A team of former Tinder employees, led by Tinder's chief technology officer, Ryan Ogle, today launches a new application for professional networking. The application, called Ripple, aims to be a kind of mobile alternative to LinkedIn that solves some of the problems common to the aging business management platform, now owned by Microsoft.
LinkedIn is focusing today on job search and head hunting, which is only a subset of professional networks, and is facing such problems as unwanted connection requests and inbox spam.
In addition, LinkedIn appeared in the era of the computer-based Web, which limited its ability to take full advantage of what the mobile can offer, says Ogle.
However, he is careful to point out that Ripple (not to be confused with crypto-currency, by the way), is not just a "Tinder for business networking."
Rather, it takes some of the psychological principles that helped Tinder become a superior application in its own market, and reused those for use in professional networking.
"You have to tackle the problems of professional networks, it's not as simple as running profiles on a screen," says Ogle about competing apps that have tried to get into the space of business networking in the past.
"People have misunderstood why Tinder succeeded," he continues. "Certainly, the shot was interesting, engaging, and fun, but the reasons Tinder did it were much deeper than that." We've been thinking a lot about networking psychology and problems … which holds people back and prevents them from happening. to achieve what they want to accomplish. "
On other dating platforms, it was common to allow people to post messages to anyone they liked. Tinder, on the other hand, shifted attention to the next person, not who you tried to reach and who rejected you.
In this way, Tinder addressed the stress of pursuit or pursuit. It only connects you when an agreement is agreed by mutual agreement and does not show you the history of your previous "likes".
With Ripple, the goal is to adopt a similar approach to solving problems related to business networks, which differ from those of the dating world.
Ripple was born as an internal Tinder hackathon project. But instead of presenting business networking as a feature of Tinder (as did Bumble), the company realized that it deserved to be its own application.
The IAC correspondence group, owner of Tinder and a number of other dating applications, has entered into an agreement with Tinder to transform Ripple App Corp. into a separate society and finance it. Match Group now holds an undisclosed minority interest in the new application. The company has no other outside investment, although the founders have invested their own money.
In addition to Ogle, other co-founders include Tinder's first Android developer, Paul Cafardo, and Tinder's lead designer, Gareth Johnson.
Despite Ogle's claims that Ripple is not just a biz-flavored Tinder, Ripple feels very familiar.
Getting started is pretty simple. At launch, the app can automatically extract your information from existing networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google when you sign up, allowing profiles to be populated faster.
You are then taken to a screen where you can select your interests – such as sales, marketing, technology, etc.
While taking advantage of the scanning mechanism, he tries to minimize Tinder's interest in photos by adding more textual information to users' maps, without having to leave their profile: history of tasks, skills, education, mutual relations and present events.
But at the end of the day, Ripple shows you stacks of photos that you sweep, saying "yes" or "no".
The application additionally offers a way to find potential nearby connections, a way to create events and groups that other users can choose to join.
More controversial, there is a "facial scan" feature that – as you guessed it – allows you to aim your smartphone on someone 's face (or a photo of someone else). them) to find them on Ripple.
In theory, this should be used with consent – to speed up the addition of new connections and the use of business cards. We have not been able to test this in the real world to see if it works remotely, which could be problematic.
There are, of course, other concerns with a Tinder-inspired business networking application: the potential harassment of people using the app for non-professional purposes. Ripple will try to solve this problem with a built-in reporting feature in a future release (it was not ready for version 1, but the company is not expecting a large number of new releases. users in its early days, we are told.)
Report users will later also implicate a mini-game based on a scan, in which users can mark others for a variety of issues. Ripple's algorithms will use this activity, combined with other signals, to filter out the bad actors – including not only stalkers, but also those whose advances are not appreciated for other reasons, such as recruiters or spammers.
"This is going to be one of our big differentiators, we are going to be very aggressive in eliminating people who do things for non-professional reasons," says Ogle.
We could only test the beta version of Ripple, which had a number of bugs. I hope that these will be treated at launch.
Ripple is available today on iOS and Android.