Almost overnight, she became what one reporter called the “Gone Girl” of Silicon Valley.To some, she was a heroic survivor of toxic male start-up culture.Whitney Wolfe, 27, center, the founder and chief executive of Bumble, a female-focused dating app, gathers with her staff at their office in Austin, Tex.From left are Alex Williamson, Sam Fulgham, Chelsea Cain Maclin, Tessa Jacocks, Katherine Rainey and Caroline Ellis. — As at most tech start-ups, the fridge was stocked with green juice and cold brew coffee.Users regularly receive notifications to “bee nice,” sometimes with saucy emojis.But its main innovation may be that it lets women be the hunters, not the hunted.“I always felt that for me as a woman, I always had to wait around,” Ms. “In all other arenas, I was ambitious and a go-getter, but when it came to dating, I wasn’t supposed to go after what I wanted. K., here’s what we’re going to do: Women make the first move.Wolfe did not initially plan to change the dating game. She didn’t have a career plan, exactly, but she had had plenty of jobs.She was 23, unemployed and living with her mother when she took a trip to Los Angeles to visit a fellow alumna of Southern Methodist University. That night, they had dinner with his buddy Sean Rad, who was working at a tech incubator owned by IAC, which would eventually become the birthplace of Tinder. In college, she sold tote bags to raise money for animals affected by the BP oil spill. U., got sorority women to sign up, then immediately crossed the street to the fraternities and told them all the hot girls were on the app.
”This is the headquarters of Bumble, the two-year-old dating app created by Ms.But have we really moved on from the old-school rules of attraction? Wolfe thinks technology turned the traditional mating dance into more of a rumble.“I’d read a lot about the psychology around rejection and insecurity, and I had noticed that when people feel insecure or rejected, they behave aggressively, erratically,” she said.Others felt that she had manipulated her way to power and that the text messages showed her to be as volatile as any angry ex.“For a good amount of time I didn’t feel like me,” she said.“And I think eventually my subconscious just said, ‘Go to work.According to a study from the American Psychological Association last year, Tinder users report lower self-esteem, self-worth and dissatisfaction with their looks, with women more affected.Enter Bumble — or what has been called “feminist Tinder.” It won’t change the rules of dating overnight, but in the ecosystem of online dating, it aims to be a little less agonizing for women.Unlike at most tech start-ups, there was not a single man present.Instead of buzzwords like disruption and market share, the agenda items for that day’s meeting included ghosting (ceasing contact with a romantic partner without an explanation), shirtless selfies and unsolicited photos of male genitalia. Wolfe continued, “then how do we reward people who ghost?“Especially when you can hide behind a screen name or a profile picture. ”Her solution: Men have to wait for a woman to reach out — they can’t initiate the conversation — so rather than feeling rejected if a woman doesn’t reply to their pickup line, they feel flattered if she reaches out to pick up.Emily Witt, the author of “Future Sex,” which documents her experience as a single person in her 30s trying to understand dating and courtship today, thinks the app helps clear up confusion.