I feel like on Grindr when your first message is, "Looking?" you skipped all the small talk.
And where does that get you?
Small talk is sort of a buffer. It gives you a little insight into a guy's personality. If you're just looking to get a leg-over, no there's no need for it. But if you are dating, small talk is just going to happen. It isn't personal, it isn't revealing. On the other hand, it's way better to talk about interests. Small talk is ultimately a dead end unless you can steer it into something actually interesting.
You don't NEED to ask the philosophical questions up front because deep thoughts are personal. I'm not going to talk to someone I've never met about my deep dark theories of the value of religion. I'm going to sit in bed with a guy I know I like and have a deep meaningful conversation.