Q: How did you become an expert in the dating industry?
A: I started an adventure club in Silicon Valley in 1996. It was a singles club that wouldn't admit to being a singles club. I learned a lot about how people felt about early dating sites. I worked for some dating sites from 2000 - 2005 and was coerced into speaking at the Internet Dating Conference in 2005. Ed Baig from USA Today interviewed and quoted me. I'd been working in the iDating business since 2000, in earnest, and he put me on the map as bonafied dating industry expert.
Q: So you're an expert in the industry, but have you ever used a dating site?
A: My goal is to help create dating apps that I'd actually want to use. In 2000 I used Hypermatch, a site I worked on. It worked quite well for me, and was a precursor to eharmony really.
Q: What did you learn from your personal online dating experience?
A: I dated a girl seriously from the site. We were very compatible in many ways, but one. Our senses of humor were just off.
Q: What are the greatest benefits of online dating?
A: Dating apps services are generally brilliant at one thing. Helping people get the tough questions out of the way right up front. i.e. got kids? want kids? married? want to get married one day?
Q: Where do you see room for improvement?
A: Helping people facilitate highly-compatible connections. The secret is to observe people's behavior, and match against behavior. In the future, to fulfill its potential, the dating industry will need to connect with more academics, do a lot more experiments, and learn how to correlate observed behaviors and preferences with character traits and compatibility.
Q: What can you tell us about online dating users today versus online dating users 10 years ago?
A: In the past there was a major stigma around Internet dating. Now, I think pretty much everyone knows someone who has been successful with online dating.
Q: What do you expect will be the big changes in the dating industry in 2018?
A: Tinder will continue to rule the roost. VC money will burn out. Dating apps will charge more, which will fuel a resurgence in innovation and new app development. I sense the beginnings of a hunger for change and renewal. We'll see more fracturing of the market in 2018-2020 as niche dating apps start to take root.