Like so many other Americans, Tinder founder Sean Rad is the child of immigrants.
His parents are originally from Iran, and although he was in Sydney, Australia on Tuesday, far from the rolling protests in the United States against what has become known as President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban, the issue could not be ignored.
The dating technology company has employees in the U.S. who are not citizens, but Rad told Mashable everyone is secure for now.
Tinder is watching the situation closely, he added. “We have a very diverse culture. Everyone is in the U.S. and they’re good … We’re focused on our employees and making sure that they feel safe.”
Although the one-time Tinder CEO, now chairman, has a reputation for speaking out of turn, he was measured Tuesday on the subject of Trump’s executive order. The ban, announced Friday, suspends travel for 90 days for those from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.
“There are much better ways, I think, to approach the problems around immigration,” he said. “I’m happy that the American people are free to speak up against things that they disagree with, even when your president does it.”
Hopefully, Trump is listening to those making their voices heard, he added. “No one’s perfect. No organisation, not even your president what matters is that they’re listening.”
By speaking on the topic, Rad is adding his voice to a swath of Silicon Valley leaders, from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to Uber’s Travis Kalanick, who have commented on the ban in recent days.
“I’m happy that the American people are free to speak up against things that they disagree with, even when your president does it.”
While his comments were by no means as forceful as those of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who called the ban “so un-American it pains us,” Rad did add that Silicon Valley leaders have a responsibility to speak out about social issues.
“Any organisation that represents large groups of people has a responsibility,” he said. “We have these large platforms, and I think we have a responsibility to do good for our users and society.”
Although he pointed out that Tinder is a much smaller company than a lot of the other brands making their views known, Rad suggested this week could mark the beginning of increased activism in Silicon Valley.
“I think especially with this election, a lot of CEOs of these big tech companies have stepped up and taken a more active role in real world issues, and I think you’ll see more of that,” he added.
And is he worried that all the marching, vigils and sit-ins will keep people away from dating and off of Tinder?
“I haven’t heard anything like that,” he laughed. “But I would imagine it should inspire you to seek out a partner to grieve with. And maybe it will help to get out there and date and socialise more, and hear other people’s perspectives.”