I hate networking. Or at least the type of networking that consists of awkward happy hours where no one knows each other and you’re approached every five seconds by some over-eager “networker” who seemingly has an endless pocket full of business cards.
But, here’s the thing, that’s only one small type of networking. In its broader and much less aggressive form, networking is good, and is probably the reason many of us have the job we have today. By definition, networking is “the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Who doesn’t want that!?
Bumble, the popular swipe-based dating app understands this, so is launching a feature to help users temporarily set aside dreams of love so they can match with someone who may help them advance their career.
The feature will work almost identically to regular Bumble which is designed to help you find a partner, and Bumble BFF which is designed to help you find a new friend. In fact, Bumble’s co-founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe says that BumbleBizz “was always part of the overall vision – to enable people to connect at the key engagement points in life. For love, for friendship and now for network.”
BumbleBizz will be swipe-based, and let users create a new professional profile (which will exist separate from their dating profile) that holds information like what industry they work in, what their current job is, their education and more. The company will then use this information combined with geographical data to have an algorithm match users whose professional lives may benefit from being connected.
And while the algorithm won’t take gender into account (meaning professional matches can be comprised of two people from the same or opposite sex), Bumble will still keep with tradition in requiring that woman have to initiate the post-match conversation.
So do people want to replace LinkedIn with Bumble, and will the dating app do a good job at matching people? That’s something we’ll have to wait to find out, ebpecially since Bumble isn’t launching the feature until the fall.
But when it comes to professional networking, it tends to be true that only a very very small percentage of connections (virtual or real-live) actually will lead to an opportunity of a lifetime. But that one opportunity, whether it be meeting someone who works at your dream job or meeting someone who is your future co-founder, can literally change your life.
So, even if BumbleBizz matches you up with 100 people and only 1 ends up benefiting you, it could be worth it. Plus, most of us agree that the professional networking industry is already a dud, so what does Bumble have to lose?
The launch of BumbleBizz means that in just a year and a half, the dating startup has over 5.5 million users using its platform to find love, friendship, and now jobs or business deals. Compare this to Tinder, which hasn’t expanded beyond dating despite having many more active users than Bumble. By expanding beyond dating, Bumble is really trying to become a true lifestyle platform – which means more users (now you don’t have to be looking for love to use Bumble), and much more repeat engagement.