Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Whitney Wolfe Herd
Whitney Wolfe Herd is an American entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of publicly traded Bumble, Inc, an online dating platform, launched in 2014. She was previously the vice president of marketing for Tinder. Wolfe Herd was named as one of 2017’s and 2018’s Forbes 30 Under 30, and in 2018 she was named in the Time 100 List. In February 2021, Wolfe Herd became the world’s youngest, female, self-made billionaire when she took Bumble public. She is the youngest woman to have taken a company public, at age 31.
5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling. Qualman is also the inventor of the bestselling board game Kittycorn.
Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.
Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Whitney Wolfe Herd
[5:40] Tip #1
“Your brand really formed around your mission. And I think that if you are really true to your mission, and you stay very rooted to achieving that mission, your brand, and your values, and your culture and everything else really start to form around that. So of course, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs along the way, which any entrepreneur will have. And you can never expect the journey to be perfect or linear or easy. But if you really just try to say what is my Northern Star, where do I really put that pin in the map, and work backward from that every single day, no matter how big or small the task is, your brand will really start to form around it.”
[7:12] Tip #2
“You have to be willing to be receptive to feedback. And usually, the customer will give you the best feedback because they are not worried about hurting your feelings. And they are the ones that are actually troubleshooting in a very genuine way. And so early on throughout Bumble, and still to this day, our customer drives the majority of the changes and innovations that we make, you know, very early on on Bumble, women had to make the first move in 24 hours. However, for heterosexual matches, the man could respond whenever there was no time set. And this was a misstep on our part. But it was the customer base that told us and said, Hey, this doesn’t feel fair, this doesn’t feel equitable, please change this. And so we did immediately. And so that’s just one very small example of how you have to be receptive to feedback, and you have to listen, and the customer will be your greatest Guiding Light, they actually were the ones that set the stage for Bumble BFF, early on. And we’re really excited to see what they come up with next.”
[8:25] Tip #3
“As a founder and as a CEO, it is on you as an entrepreneur, to be able to decipher what matters most. And so we’ve always really tried to make informed decisions for the mission, even if it meant sacrificing a huge growth opportunity or short term when really saying how do we stay the course for the long term? How do we make the best decision for the customer in the long term that will not impede on our mission and values in any way? Truly, people want to invest in authenticity and in a genuine mission. And so just always stay rooted to that and never shift gears for what you might think someone wants to hear. Just stay very true to your brand.”
[9:34] Tip #4
“99% of it was an uphill battle. Very few people early on believed in this mission. It’s interesting. Two of my biggest supporters were men, my business partner, and my now husband. And then of course my core early team, my family outside of that I was a crazy person. According to the internet, according to most people, I went to school with that’s good and that healthy. People are telling you that they don’t believe in what you’re doing, it means you’re doing something out of their comfort zone. And generally, people don’t want to be taken out of their comfort zone because it’s outside of the status quo. And if you’re doing anything disruptive, and if you know it to be good and true and progressive, let the naysayers fuel you to work harder and to go faster, and sleep less, and will take care of yourself. But I think that it’s actually a really good sign. If people are telling you it’s not going to work because it means that it’s something new, unique, and interesting.”
[10:57] Tip #5
“You think beyond yourself, you think about the other people that might be going through something similar. And if it was happening to me, it was happening to millions of other women and boys and men who knows who’s being affected by this something that’s devastating to so many people. I mean, we’re seeing, you know, a huge increase in suicide rates because of social media and this need for validation, and this, you know, awful kind of ripple effect that it causes. And so how do you pick yourself up in a dark moment? Listen, we’re all going to have dark moments. And people have had lot a lot darker moments than I have. Everything is relative, and I know how fortunate I am. But I think whenever you’re feeling like it’s the end, you have to remember somebody else, many others are feeling that way. And how can you take something that breaks your heart and build a solution out of that? So I started thinking about it this way, we’re all attacking one another online. And I started thinking, how could we how can we solve this, I started thinking about women and girls and the way women and girls are treated, and I said, Okay, well, let’s just make a female-only social network, but they can only speak to one another with compliments, there will be no free-flowing negative behavior, we’re not going to focus on physical, we’re not going to talk about how skinny someone looks or how pretty someone looks. We’re going to talk about how much they add to this planet, they make you smile, or they made your day whatever it was. And so I started “concepting.” And getting into the process this app that would have been called Merci, still sad that we don’t have it, but we’ve kind of manifested it, we’ll get there later and Bumble BFF. So that’s why I started working on it. And you know, as life goes, I got an email out of the blue from my now business partner.”
