Swipe With — Yibing Gu

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!

Mike Hall

Yibing Gu: Senior Data Analyst, Business Analytics Team

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I was very passionate about math and started thinking in numbers at a young age. I figured I’d grow up to be a mathematician and, although that didn’t happen, applied math has always been a big part of what I do.

How did you get into tech?

I’d like to think I’ve been in “tech” for longer than my Tinder tenure. Growing up, I participated in many Math and Physics Olympiad competitions. This allowed me to form logical thinking skills and cultivate a strong interest in technology. Later on, I went to Shanghai Jiao Tong University and MIT for undergraduate and graduate school, which are both very engineering oriented (SJTU is located in Minhang district of Shanghai, so we also call it Minhang Institute of Technology, “MIT”, jokingly). I majored in economics and mathematical finance at both schools.

After grad school, I worked in marketing and management consulting for about four years before joining Tinder. I focused on advertising, marketing and customer analytics/strategies for Fortune 500 clients across many verticals. Although it was challenging work, I feel that the tech companies have the tools to make the best data-driven decisions. Machine learning and artificial intelligence also fascinate me, so I decided to make a career change.

Who has been your biggest mentor?

Maria Zhang, Tinder’s CTO, is a great role model because she inspires me to push my boundaries. I also appreciate the mentorship I received from Regina Chang, who was my Manager at Epsilon. She helped me grow from a student into a working professional. I’m thankful for her guidance on how to interact with people in professional and networking environments, which is important to success in any industry.

Why did you come to Tinder?

I knew I wanted to transition into tech. During my search I focused on the company culture, business model and product as I was interviewing at any company. I attended CES this past January and found Tinder’s VR product display humorous. This fun stunt is what led me to research more about Tinder and ultimately apply.

What is your role at Tinder?

My role at Tinder is to analyze and derive actionable insights from data so that our teams can make better decisions. I focus on analyzing user engagement, especially the post-match experience and the overall impact on retention and growth of Tinder.

However, I’m always encouraged to explore and look for meaningful insights across the board. This is one of my favorite things about working at Tinder, especially when compared to the more client-oriented and limited consulting nature of working for large corporations at my previous jobs.

What is the biggest technical challenge you’re solving right now?

From a technical perspective, scalability is no doubt the most challenging part of my current work. As a global platform, the data I work with is naturally at a larger scale when compared to any of my past roles.

Can you describe a few of the Tinder features you are working on now and/or you have helped build in the past?

I am currently helping with the development of some new post-match features that will be released soon. We’re aiming to create a fun post-match experience for our users, which will improve overall engagement with the app. I’m also excited to be working on the integration of more machine learning techniques into feature development down the road.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?

The sociological and psychological nature of the Tinder product intrigues me. Proving or disproving hypotheses and uncovering facts from data is where I find fulfillment. It’s not just a job, it’s a hobby. Many people at Tinder are genuinely interested in the problems we are trying to solve and are strong believers in data. My coworkers are interested in my findings and appreciate the value I’m bringing to the table.

What is your favorite Tinder feature and why?

The swipe. To me, it’s the most iconic feature of Tinder, and it’s so fun. I found myself trying to swipe in another app the other day that recently released a very similar layout to our Tinder Gold interface. It’s amazing to see how this simple gesture is used everywhere today.

What are 3 things someone who is considering working at Tinder should know?
  1. Tinder is really a fun and cool place to work. We work hard and also have a lot of fun! Tinder participates in beach volleyball in the summer, has a mini basketball court at the LA office, yoga/fitness classes after work, periodic puppy visits, petting zoos and more. Our company rewards our hard work both inside and outside of the office.
  2. Tinder is a grown-up start-up. Our employee to user impact ratio is unheard of in the industry!
  3. Tinder still has a small-team culture and things are moving fast, which is why those who are not only creative but proactive are successful here. There are always things you can help improve upon and learn from, so don’t just stay in your comfort zone.
If you could use 3 adjectives to describe Tinder’s culture, what would they be?

Fun, energetic, unique

What is one fun fact about you?

I always take out the cheese from salads or sandwiches, but I could eat a whole cheesecake by myself. It’s weird, I know.