A confluence of GPS, Apple’s App Store and the iPhone made it possible for Joel Simkhai to launch the biggest advancement in gay hookups since Al Gore created the Internet. So why is the daddy of Grindr so demure about its creation?
Simkhai (photo), the 33-year-old Los Angeles resident who created the iPhone app, sees it more as a technology tool, not the tool for getting laid that its gay devotees liken it to. He talked sex, friendship, lesbian Grindr and more in a recent interview with The New Gay.
We purposefully see Grindr as a technology provider, and not a dating service or a hookup service. We don’t have many preconceived notions of what people should use the tools for. We use some monitoring of photos and profile texts, the public stuff, but we try to stay out of letting people know how to use the app. People use it for many different reasons, like ‘I use it to find out where my friends are, are they nearby?” We don’t prescribe how its used, we put some guidelines on how it can’t be used, but other than that…
And boy, do the people use it. It’s the new trick of the trade, so to speak, and you can’t get through dinner with friends without someone pulling out an iPhone and using Grindr to illustrate their story about the latest conquest or trick to be. Grindr has changed the cruising culture and dispensed with the notion that you’ve got to be in a bar or in front of a computer to get laid.
It’s amazing. I hate to sleep. I can’t get enough of it. I love what we’ve done, I love what we’re planning on doing. We’ve only begun. We have achieved a critical mass at this point, we’re verging on 500,000 users. 53 percent in the US and our second biggest market is the UK. To achieve that has been great, but now we can do more interesting things and continue to change how we see what’s around us.