StartUp Podcast: Playing With Matches (Season 2, #5)
May 23, 2015 7:06 AM - Subscribe

Inside Dating Ring's Matchmaking System

Kind of icky, everyone acknowledges.
posted by bq (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't believe they didn't call this guy out on wanting hot chicks to 'invest' in him while complaining that only unattractive girls were into him.
posted by bq at 7:15 AM on May 23, 2015

after this and the last episode I really don't understand how this business can scale up. Do I understand it correctly, they literally have a person making the matches? It sounds like functionally, it's lower tech than any other dating site. Maybe they should make that their selling point?

Anyway, still enjoying this season very much.
posted by skewed at 8:45 AM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

This episode raised even more questions for me about the potential business model, and I guess startups in general?

I see what they're getting at in so far as online dating currently sucks and online dating sites can enable, or outright pander to, peoples foibles and flaws (e.g. being a 5 who only wants to date 10s). So they are aiming at that target of making online dating better, but I don't know if even they know how exactly they are going to do that, at least in a way that isn't just replicating traditional match making but with email? (that seems like a low bar).

I figured they had to have some sort of algorithm in the background pre-sorting the singles, and the match maker was going the final mile, which is labour intensive but not as intensive as having a person literally go through the database clicking yes, yes, no, yes, hot mess.

So far this season the have identified that online dating sucks, that they want to be the uber of dating, and the hope is that by burning enough investor money they will hit upon a solution?
posted by selenized at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2015

The scaling thing is really looking like a roadblock. My guess is that they are going to automate a lot of the matching (attractiveness, interests, geography) and hope to hire enough matchmakers to do the manual finessing? (on preview, what selenized said)

I did think they made an interesting point about dating sucking in general, and that even if you're more successful than average, a lot of your users are going to have negative experiences.
posted by radioamy at 1:31 PM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

I *knew* the NYC to SF story sounded familiar. It got a lot of press for making the company sound super douchey. Funny how on the show they didn't mention that they crowdfunded the trip.
posted by radioamy at 1:52 PM on May 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

The more I hear about this, the more it seems like the company would benefit from focusing on being a niche product. Going broad is just going to turn them into a competitor for It's Just Lunch, which has serious first-mover (and airline-magazine-advertising) advantage.
posted by psoas at 8:47 AM on May 27, 2015

It feels like season one was very much aimed at not talking about the business of podcasting and only focused on the startup aspects. I think they even stated that at one point. So it's odd that parts of season two are so focused on the business and logistics of a dating site, and less on the things that are unique to a startup. Like they think it's not navel-gazing if it's not their navel.

And there do seem to be interesting startup stories to tell. Like they spent barely any time on the co-founder who left. And they mentioned in passing that their matchmaker was working in a co-working space, rather than having actual office space. That's something they could talk about.
posted by smackfu at 6:12 AM on May 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

You make a good point, I didn't even notice but yeah this season has let alot of what makes startups unique kind of fall away. I also totally forgot about one entire cofounder, whoever it was that was doing the engineering.

I think they are trying to straddle two very different stories: what startup life is like in general (see for example the extended bit on the trough of sorrow) and the business particulars of *this specific* startup. With the time constraints of podcasting maybe it isn't working great?

Not that the podcast is terrible, I am still subscribed, but sometimes it feels like there's too many stories going on for us to really get depth.
posted by selenized at 9:41 PM on May 28, 2015

There's this weird connection between Dating Ring being focused on the wrong business model and with the podcast itself being focused on that same business model. The podcast is about "starting a business" but most businesses in America do not start or end this way and given the total saturation of our media with terms like "Angel Investor" and "Incubator" it would be more fun if they profiled someone trying to start a car repair garage or something.

I guess what I'm saying is that this podcast makes me depressed for America. :)

I am sort of fascinated in this season, mainly because I seem to have been a little too old (and too early matched with my SO) to have tried internet dating.
posted by selfnoise at 11:06 AM on June 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

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