We Believe That a Gender-Equal World Will Provide Better Opportunities: Priti Joshi
In an interaction with BW People Priti Joshi, Vice President of Strategy, Bumble talks about gender equality and creating a safe work environment.
What do you think about the overall concept of “Equality” at work?
Equality is one of our core values at Bumble that drives our business strategy and is at the center of everything that we do. We believe that a gender-equal world will provide better opportunities for men and women. Given that we spend nearly one-third of our lives at work, ensuring equality in the workplace is a significant part of our focus. While the new-age workforce is increasingly diverse, it is important to keep pushing to reduce things like the gender pay gap and push to combat stereotypes that can negatively impact women and other marginalized groups throughout their careers.
Share your journey so far and about your journey with Bumble?
I started my role as the Director of Strategy at Bumble in April 2018, leading special projects with a strong passion for Bumble’s mission to end misogyny and promote equality around the world. Today, I lead the Strategy and Analytics team that focuses on data and insights to better inform ways to fuel growth for our business across existing and new markets. My role also enables me to bring science to the art of business strategy and use creative insights from data and market research to ensure sustainable growth for Bumble.
I also have a heavy focus on expanding Bumble’s global presence by looking at our strategic approach in both established and new markets around the world. Last year I led the strategic launch for Bumble in India and have been fortunate to work closely with our growing team in India ever since.
How has been business in India for Bumble, what kind of growth the dating app has seen in one year in India?
It’s been a great year for Bumble in India since our launch in December 2018. Bumble India’s user base has quadrupled in that time to surpass 3 million users, and one of our fastest-growing user segments is Gen Z. We’re excited to see that women in India are empowered to make the first move on Bumble and have done so over nine million times. Women in India are sending twice the number of messages compared to women in the rest of the world, and 40 percent of women users in India use more than one mode on Bumble. This speaks to the power of the social network - and we're excited to continue to support men and women as they experience each of Bumble's modes - Date, BFF, and Bizz.
Tell us about your future plans?
India continues to be an important growth market for Bumble. Our marketing strategy since launch has always been to adopt a holistic, consumer-first approach to drive brand awareness and engagement.
We kicked off 2020 with the rollout of our integrated campaign, ‘Dating Just Got Equal’. The campaign aims to challenge the antiquated rules of dating by empowering women to make the first move in forging meaningful connections. As a part of the campaign, we launched three digital films centered around the brand’s value proposition of ‘Making The First Move’ and the underlying narrative of everyday equality in relationships. The campaign has been further amplified by a variety of out-of-home ads, quirky and engaging social content and influencer activations.
Further, in light of the recent pandemic outbreak, we feel Bumble can be a helpful resource for individuals looking to connect virtually. We’re already seeing reports in the media that a pandemic could trigger loneliness and isolationism, and Bumble is one way to stay connected to real people without having to meet in the physical world. We’re always looking to evolve our product and user experience in an effort to give our community the opportunity to connect online in a way they feel most comfortable. Currently, we have some great features like voice calls and video chat that allow for an even deeper connection without having to meet in public or share your phone number or email. Having said that, we are looking forward to taking our mission to new cities and communities over the year - you’ll have to watch this space to see what is next!
What are you foreseeing specifically in your industry as digital advancements, AI and robotics coming in?
Since Bumble’s launch in India, we’ve seen that more and more people globally are meeting their romantic partners online owing to the widespread access to technology, smartphones, education, and financial independence. We’re noticing similar adoption in India as well wherein 41 million Indian singles - that's nearly 50% of the 2011 census single population - will be on dating apps and actively looking for relationships by 2022 (Ref: Online Market Researcher, Statista)!
We are proud to continue to evolve our product based on what we hear from users - pushing our digital & technological capabilities to best serve our users. For example, last year we announced Voice Calls & Video Chat, a new product feature that advances the safety and connection of its users in a manner never before seen in the digital connection space. Users can now voice call and/or video chat each other within the Bumble app without exchanging personal contact info, such as a phone number or email, bringing the offline experience online to give our users the comfort of meeting people in their own space.
We also recently announced a new feature called ‘Private Detector,’ which uses AI technology to automatically blur lewd or inappropriate images sent between users whilst warning them about the photo before they open it.
What are some of the most notable differences between a male and a female leader?
As a woman in business, I’ve suffered from Imposter Syndrome throughout my career. It’s a challenge that, in full transparency, I haven’t fully overcome yet - but I’m working on it. I actively work on it by engaging my colleagues to support me in my journey. As an example - if I ever feel like I don’t belong in a conversation, I’ve asked a handful of trusted colleagues to remind me why they think I do. I’ve found that being vulnerable and enlisting the support of others has helped me on my journey to overcome Imposter Syndrome and its effects on me. This is a core part of my experience as a woman in business and it’s something I learn from every day.
In my opinion men and women both bring unique and equally important qualities to leadership roles. The problem begins if an organization does not have a balanced gender mix in leadership or decision making roles. Diversity is crucial at every level of business and having a diversity of thought - not just diversity of gender - will only help strengthen long term health of businesses and help businesses better serve their community.
What are the best practices you follow at your organization to make people connect more humanly and efficient?
There are a lot of ways out there to help different organizations and teams stay connected and communicate more efficiently across the board. We have a team of employees working in offices across the globe in India, UK, US, Australia and beyond, so it’s especially important for us to keep an open line of communications to ensure that all team members feel connected and have visibility into business priorities. At Bumble specifically, we’re big fans of using our internal chat platform called Slack, where we can create channels that are dedicated to a certain topic so that team members can collaborate cross-functionally and cross-country, brainstorm new ideas, and share their insights and perspectives. It’s also a great place to share real-time updates and company-wide announcements.
Other best practices that come top of mind include holding virtual meetings and live Q&A sessions to address any questions team members may have for the leadership team or for one another. Not only is it incredibly helpful to see each other virtually and face to face with team members that are working remotely or in global offices, but it is also a great time to remind each other that we are all one team working towards a common goal of bringing Bumble’s mission of empowering women to make the first move to live.