The Mission Driven Business Podcast Episode 73: Tech, Ethics, and Empowerment with Amanda Wilson

Brian chats with Amanda Wilson, the co-founder of #open, a dating app for ethically non-monogamous relationships. On the episode, Amanda opens up about the fear she faced pivoting from running political campaigns to launching a sex-positive tech business with her business and life partner. She also shares essential strategies and tactics for navigating the challenges of entrepreneurship and how she utilizes AI to fuel growth and innovation at #open.

Episode Highlights

Mission-driven businesses balance making money with benefiting society.

Amanda defines a mission-driven business as one that doesn’t just focus on finances as the number one goal. As part of making #open a mission-driven business, Amanda is setting up the company to become a​​ Certified B Corporation, which requires balancing making money with the responsibility to benefit society.

“Our mission is to create safer spaces for marginalized and at-risk communities to form authentic connections,” Amanda said. “That’s exceptionally important to us because we are a dating app for people that are in ethically non-monogamous relationships, which is still a hard road for people who are doing that.”

Keep your customers safe.

One of the goals of #open is to build a safe space for the sex-positive community. To do that, the company makes it a point to listen to its user base, including by talking to customers through the #open support team and by reading app store reviews. Amanda also says the company prioritizes safety through data privacy.

“Your data is just an extension of you, so your data needs to be treated as respectfully as we would treat another person standing right here in front of us,” Amanda said. “#Open can always strive to be a safer place.”

Use AI to improve your human touch.

Amanda sees the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as a way to improve the personal touch of businesses and marketing strategies. For instance, #open reviews every picture that goes inside its app, and AI can help flag images that may break the company’s content policies. Also, Amanda uses an AI transcription tool to review her podcast interviews and find points she can improve upon for next time.

“AI definitely helps us to be able to have that personal touch,” she said. “Building our community is one of the strategies and tactics we use.”

Hire your potential customers.

#Open emphasizes hiring people within the community they’re serving, so that the people creating the tools can better understand the dynamics around the software’s real-world use.

“We try and hire as many women and other marginalized people as we can,” Amanda said. “My one request is if we can get more women in tech, life would be so much better for so many people.”

Resources + Links

About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast

Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.

On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.