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Hinge CEO doesn’t have email on his phone so he has space to think



justin mcleod hinge
“I’m a much better leader when I’m not wrapped up in
the minutia,” said Justin McLeod, pictured.

Van Sarki

  • Hinge
    founder and CEO Justin McLeod doesn’t have email on his
  • He said it makes him a better leader because he has
    time and space to think, and doesn’t get wrapped up in the
    minutia of running a business.
  • McLeod sometimes disconnects from his team for weeks at
    a time for the same reason.
  • Other successful leaders also try to disconnect, so
    they can engage in some big-picture thinking.

In the last few months, Justin McLeod has found himself to be a
much better leader, and a much happier person.

McLeod, who is the founder and CEO of dating app Hinge, didn’t go to a management seminar
or hire an executive coach. He simply deleted the email app from
his smartphone.

In fact, the only things he can currently do with his phone are
check the time, make calls and send texts, listen to music, and
browse Hinge.

“I’m a much better decision-maker, I’m a much better strategist,
I’m a much better leader when I’m not wrapped up in the minutia
of what’s going on in the company and what’s going on in the
world,” McLeod told Business Insider. “I’m giving myself the

To the average working professional, cutting yourself off from
email might seem unimaginable. And McLeod manages one of the most
popular dating apps in the US, which has so far raised a total of
$20.6 million, according
to Crunchbase
. Presumably, there are a lot of people vying
for his attention on time-sensitive matters.

But McLeod’s decision is part of a broader management strategy
that involves slowing the pace of running a tech company.

Many leaders say disconnecting facilitates necessary big-picture

McLeod also told Business Insider that he tries to “cut off from
work a couple times a year.” When he takes vacations, he doesn’t
check in with his staff for “a week or two at a time.”

He said, “That helps me clarify my thoughts, when I’m not sucked
up in the instant day-to-day operations of Hinge.”

In fact, McLeod made the decision to
“reboot” Hinge
, in 2016, while he was away from the office
and spending Thanksgiving with his family.

With the time and space to think clearly, he realized that Hinge
had become too similar to other dating apps on the market and
wasn’t living up to its mission of helping users get into
meaningful relationships. Hinge subsequently made a number of
changes to the app, most notably removing the swiping feature.
Today, it bills itself as “the
relationship app

As a leader who finds that disconnecting facilitates big-picture
thinking, McLeod is in good company.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that he takes
six weeks of vacation
every year. “Just as you would expect,
you often do your best thinking [when] you’re off hiking in some
mountain,” Hastings told Andrew Ross Sorkin, New York Times
columnist and DealBook founder. “You get a different perspective
on something.”

Meanwhile, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson told Entrepreneur
when he goes on vacation
, he leaves his smartphone at home or
in a hotel room for as long as possible. “Freed from the daily
stresses of my working life, I find that I am more likely to have
new insights into old problems and other flashes of inspiration,”
Branson said.

“As an entrepreneur or business leader, if you didn’t come back
from your vacation with some ideas about how to shake things up,
it’s time to consider making some change,” Branson said.

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