OPW INTERVIEW - Mar 31 - Couples who laugh together, stay together. Having a similar sense of humor is hugely important for compatibility. I remember dating a great girl many years ago... We were the perfect match according to the compatibility dating site we were both using. We dated and found our sense of humor just didn't gel. She'd say something and would laugh...and I'd go huh. And vice versa. It was awkward. Actually, quite amazing...she didn't laugh at my jokes?! :-) So along comes LafLife, and claims to have a scoring system for types of sense of humor. You really should try it out. It's fun. You'll find some of their cartoons hit home and make you laugh. Others will completely not hit home. That's the way it's meant to be. I interviewed the CEO to get his story and to see if he'd considered offering his system to the dating industry. - Mark Brooks
What's your founding story?
Six years ago, our son was quite ill, and in the hospital. (He’s fine now). My job was to optimize the conditions for his recovery for over a month he had to spend in Pediatric Intensive Care. I noticed that the most effective doctors and care givers had a certain resilience and ability to be present, even under constant stress. I recognized that this special quality was a sense of humor.
For several years afterwards, I read everything I could find in science, psychology and philosophy related to the subject. (I have a book review or two on the Laflife Blog). As you are probably aware, it is a subject that some of the greatest minds in history have taken up from Plato to Freud: everyone recognizes it and values it, but what is your sense of humor and how does it work? Is there a simple way to work with it that is useful? Luckily we live in a times that are yielding remarkable insights in brain science via fMRI’s and at the same time, web-based technology makes it possible to test hypotheses rapidly.
A long story short: I developed a theory based on the insight that your sense of humor is your most important inner resource in times of stress. The theory slowly yielded a breakthrough algorithm: a method for mapping anything humorous (and how we react to it). Your sense of humor isn’t really about humor production, but appreciation: it’s your own personal perspective of delight and appreciation that is always available (you can learn to cultivate better access). It always feels good, it never feels bad.
As you know, multiple polls of online daters have found that sense of humor is an important priority for almost everyone. When they say that they want someone with a sense of humor, I don’t think they are really saying that they want someone to tell them jokes all the time, rather they are really looking for someone who can engage their own inner resilience. Your sense of humor is vital for making it through difficulties. The hallmark of great relationships is how well a couple navigates inevitable difficulties.
I tried the test, and I'd say half the items were funny to me, the other half were just not. Is this by design. Or have I got a stunted sense of humor?
Actually you did it just right. LafLife is a comparison engine: so we want you to have a different response to different content. It’s the differences that are interesting.
One of the confirmed scientific insights that guides the LafLife algorithm is that our minds are incredibly fine-tuned to react to surprise and incongruity—our (essentially unconscious) pattern recognition abilities are so powerful and instantaneous that it happens faster than we can (consciously) think.
Can you really match people based on their responses to funny cartoons and videos?
LafLife is dedicated to providing useful insights about sense of humor compatibility. It is a valuable and missing insight in on-line dating today but we don not claim that it should be a replacement for other matching criteria such as personal values.
What's the scientific basis for LafMatch?
We use proprietary, patent-pending algorithms that we cannot reveal in detail. However I would like to share the attached to give you a little more insight. Also I have posted a couple of fairly in-depth discussions on the breakthrough insights that birthed the algorithm on our blog at laflifelabs.com We are continually improving the algorithms. As more and more people engage with the site, it will keep improving. On top of this we do a complex nine point analysis to produce every unique LafMatch.
How will LafLife make money?
LafLife does three things well: first, it’s a place to discover and explore your personal sense of humor. Second, it’s sense of humor compatibility. Third it’s a powerful content recommendation engine.
We see multiple paths to monetization:
- Targeted advertising (our marketing profiles go deep without a dreary questionnaire. We can help you appeal to someone’s sense of humor, (which some people say is the biggest concern in the advertising industry). LafLife can provide useful insights about the things, people, and insights that attract us most.
- SAAS: licensing or partnership with dating sites. Our LafMatch technology could easily be an “Intel Inside” for online dating. Another possibility might be to partner with someone on a more exclusive basis. There are both pay and free services that appear to have large audiences, but they may have maxed out their per-user revenue. They might find a significant upside opportunity in sending their users on a non-compete basis to LafLife as part of an arrangement where they could benefit from our upside.
- “Sense of humor required” may be the biggest unaddressed issue in hiring today. Search Google: “Get a job: software developer” 81.1 million results, then Google: “Get a job: sense of humor required”: 81.7 million results.
The need for a sense of humor is in every relationship in love and life.
How do you plan to work with the iDating industry?
We are just beginning to explore what will work best for online (and of course mobile) daters. We are focused on building fun, useful products with integrity. We are confident that this focus will keep leading to good things for our users. A sense of humor is of course essential for connecting on the first date as well as maintaining any meaningful relationship.
How can Online Dating sites work with LafMatch? Who can they contact?
At this point we are open to exploring possibilities. We need to learn from industry leaders how we can best be of service. Me, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-935-3737.
Post by Mark Brooks @