Another Dating App?! A Kellogg MBA Thinks So

Dating App

Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?

Shakespeare wasn’t talking about vegetables, exercise, or Netflix when he penned those words centuries ago. They were suggestive and a little risqué. The question could also be applied to the world of dating apps. At best, many are a useful dating alternative and screening tool for working and single young professionals. At worst, they are juvenile and, well, concerning.

We can all thank Tinder for that. Three years ago, Tinder launched and exploded. From frat bros to divorced teachers, people went bananas for what’s commonly known as the “hookup app.”

But the late summer and autumn have not been great for Tinder. In August, Vanity Fair devoted about 5,000 words to a report examining why Tinder is perpetuating a New York City hookup culture. Tinder responded with an epic Twitter meltdown and the firing of their CEO. Just this week the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV warned Tinder and similar apps could create an “explosion” of STDs.

A NEW CONTENDER IN A CROWDED MARKET

In the wake of Tinder’s initial dating disruption, stealthy competitors can be found taking advantage of the fragmented, albeit crowded, market. And many were launched by MBAs. Harvard MBAs are behind the likes of Coffee Meets Bagel, Jess, Meet Kim, and Hinge. Amanda Bradford, a Stanford GSB alum, created League.

And now, Fahim Naim, who holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, insists he’s created the next dating app to disrupt how people meet and connect. How? Instead of massive profile curation and scanning, Naim’s app, SneakPeek, forces potential daters to converse before even being able to view the others’ profile.

The first interaction a user has with another user will be a two-minute conversation via webcam. And the two won’t be talking about where they went to school or their dogs. They’ll be prompted with questions aimed to reveal “values and things that matter most to them,” Naim explains. If both parties enjoy the brief and digital encounter, only then is identification and profile information revealed.

The idea came to Naim, 32, from a combination of listening to “hundreds” of friends and acquaintances lament about everything wrong with current dating apps and a pre-MBA trip to East Africa.

‘I HAD PEOPLE REPORTING TO ME WHO WERE TWICE MY AGE’

The Miami-native graduated from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 2005 and climbed the Office Depot ranks. His LinkedIn profile reveals a promotion nearly every two years as well as performing “special projects for the office of the CEO,” he tells Poets&Quants in a San Francisco coffee shop-by-day, bar-by-night establishment.

“I had people reporting to me who were twice my age,” Naim says, confidently. “I was told by multiple people I’d basically be a VP in a few years if I stayed there.”

But Naim, who comes off as intelligent as he does confident and friendly, could see the “writing on the walls” for the brick and mortar office supply chain.

JUMPING SHIP ON A FLEETING MARKET

“It probably wasn’t the best idea for me to stay in an industry that was decreasing in size and losing market share to the online world,” Naim says. “I could see the shift from brick and mortar to e-commerce. I could see other players getting into the office supply industry.”

Naim says he witnessed multiple failed mergers between Staples, Office Depot, and Office Max. “Funny enough, fast forward 10 years or so and they’re all one company now,” he says, while adding in one year Office Depot went from opening 100 stores a year to stopping all expansion and retreating on recent lease contracts.

“I caught the tail end of everything going well, where basically anything you threw up on the wall would stick,” he admits. “And you feel like it’s because of your intelligence, but it’s probably more because of the economy.”

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