[13:02] Tip #6
“It’s worth noting, every professional that we worked with at the time told us if we did that they would not work with us anymore. They were like, This is the stupidest thing you’re ever going to do. You’re going to alienate your users. Why would you ever do this and our small little bands? Internally, we were such a small team at the time. And actually, the woman that just read the letter, that’s Alex Williamson, and she wrote it, she’s our Chief Brand Officer. And so it was a labor of love this like a small unit of our early female team. And, you know, we were group texting one morning, and it was like, I don’t know, Tuesday or something. And we sent through some of the screenshots that had been posted on Twitter. And it was the woman that Connor had abused, and she’d publicly, you know, posted his behavior. So we weren’t invading anyone’s privacy. But we all talked on this group text, we’re like, we have to do something about this. Let’s call her let’s call his mom. And we were going all extreme. And we said, you know, I actually know let’s use this as an as a moment, let’s write him a letter, let’s write an open letter not to Conor not just to Connor, but to every Connor out there anyone that might want to behave like honor anyone that might feel like that’s cool or expected. And you have to also think about this moment in time digital connection, it was going rampant in an abusive direction. And Bumble has been this incredible catalyst to kind of reverse engineer that. But so that was the thinking around Connor. And we had been told by several people, you cannot do this, our firm will not represent you anymore, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, whatever. And so that’s why we have to follow your values. Why would you go into business if you’re not going to build a business to progress society or to do something differently or better or make the world a better place in some way, shape, or form I truly believe but I truly believe that every single person has been affected either directly or indirectly by a disempowered relation, abusive, romantic relationship, boss, situation, co-worker, friend, coach, teacher, whatever it is disempowered relationships are toxic, and they are genuinely an app. It is an epidemic. And people don’t talk enough about the misogynistic epidemic that we all live with it and so if you’re not going to push those values, even if It means risking everything. Even if the company had a rat, I would have been able to sleep at night because we had done the right thing. And that’s truly how I think every founder in this generation needs to operate and cannot just do something to hopefully achieve the bottom line. And by the way, we’re at a run rate of 200 million revenue, we did not hurt ourselves by doing that.”
[15:34] Tip #7
“I would say it’s our DNA, our values, our mission, our Northern Star apart Northern Star is how do we end misogyny as a company, as a team as a brand as a movement? Our user base can participate, right? What are the vehicles to do that, and those are values of kindness, and accountability, which are so important, there’s such a lack of accountability with the way people behave digitally, and, and in real life, empowerment, equality, how can we live those values and everything we do? And when I say everything we do, it’s almost obnoxious. To a certain point, people are kind of like, really have to make sure that it checks all those boxes today, you know, everything, how we respond to certain things, how we build our marketing strategy. I mean, everything we do is all about pushing that Northern Star. So we just announced, that we’re going into Bumble beauty. Why are we doing that? We want to reinvent the beauty market from a mental health perspective, from a perspective that encourages women to be empowered and confident, not disempowered by these archaic standards and norms. So every single thing we do is all about pushing our values, everything. And that is why we grow that is our fuel because it’s authentic, it’s genuine. And my hope for anyone in the audience or beyond that is starting a business running a business, you have to have a Northern Star, and you have to make sure that that’s what your team gets out of bed for every single day. Otherwise, it’s just not enough anymore.”
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The Super U Podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.