StartUp Podcast: Save The Date (Season 2, #4)
May 19, 2015 8:58 AM - Subscribe

With funding running low, customers growing irate, and themselves at odds, Dating Ring's founders find themselves in the trough of sorrow and undertake a radical rethink of the company's focus.
posted by psoas (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have to admit I didn't fully understand what the initial "dates on demand!" pitch for the company was until this episode, and when I learned that that meant people would be paired up by hand for same-day meetings... well, I have to admit I thought it was a terrible idea. Am kind of surprised how quickly the new "premium" model seemed to work, but it sounds like there are some details that have yet to filter out.
posted by psoas at 9:14 AM on May 19, 2015

It also seems bizarre to me that they were picking the venue, making reservations for the people, etc. I mean, I can see how that (if done really well) could lower the hassle factor and make for a more valuable service. But it adds a huge amount of additional complexity, isn't really related to what they claim their competitive advantage is, and isn't something their competitors do. Just seems like a very high-cost thing to do, with relatively little ROI.
posted by primethyme at 9:41 AM on May 19, 2015

I also didn't realize how by hand their service was until this episode. I think in the back of my head I was thinking of them as being more of a classic tech company, with some code-base that was supposed to do something to make the match-making aspect automated and scalable. I can see why this would be problematic.

I also never thought too deeply about the uber, but for dates part of the pitch until this episode. I mean it sounds great but the people you (the hypothetical user) are dating are not in the business of dating, that would be prostitution. This episode really brought home the difficulty of trying to occupy the space between old fashioned match-making and a straight-person version of grindr (which is also, basically, the uber of "dates" or maybe uber is the grindr of taxis?).
posted by selenized at 10:13 AM on May 19, 2015

I am very fortunate that I don't need this service, but if I did, I could totally see myself trying their original model. For $20, someone else picks the partner, deals with all of the scheduling hassle, chooses a place and makes sure we have reservations? Totally worth it.

But yeah, trying to do that on a small scale seems almost impossible (because you need a critical mass of "daters" for every night). And scaling up wouldn't necessarily be even better (because how could you handle that many matches/reservations/etc.)?
posted by sparklemotion at 11:57 AM on May 19, 2015

a straight-person version of grindr

Isn't that what Tinder is supposed to be? (Says the boring married guy who hasn't used any of these apps...)
posted by primethyme at 1:24 PM on May 19, 2015

Yeah... the more I hear about this company (at least in it's original form) the more I am confused about their business model.

Lauren and her (not-super-long-term?) boyfriend living and working together sounds like a recipe for disaster. Hope that goes well. What a stressful situation.
posted by radioamy at 4:51 PM on May 19, 2015

I could really use a timeline to keep track of all the pivots of this service. Like when were they doing the group dates that everyone hated?
posted by smackfu at 6:59 AM on May 20, 2015

yeah, they need to be a little more clear when they're talking about the company "when" it is in the company's history that they're talking to someone, and when time that person's talking about. I'd like to better understand how they move away from their original business model, but it gets confusing.

Anyway, I'm loving this season, even better than season #1. All the insight about being a woman starting a company has been great. And while it's sad to see them (it seems) becoming just another dating site with the latest change, it's really interesting to listen to.
posted by skewed at 8:38 AM on May 23, 2015

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