At some point in 2015 I was listening to a podcast called Startup and got this crazy idea to create an online dating service. I believed the goal to be simple; to create a dating application that rewards users for creating quality profiles and connections, and by using newer technology to do this. With today’s tech we can make fairly reasonable attempts to eliminate the lies people tell in the online dating world, as well as learn people’s lifestyles. If this is done, the connections created based on that information will be extremely high quality. This is definitely an ambitious goal, especially for me; what I mean is I am not a programmer or a designer, just an entrepreneur with a lot of experience with online dating.That said… Remember that service we all used to use long ago at the beginning of the internet, AOL…?
Well, I have been trying different methods of making online connections since back then! That however is another story for another blog post…!
Before I continue, I would like to explain a few things that I believe deserve thorough explanations.
- I realize the idea of creating a dating application isn’t something new, or in itself, “crazy”. That said, embarking in an online dating business venture definitely borders the insane. The online dating world is highly competitive, and unfortunately overrun by large and small businesses that constantly attempt to out market and one up each other.
- After all my research and experiences, in my humblest of opinions, there is no better way to make a new connection for the first time with someone, than to make that connection in person. For me at least, the moment when you meet someone new and know almost nothing about them, allows for true mystery and wonder, It’s the stuff Disney movies are made of, magic… That magical unknown seems to get lost somewhere between reading their profile, the back and forth messages, and Googling them or going to their Facebook or Instagram profiles before ever meeting.
- No one has been able to create a dating application that allows for that “Magic” to happen. Some have tried, but no one has succeeded. I am not saying magic doesn’t happen between people when they meet up for the first time after using online dating services, I am just saying it’s usually not as organic, it’s a different feeling altogether. The basic reason for this is because online dating is completely different than traditional dating, even though the two are often lumped together as “dating”. This is not where I tell you our dating application will solve this issue or truly blend the different types of dating into one unified system. Personally, I don’t believe this is a solvable issue at this time. I know I am kind of shooting myself in the foot here since I am building a dating application and all, but seriously, listen to me; my honest opinion is that meeting people in the real world is everyone’s best experience. There several studies out there that explain if the relationship begins offline, the probability of a successful long term relationship increases drastically.
- We unfortunately live in a time when the choices we make are, for the most part, about achieving the highest amount of convenience and efficiency possible, ideally at the same time. The truth is, time is the very essence of why online dating has become such a huge industry. Time is the the problem with making new connections for the first time in person. Due to this reason and the aforementioned perspectives, online dating has become a very big and necessary part of many single people’s lives in today’s world. To put it simply, online dating appears at first glance to be extremely efficient and convenient.
Back to that podcast “Startup” I was telling you about…
Startup follows one business along their startup journey each season. They report on struggles and triumphs, but mostly, they report on just how hard it really is to launch a new business. The world is a cynical and hyper critical place. Season 2 of Startup features a business called Dating Ring. You can check it out here for free on SoundCloud. You’re welcome…
Dating Ring is based on the East Coast, and their goal was to become “The Uber of Dating”. Notice I said, “was”, again online dating is a hard business to master, and that goal is a monumental undertaking. Although it sounds like this concept would be fairly straight forward, efficient, and convenient, it just isn’t. It’s complicated because people have a way of complicating things, especially when scheduling is involved. In addition to scheduling issues, most people don’t actually know what they are looking for in a potential match. People tend to think they know what they want, but usually once they get it and enough time has passed, they realize it wasn’t what they thought it would be. This is often when complications arise and things come to an end.
During a commercial I heard on the first season of Startup for their second season featuring Dating Ring, I got the idea and motivation to begin pursuing my own dating application development project. At the time, I really didn’t think this would be a project I would take very far, and treated it like a typical idea I have that merits further research. Around this time I was working on several projects and wanted to choose one to focus on; I was sure selling my salsa would win out. No really, I make some killer salsa, or so I’m told. Alas, it online dating was the riskiest venture I could choose and so of course, it’s what I chose. I must greatly enjoy punishment on some level…
My roommate and I finished developing our application’s wireframes and functionality specifications at the end of November (2015). If you’re not into project development/management, you may be wondering what the hell that means. Basically, we just finished a blueprint on how to build our dating application, and instructions on how the dating application works. We submitted our work to the design firm that’s creating our branded look and feel on Tuesday, December 1st, in the wee hours of the morning. It was cause for celebration but we were pretty tired so we opted to sleep instead. To give this accomplishment some perspective or time relevance, we’ve been working on this for around 4-6 months.
In the last few months, when I got home from work, I would pretty much sit down in front of the computer and not stop working until I was ready to sleep. I like balance though, so I made sure I had time for fun too.
So now that we crossed one hurdle, what’s our next step? All fun and no work, just sit back and collect money!! HA! NO WAY…!
There’s still a ton of things to do; marketing plan, business plan, finalize our mission statement, set our service pricing, forecast financial projections, and create our product development schedule, just to name a few. For the next week or so I am going to focus on writing and recapping everything that’s happened over the past few months so I learn and retain as much as possible. Chris, my business partner, will be finalizing our user matching algorithms.
I started writing this blog with the goal of reviewing every dating application I used to research for the development of ours. By the way, we settled on a name for our dating application, it is called Scoop.
This post morphed into something else entirely, and so I won’t be reviewing the applications after all, however, I have listed them below. In my next blog post I will definitely review all 24 of them, and yes, they were all on my phone at the same time.
One last thing, a big thank you to the amazing and truly special woman in my life, Mercedes. Thank you for being as supportive and trusting as you have been during this entire process. Trust is an amazing thing, and I don’t take it for granted.
More on that and the review of all 24 applications in my next blog post. For now, here’s the list in no particular order:
1. Plenty of Fish
5. The Grade
6. Coffee Meets Bagel
9. Christian Mingle
18. The League