Our Swipe With series highlights members of the Tinder team. We are always looking for top talent and inventive problem solvers. Check out our openings here!
Jeffrey Morris: Director of Product Management , Product + Revenue Team
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an author in high school and studied English at UCLA. My passion for writing began in high school after I read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Holden Caulfield’s character spoke to me and I wanted to write stories like that.
After UCLA, I went to the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC to pursue screenwriting and my first screenplay ended up getting optioned by a producer at Sony. At the same time, the producer of Garden State signed me as his client and he managed my short career before I left to pursue a career in technology.
How did you get into tech?
I grew up five minutes from Stanford University and interned at a technology startup called Citizen Sports while I was in college. Citizen Sports had just raised funding from SV Angel and I had the chance to work alongside Mike Kerns (President at Chernin Group) and Jeff Ma, who now leads analytics at Twitter and was the basis for the main character of the book Bringing Down the House. There were no guidelines or instructions and I loved that environment. The company was eventually acquired by Yahoo.
While pursuing my screenwriting career, I became very frustrated with all of the gatekeepers at studios and agencies who prevented me from releasing my products.
I began to reflect on my Citizen Sports internship and realized that there weren’t any barriers in technology. If you have great ideas and partner with talented engineers, you can build amazing products and release them to the entire world.
When a consulting firm offered me a role in Silicon Valley, I accepted the offer and started to work with a publicly traded company on a new marketplace for television and film content. I then landed a role with Zaarly, a Kleiner-Perkins backed startup who made me their first non-founding hire where I focused on growth and user acquisition.
As I worked on the growth team at Zaarly, I began building products and left the company to focus on my own projects. I studied web development in the full-time coding bootcamp at General Assembly and I started to release products that I was building on Product Hunt. I had three products finish #1 on Product Hunt within a few months which gave me awesome exposure within the product community. I knew that I was getting better at my craft and I developed a great level of confidence in my product skills.
Who has been your biggest mentor?
Brian Norgard (Chief Product Officer at Tinder) has been my biggest mentor in technology. When Brian became the leader of the product organization, he trusted me to help lead the Revenue team, which was a big moment in my career. Brian has taught me so much about consumer psychology and the art of building well-designed revenue products that customers actually want. It’s hard to fully explain the amazing impact he has had on my career.
Why did you come to Tinder?
I came to Tinder in 2015 after having a few great conversations with Levi Nitzberg (Head of Recruiting at Tinder). I loved the Tinder product and the mission of the company so I was very curious about the company.
When I joined the team, we were 60 employees and already had a global footprint in over more than 190 countries. I started to think about the “employee headcount” to “size of user base” ratio and realized that Tinder was an incredibly unique opportunity.
We’re still a very small team and the opportunity to build features for a global brand that has insane product market fit and massive scale is exciting for anybody who is thinking about joining the company.
What is your role at Tinder?
As the Director of Product Management (Revenue), I lead the Tinder revenue team with Yiqi Meng (Engineering Manager).
We recently became the top grossing app on iOS (in many countries) for the first time, which is an incredible achievement for our small team. I’m so lucky to work with incredible engineers every single day and honestly they are the true heroes in my mind.
What is the biggest technical challenge you’re solving right now?
Speaking from a product perspective: my main challenges right now are more about prioritizing revenue features rather than any particular technical challenge.
We have a small team and we need to be sure that we’re always building the highest impact revenue products. There are so many temptations to get distracted by new ideas, but we stay focused on delivering one or two amazing products every year and the results speak for themselves.
Can you describe a few of the Tinder features you are working on now and/or you have helped build in the past?
The two revenue features that I’m most proud of are Boost and Tinder Gold.
Boost was my first major product on the Revenue team and has been a very successful feature for us. Beyond its revenue impact, Boost brought our revenue team together and created a great level of trust between Engineering and Product. This project laid the foundation for our future success.
Tinder Gold was just released globally and the early results have been incredible. I started working on the product concept last December, and it was a true labor of love.
Our Revenue engineering team, led by Yiqi Meng and Joe Dao on this product, was absolutely amazing from start to finish. On the design side, Ryan Mick helped bring our collective vision to life and his design work was incredible. One of my favorite parts of the design is the distinctive Gold branding and the gyroscope controlled Gold shimmer on the product - it’s absolutely world class.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
The best of my job is learning from my teammates and having an impact on the real world. When you walk around Los Angeles or travel to a new city, everyone knows about Tinder and has a story to tell you. I’ve literally had dozens of people thank me and tell me that they’re getting married because of Tinder. That’s crazy when you actually think about it.
What is your favorite Tinder feature and why?
Tinder Gold is my favorite feature because our team created a product that helps make people’s lives more efficient, while bringing people together.
The goal of Tinder is to bring people together: introducing two people who may have never connected (if it wasn’t for Tinder) and ultimately leading to a potential date / meeting IRL. Tinder Gold lets subscribers see who has “already liked them” which will ultimately lead to more dates and more amazing real-life connections.
I can’t wait for the day when someone I’ve never met tells me that they’re getting married because of Tinder Gold. That will be the ultimate moment.
If you could use 3 adjectives to describe Tinder’s culture, what would they be?
Really fun, super creative, and fast-paced.
What is one fun fact about you?
I still want to be a writer one day - maybe in like 40 or 50 years.