Amanda Bradford got her MBA from Stanford and raised a couple million dollars to start a dating app that’s supposedly loser-free.
Specifically, her app The League strives to use a Linked In-based algorithm to invite only young single people who are “mum and dad approved” to use it. Everyone else who wants to join has to stay on a long waitlist until they’re deemed cool enough.
Some people have taken issue with the app and called it “elitist.” Like one Stanford senior who recently wrote on Facebook that they were “utterly ashamed” the app came out of their school.
“I just wanted to say, as a Stanford senior, I am totally and utterly ashamed that this dating service came out of Stanford….is it possible to get more elitist than this?” The person wrote in response to an internship listing The League put on Facebook.
“Does it even cross your mind that you are endorsing the idea that wealth, class, and privilege determine a person’s character? Do you realise there are millions of people out there who are kinder, nicer, harder working, more devoted, passionate, and interesting people than those who you believe are “qualified” for your service, but that simply do not have the same opportunities as you, and I, have had?”
Bradford was not amused and responded to each line using the hashtages “#kidsTheseDays and #dontmesswithmerightnow.” She finished her long-winded rebuttal with, “Unfortunately, based on the intellectual rigour you demonstrated in your work above, you wouldn’t meet our criteria, but please tell your friends we’re hiring!”
Here’s the full response from Bradford the the student defending her startup:
Hi Stanford Senior,
Oh to be 21 again. Let’s dissect your jumbled and imprecise argument question by question, shall we?
[I JUST WANTED TO SAY, AS A STANFORD SENIOR, I AM TOTALLY AND UTTERLY ASHAMED THAT THIS DATING SERVICE CAME OUT OF STANFORD]
As a Stanford MBA, I am totally and utterly ashamed that this poorly constructed argument below came out of Stanford…
[IS IT POSSIBLE TO BE MORE ELITIST THAN THIS?]
Is it possible that Stanford admissions standards have gone down?
Let’s start with the definition of elitist: rule by the people who have the most wealth and status in a society, the most successful or powerful group of people. I would postulate that anything that is NOT 100% merit-based and requires one to have money to be part of said group is more elitist than The League. Higher Education in the United States is a great example of this. For instance, I was admitted to Dartmouth based on academic merit. However, I could not afford to go because they did not offer me financial aid and I didn’t want to take on massive debt. Therefore, in my eyes Dartmouth, and any school that does not offer academic scholarships, in general is more elitist than The League. Charity events, Tahoe ski-leases, Tech Conferences like SXSW could all be put in this category – the list goes on and on of things I STILL can’t afford to do even at 31 due to MBA debt coupled with a startup salary, but I think I’ve made my point. Will move to the next question:
[DOES IT EVEN CROSS YOUR MIND THAT YOU ARE ENDORSING THE IDEA THAT WEALTH, CLASS, AND PRIVILEGE DETERMINE A PERSON’S CHARACTER?]
Anyone can apply and join the League regardless of their income, the family they’re from, their profession, or what schools they have attended. Just like most people at Stanford are not trust fund kids from Atherton, most people in The League did not come from wealth or expensive private schools. Are there some? Of course. No one is denying the fact that success often breeds success. But the common thread in the League community, as I would guess is the same at your school, is the desire to be successful and having the ambition and work-ethic to make an impact somewhere.
[DO YOU REALISE THERE ARE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE….]
I would like to stop you here and point out that you are using the word ‘millions’. Do you really know millions of people? But for the sake of argument, let’s give you the benefit of the doubt that you personally know 1 million people.
[OUT THERE WHO ARE KINDER?]
It’s unclear how you are measuring kindness. Is it hours spent volunteering? Working for or starting a non-profit? Percentage of income donated to charity? Without a definition I cannot necessarily refute this, but given that you don’t cite any anecdotes from those who know me or any members of the League community, I would say this is a pretty poorly constructed argument. Our community is full of members who do all three of those things listed – so what does that mean? For what it’s worth, if you decide to measure kindness by sacrificing your dating life to improve the dating life of others, then I would argue I’m in the top 1% by this standard wink emoticon
Synonym of kinder. Redundant to your argument.
Again, your argument lacks a basis of comparison. Let’s say we decided to measure ‘hard-work’ by hours worked per day, I feel fairly confident that The League community would be above the ‘median’ in this hypothetical group of ‘millions’, if not the top bracket, and I know for a fact I personally would be. I caution you before accusing a group of people you don’t know of lacking a specific character trait, especially one like work-ethic that is largely independent of the ‘class and privilege’ you mention above.
More devoted to what? A Charity? Work? Health? Family? Children? Church? Different people are devoted to different things, and I think that’s what makes people special and unique and why meeting people is so enjoyable. Perhaps many in The League are devoted to advancing their career right now, but who knows, next year it could be new passions, organisations, or children. I’m still perplexed at how you can say that our community’s devotion level is less than these ‘millions of people’ without expressing what it is we are ‘less devoted’ to.
[MORE PASSIONATE AND INTERESTING PEOPLE?]
See the ‘more devoted’ argument above. I will say I’m impressed at your ability to find an even-harder-to-quantify metric than the ones already listed above to rest your case on.
[THAN THOSE WHO YOU BELIEVE ARE “QUALIFIED” FOR YOUR SERVICE]
By law of large numbers, if you add our entire community to your ‘millions of people’, it is statistically impossible that your entire sample is nicer, kinder, harder working, more devoted, more passionate, and more interesting than the community we’ve built. Again, I’d love to know more about these millions of people. How do you know they are not already part of The League? If they really do have the traits you mentioned above, these 1 million friends of yours sound exactly like the kind of people everyone on The League is looking to date. Do us all a favour and send them all this link here! bit.ly/getmeoffTinder
[BUT THAT SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS YOU, AND I, HAVE HAD?]
I’m sorry your 1 million friends have not had opportunities that you have had. Perhaps they could not afford Stanford’s tuition bill. However, The League is free to join and is 100% merit-based, so perhaps you should tell them to sign up so we can finally provide them an opportunity to meet amazing people without requiring them to pay $60,000 a year to gain a ‘network’ of high-achievers. How’s that for an opportunity?
Thanks for responding to our community manager internship. Unfortunately, based on the intellectual rigour you demonstrated in your work above, you wouldn’t meet our criteria, but please tell your friends we’re hiring!