Top Startup Founder Shares Keys to Entrepreneurial Success with Students

Milken students had a rare opportunity to meet with a top startup founder recently, who also happens to be a Milken alumnus! Sean Rad ’04 recently returned to Milken to teach two workshops on entrepreneurial skills. Rad is the Founder and Chairman of Tinder, a global platform that has brought the world closer together by creating more than 20 billion new connections with 2 billion swipes daily in 196 countries and 52 languages.   

In this two-part series, Rad spoke about achieving an entrepreneurial state of mind and always asking how things work the way they do. He told students, “If you want to invent, if you want to change the world, start by understanding this world.” He expressed the importance of understanding your long-term motivation — “the why” behind what you are doing. If your motivation isn’t strong enough, he said, it might not keep you going when you hit a rough patch. He stressed that it is crucial to identify a problem and make sure that your idea provides a solution. Tinder, he explained, was created to eliminate the barriers to meeting new people. He had trouble meeting girls and wanted to find a way to connect.
 
Students also had the chance to pitch their own business ideas to Rad. They received valuable feedback and advice on what they've done and how to execute their ideas into reality. Jared Applebaum ’18 noted, “He gave me advice on marketing strategies, content strategies, and ideas to generate revenue. Sean said he could not think of any flaws in my idea, but that it would take hard work and dedication to execute properly.” He also shared that Rad told him that you need more than just business savvy to be successful. “To move from an idea to execution, you must fall in love with your idea,” was the advice that Applebaum heard from Rad. 
 
What resonated most with Ashton Asherian ’19, was that Rad reiterated the importance of asking questions; always ask why. He went on to say that he couldn’t wait to put the lessons he learned from Rad into practice.

Rad drew from his own experiences to impart wisdom on Milken students. Before founding Tinder in 2012, Rad successfully founded several other tech ventures, similarly focused on enhancing the way people communicate, including Orgoo and Ad.ly.
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