Mar 16, 2023 - Economy

Communicator Spotlight: Patrick Lenihan, Grindr's head of global communications

Photo illustration of Patrick Lenihan with abstract shapes and Grindr's logo.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Grindr

Patrick Lenihan has held strategic communications roles at Google and Goldman Sachs and advised dozens of growth-stage companies. Now he's helping reshape one of the world's most popular dating apps, Grindr.

Why it matters: 2022 was all about taking Grindr public and 2023 is about "being public" by reclaiming the company's narrative and building its reputation, Lenihan tells Axios.

  • "Communications plays such a crucial role in what Grindr is trying to do in this next era. It's about dealing with and dispelling reputation debt we've accrued over the last 13 years by helping people better understand what the application does and the community it serves."

💡 The role of comms at Grindr: Lenihan is Grindr's first communications executive and reports directly to the CEO.

  • “Our job is to say: 'What are we trying to do?' then translate that into specifically stimulating language, establish audience and venue, and run the play to create internal and external environments that let a business achieve those goals, using whatever tools we need."
  • "At Grindr, we have to speak not only through the lens of being a business and tech company, but one that serves a historically underserved and marginalized community. And we must make sure we are speaking to our users in a way that is authentic and queer."

🤔 Most surprising thing about the job: The time spent on internal communications and investor relations.

  • "Communications is no longer unidirectional. ... It can't even just be scoped at 360 degrees. To do the job right you have to think 4πr2 spherical."

🌟 Communicator role model: Clinton White House press secretary and Goldman Sachs' former head of communications, Jake Siewert.

  • "I learned a lot at Google, but Goldman Sachs is where I started to really understand how words and relationships can be used to generate business returns — and Jake is a master at that," Lenihan said.

📈Trend watch: Forward-thinking content distribution strategies.

  • "You could have the best content, the best story in the world, but if you can't get it out there, nobody's going to know about it."

📱Social media platform of choice: LinkedIn.

📚 De-stress routine: "I always aim to read a book a week, every year. Reading helps me develop new ideas and it's where I go for creativity."

  • Currently reading: 'The Sabbath" by Abraham Joshua Heschel.

🧠 Best advice: "Find someone you want to learn from. ... That's more important than where you work."

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