MarkBrooks.TV Vlog Episode 8 :: I spent this week in New York City visiting a few Internet dating company founders. I love New York.
Next week I'm in Miami to keynote at the main Internet Dating Conference of the year. So I thought I'd pop into New York to visit a few dating company owners and executives before heading to the Miami conference.
I had ten meetings while here, including with the Founder of OKCupid. Sam Yagan sold OKCupid to Match and became the CEO of Match. He then successfully negotiated the acquisition of PlentyofFish. I worked for PlentyofFish for a 6 year period thru 2013 and introduced Markus and Sam when they first met at the Internet Dating Conference. The owner of PlentyofFish, Markus Frind, received $575 million from Match based on Sam's negotiation. Sam was kind enough to give me a reference to get onto the Executive MSc course in behavioral science at London School of Economics. A very nice, and very much appreciated gesture. I'm thrilled to have completed the course. It was while studying that I discovered Casey Neistat and got curiously hooked on his vlogs which acted as brain relief from my Masters dissertation.
I visited the CEO of Hinge, which is distinguished from Tinder because they removed the swipe function to get people to think a bit more about their matches. Hinge is for more meaningful relationships. I'm interviewing the CEO, Justin McLeod, at the Internet Dating Conference so wanted to get a handle on where I should take the interview. I like their office. The wooden floor and open plan felt like a coffee shop to me, and the success walls at dating companies are always fun to see.
I checked out the offices of Ivy.com. Beri Meric co-founded it. They started out a few years ago with IvyDate and pivoted away from dating and managed to acquire the Ivy.com domain. I met up with Beri to get the low-down on where they're headed. Ivy is not just for ivy leaguers, I should note. It's a social university with bases in seven cities now. Its a social hub for thoughtful people who want to learn and share and have fun together. Love it. Its $1k to join and $40 a month. They're growing gangbusters.
I discovered a cool little cafe that serves Stumptown Coffee. Its inside a Brooks Brothers store!? Then I went to one of my favorite fast food places. Chop't does salads like no other. Awesome, and its a show. They pull a huge double knife chopper and annihilate the salad, then throw it into a bowl and load it up with dressing and in my case, some chicken. Perfect. I wish they had one of these in Malta. I'd be there several times a week. I should reverse engineer some of their recipes for home.
Maria at Agape Match has the best view of any dating or matchmaking office I've been to yet. Eharmony's office view over L.A. comes in 2nd now. But Maria's office is on the 59th floor of the Empire State Building! Fantastic view! She gave me an overview of what being a matchmaker means to her, and what she does on a daily basis.
Then on Sunday I left the big apple for Miami Beach. Alas, my Airbnb apartment was sitting right on top of some emergency roadworks, so I went for a late night run along the boardwalk. We used to live in Florida. The air is so good here. I miss it.