Or at least something close to such a saying could be concluded about the major hit that Tinder, the social platform slash mobile matching app, took earlier this week, when allegations of harassment and abusive behavior were brought forward by the former vice-president of marketing, Whitney White. In brief, it seems that White had been stripped off of her co-founder status and, despite her contribution to the development of the app, it appears that her short romantic affair with one of the other co-founders, Justin Mateen, counted more then her perfomance and got her side-lined. Mateen publicly offended White in front of other Tinder colleagues and had stated that White's inclusion among Tinder's managing team would limit the start-up's potential growth.
Apart from all the legal claims as well as dancing around the no-longer-a-secret fact that Silicon Valley has developed a male culture around the start-up environment, with extremely few women placed in management positions, another facet of the story should worry more - in today's business environment, it takes so little to build a massively-engaging mobile start-up, but its scalability can get out of control in months and surpass the founders' capacity to grow alongside it. BusinessWeek's article on the whole Tinder situations expresses this the best:
It is not an easy task to keep your start-up in a leash once it is out there - and, frankly, why would you? Investors relay on fast marketability and adoption of any app and combining these two can place in you in Forbes' "30 under 30" list - as happened with Mateen and Sean Rad, Tinder's other co-founder.
But all these come with a price - that of responsability for what you have created and, considering how we tend to make our private lives more public, responsability for our own thoughts and beliefs. Building a highly successful product or service entails a tag placed on the forehead of the creator and his voice is more powerful for the ones that look up to that person. Add the above to the pictures at the of the article in Businessweek - all these create the image of a personal inability to scale.
Mateen and Rad seem to have been in pole position of building Tinder, because it represented some of their core beliefs about their surroundings - and that is not intrinsically a bad thing. But it takes a different mentality to be able to transform your moral values into a professional asset from a business point of view - because what might work for you when you are just a regular individual, could damage your start-up right when you are on top of the Valley.