#61: Joel Simkhai, Founder & CEO of Grindr

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Grindr is an award-winning, location-based app that helps gay men to connect with one other. Launched in 2009, Grindr now has more than 4.5 million users in 192 countries around the world.

When I asked Grindr’s Founder and CEO, Joel Simkhai, what he had in mind when he started the company, he said that he didn’t even set out to build a business; he just wanted to make it easier to meet other gay men. “The main problem,” he said, “is that you don’t know who else is gay.” Grindr employs the GPS or Wi-fi technology on a user’s mobile device to determine their exact location; the app then displays the profiles of other Grindr users in the area who might want to chat and meet.

About Joel Simkhai: Born in Tel Aviv, Simkhai moved to New York with his family at the age of three. He attended Tufts University, where he majored in International Relations and Economics. Before founding Grindr,  Simkhai started his own Internet marketing firm. Prior to that, he worked in several different roles, first in the finance industry, then at an Internet start-up, and also at NBC News. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

#60: Lailah Morid, Founder of FastFirstDates

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One of the ongoing discussions at Work Stew concerns the question: when it comes to choosing a career path, what’s the best approach? Should you follow your heart, do the math, or something in between?

Lailah Morid is following her heartand the hearts of singles looking for love. At this stage, Morid is working multiple jobs but in time she hopes to make a living helping people to find the relationships they want. Her newly-founded company, FastFirstDates, organizes social events for professionals who prefer to meet offline.

About Lailah Morid: Lailah Morid is the founder of FastFirstDates, a newly-launched speed-dating business based in Los Angeles. Morid’s plan is for many of the company’s events to be charity-focused, with part of the participants’ fees going to support select non-profit organizations. In addition to the dating industry, Morid has also worked in a variety of other fields including journalism, alternative medicine, and video production.

#59: Environmental Consultant Randy Austin

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In this episode, I speak with environmental consultant Randy Austin. If you have an interest in environmental matters, but are not inclined to go in search of gigantic snakes in the middle of the night (as my last interviewee, python hunter Ruben Ramirez, does on a regular basis), Randy’s career path might be one to consider.

About Randy Austin: Based just outside Orlando in Kissimmee, Florida, Austin is the principal of Austin Environmental Consultants, a firm he founded in 2002. Austin has been working as an environmental consultant since receiving a Masters in Science from the University of South Alabama over 25 years ago. Writing under the name R.L. Austin, he is also the author of several books including Wizard’s Refrain, winner of the 2010 Royal Palm Literary Award.