you connect. What it does is take away a lot of the friction of real life.

Other than that, we’ve just been making incremental changes, because we already know the concept is working and why it’s working.

One of the newer features is Tinder Social, because in real life, you meet people one-on-one, and you meet people in groups. So we recreated that dynamic and brought it online.

The app seems to be viewed differently in different cities – as a connection platform in smaller cities and as a casual hookup app in metropolitan ones. Has this perception affected the way you develop it?

If you think about it, this perception comes mostly from people who haven’t tried using it. There are people looking for friends, to date, to just meet up and see what happens – the whole spectrum.

Context also matters, and the experience will change as people around you change, but you are still able to express yourself and find people looking for similar things. The concept of dating, particularly online dating, is still new in India, and it is hard to meet people outside the comfort zone of friends, family and colleagues. As more people experience it and meet other people who’ve met through Tinder or got married, it will become normal.

What about user retention? If the app does what it’s supposed to and builds successful relationships, you would expect a steady number of users to quit using it.

Yes, but any time you have a positive experience, you’re likely to tell five other people about it, and that positive feedback is more powerful than anything we can do, and it improves trust in the platform. Success is when we can enable something to happen in real life.

Are you on Tinder? What has your experience been like?

I got married in 2013, before I knew about Tinder. However, I do use it to interact with users and get feedback, and I generally tell people I work for Tinder.

Do people believe you? What’s the best reaction you’ve got?

Sometimes people think I’m joking, but it’s usually any interesting conversation. I’ve even got resumes. You also hear these stories about how people have been referred for jobs by people they matched with, entrepreneurs who’ve hired employees and people who use it as a travel guide by meeting local people. It is actually one of the best platforms to meet 18 to 30-year-olds, where people talk about their hobbies and what they’re good at.

And you’re fine with giving people this platform and saying, ‘Here it is, do what you want with it?’

We just make it easy for people to connect. We’re like the ‘hello’, and we just want to take away the awkwardness and fear of interacting with new people.

Chemistry will always be inherent to people, you can’t do anything about that.

People may meet and become friends, get married or have a stimulating conversation about a book and never talk again afterwards, just like in real life.

The whole spectrum of possibility of human relationships exists on Tinder.

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Printable version | Jul 23, 2021 8:24:02 PM |

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