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Jessica Carbino

[Photo: Danny Liao]

Most Creative People 2017

Jessica Carbino

Sociologist, Tinder

For opening online dating to all

As a PhD candidate studying online dating at UCLA’s sociology department in 2014, Jessica Carbino used Tinder—and matched with Sean Rad, the app’s founder and chairman. Instead of a date, Carbino landed a job: working with designers and engineers to make Tinder more responsive. Last year, Carbino collaborated with GLAAD and activist Andrea James to make Tinder relevant for transgender people. Following multiple focus groups and numerous product iterations, Tinder rolled out an update in November 2016 that allows users to choose among 37 different identifiers, including trans man or woman, genderqueer, nonbinary, androgynous, gender questioning, or a term of their choice. Carbino also recently analyzed 12,000 photos on profiles from across the country, looking at clothes, facial expression, etc., to determine what factors help someone find a match. Her takeaways—smile, wear bright colors—were relayed to users via media spots and informed Tinder’s new Smart Photos feature, which rotates profile pictures automatically and analyzes which ones are most effective. “With dating apps, understanding why people behave the way they do is important,” says Carbino. “It informs the design process.”

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