Career Code: Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Reveals How to Get Ahead
In honor of our co-founders Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s upcoming book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($13), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (to parallel the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of inspirational female leaders who are at the top of their fields. We spoke to Anna Brockway, co-founder and president of Chairish. Next, the seriously inspiring Whitney Wolfe, founder and CEO of dating app Bumble.
Modern dating is a fickle game. The archaic image of a woman waiting patiently by the phone has been replaced with a flurry of left and right swipes, where banter is quick and true love could be a direct message away. At the heart of the digital dating revolution is one woman: Whitney Wolfe. The inimitable entrepreneur and fierce feminist is leading the way with Bumble, a dating app where women make the first move.
Wolfe's biography reads like a Hollywood script in the making. The Salt Lake City–born CEO was rejected from a marketing program, and spent her college years studying international relations by day and hatching business plans by night. Fresh out of college, she co-founded a little app you might have heard of: Tinder. Wolfe spearheaded the brand’s marketing division and saw the startup grow from a fledgling idea to a $750 million business. After a very public departure from the company, Wolfe resolved to become her own boss and create a platform that put women in the driver's seat.
Enter Bumble. In its first month, the app attracted 100,000 users with a very simple claim: Give women the power to choose. Dubbed the “first feminist dating app,” with rave reviews from the likes of Business Insider and Vogue, it’s clear the 26-year-old founder is changing the dating game, one swipe at a time.
We spoke to tech's brightest star to discover her top tips to supercharge your career. Keep scrolling—serious inspiration ahead!
“I run Bumble, a female-driven social app that strives to connect people in a confident way, regardless of what they’re searching for, [be it] love, friends, fun—anything! I am the CEO, so I wear a lot of hats, but I love the madness of it all.”
“How nonstop it is. It literally never slows down. My phone rarely leaves my side, and the amount of thought and attention every aspect of the company requires would surprise many.”
“I wore a blazer; skinny jeans; a cute, conservative blouse; and Chanel flats. I didn’t end up getting the job, but at least I had a cute first interview look!”
“Anne Wojcicki. I think she is brilliant, and I love what she is doing with 23andme. She is focusing on something so important: DNA-based ancestry testing. It’s something we as millennials need to think about more often.”
“I regret not pushing the envelope with some fun and creative marketing ideas I have had. In fear of them being too grandiose or risky, I have sometimes taken a safer route. I think breaking the rules (not the law) can be healthy and help you grow into something you might not have known was possible.”
“Kindness, curiosity, passion, potential, and energy.”
“Manolos, Frame dark jeans, an Equipment blouse, a fun IRO jacket, and, of course, a boss-lady bag. It’s allllllll about the bag!”
“It’s her first week on the job, so… mental! (Kidding.) I think, and I hope she would say that I am passionate, driven, optimistic, and goal-oriented. She would for sure not compliment my organizational skills—that I can likely guarantee. I am very, very conscious of the happiness of the team. That is always my priority—making sure everyone is happy and feeling motivated. That, along with the happiness of our users, is what defines the success of our company.”
“Red, red wine. Hot yoga. Picking up a fun book. Hanging out with my mom. A good laugh with my childhood best friends. These things usually bring me back to life.”
“Wish everyone the best and nothing but the best, thank your co-workers for the good times, and move on.”
“I love a good kale salad with chicken, or anything I have time for. It becomes kind of all the same when you’re moving at the speed of light every day. Just eat! Fuel is needed.”
“Trying too hard to be perfect. Be creative, not perfect. Think outside of the box and innovate; don’t try to fit some mold. I would rather an entry-level employee suggest a disruptive idea with zero structure than try and be organized in a boring spread sheet with no room for growth or innovation.”
“Walking my dogs helps bring things back to simplicity and helps maintain the importance of routine. I enjoy cooking with my boyfriend; I love nothing more than unwinding from a long day with my babe, some good food, and a couple glasses of red wine. I like to try and read a bit before bed. It helps turn off the anxiety or stress from the day and take your mind somewhere else.”
“Keep it simple, stupid.”
“Bumble BFF! We are so so so thrilled to help women and men find friends. It is hard as we move around and are busy. Friends are so important.”
Ready to kick some goals? Preorder The Career Code below and transform your work life.
Which inspiring woman would you like us to feature next? Tell us in the comments below.