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Tinder: A Start-up that Went from Frying Pan to Fire

07/07/2014 16:41 BST | Updated 05/09/2014 10:59 BST

When they created this app called Tinder - with their dreams of Silicon Valley rose and their tinted glasses on - they probably thought they were binding the world with love and all nice things around it. Make no mistake, the picture also had wads of greens stacked neatly side-by-side, loads of it. It's not just love; it's money honey!

But, what happened later is the ugly remainder of the way situations unfold when 'things fall apart and the center cannot hold' (with due apologies to Chinua Achebe). Two of the top executives - one being the co-founder and another being the Chief Marketing Officer have both landed themselves in the soup. And it will be quite a while before they come clean out of it.

In the case of Justin Mateen, the man and the woman Whitney Wolfe's dating scene gone bad, the casualties are not just the two involved. It is a grim reminder of how heady can success get in Silicon Valley and at the same time how misogynist can it be, albeit racist too.

Whitney Wolfe and Justin Mateen could have been perfect lovers with drop-dead good looks and dreams of making it big in the world of business, if their paths had not crisscrossed each other's with love being the crucial road block.

According to reports, Mateen who was the Chief Marketing Officer and also the co-founder turned abusive and hurled choicest words at Wolfe when she wanted to end their dating relationship. Things got worse for Wolfe who is among the co-founders, and the faith with which she took her case to her colleague CEO Sean Rad.

Vitriolic text exchange between the both former lovers being the focus, Sean decides to clean the image of Tinder by way of sacking both of them. Now, the case might have a curious angle here. Wolfe, with her drop-dead good looks and all of 24 years age, was apparently pursued by both CEO Sean Rad, Jonathan Badeen and Justin Mateen before she decided to date the last one.

Eventually, when things didn't go well for both owing to personality differences, ambitions or the sheer flavor of relationships at the Silicon Valley, Justin and Wolfe called it a day. Or, rather Wolfe called it a day and Justin was left fuming.

What follows is the ugly display of masochist behavior, calling her names and hurling racist abuses at the kind of men she may have gone out with - terming them 'middle eastern pigs' for instance - and making things difficult for her to plan ahead.

She aint no babe in the woods to have taken this lying down. She, in her carefully drafted messages to Mateen, tells him to stop this behavior umpteen number of times before taking it up with her company head - Sean Rad.

Nope, no hope here either! Rad decides to play safe and dodges all her plea for help, probably much like a CEO who wouldn't want to deal with people's personal lives. And, asks her to leave if she wants to.

Having realized that she had shot herself in the foot, Wolfe decides to drag the case to the court. Now, what an irony of time, that the founders of the app that was meant to bring people in love together, are going to slug it out in the court.

But the analysts see it otherwise. According to some reports, the young entrepreneurs in their early-to-late twenties may have read their business cards otherwise. A la the Hollywood starlets who often stay in news with something or the other.

Whether Wolfe is right or wrong, it would be inappropriate to stand on the platform of morality and judge her behavior. It is perhaps time to know your business associate cannot be treated like trash even when there are romantic interests involved from the past. Probably, the Mateens of the world need to handle themselves through relationships and good behavior. After all, a man cannot live on a business idea alone. The fortune he makes through such ventures may not last long if the appropriateness in behavior does not turn into an integral part.

How does Silicon Valley perceive this story? There wasn't any storm, so Silicon Valley may well rest with this case too, as just another one around the block. Because, being on the wrong side of economy, Silicon Valley has no time for morality and values, when a good business idea comes along.

As for the early birds who have tasted success and clumsiness too by mixing their personal and professional lives, this may well be another reminder as to why business and pleasure don't mix. The HR departments in each company is now drafting more robust 'no romance in office or with colleagues' kinda exclusive clause to women and men who want to climb the ladder of success.

Now, perhaps, Wolfe or Mateen may well come up with another app idea on how to conduct self after a fall-out. Who knows! Silicon Valley may lap it up!