99 Problems But Matching Algorithms Ain’t One

Every site from eHarmoney to OKcupid loves to tout about their “secret sauce” matching algorithms. We’re sure you have seen the cheesy commercials boasting about how their sophisticated matching systems. We’ve done a lot of research here at Hey There and we asked ourselves…

are machines better matchmakers than we are?

How they (Match.com, OKcupid, eHarmony and others) can find singles everywhere a uniquely compatible soul mate at a click of a button is a mystery to all of us. Or is it? We are here to tell you it’s all FAKE NEWS! There is no scientific data to support any claim of matching algorithm superiority. Any claim is negligible at best!

fake news

Without any empirical data to support claims of matching algorithm success how can anyone say with any certainty that they are superior to any other form of matching or even matching people randomly? How do you honestly know their “algorithms” are actually taking into account any data at all and aren’t just literally “matching” you to whoever pops up in their system? Because they say so? really? You take them at their word?

Until the scientific community can get their hands on these mathematical cupid formulas to evaluate we are left to question their legitimacy. And there’s plenty of online daters who are NOT getting good matches who inevitably lead to question exactly that. Although we cannot produce a shred of evidence to back up their success due to their unwillingness to publish their algorithms we can make a determination about their fundamental flaw.

Mathematical matching algorithms are powered by two principles: similarities and opposite qualities. It is pretty much common sense to think that a match is best made when two people have more similarities versus people that are more dissimilar. It is also fair to go by the old adage that “opposites attract.” But don’t those two contradict each other? Even though it might make sense superficially, there is little evidence to support it as scientifically true. In fact there have been scientific studies that suggest neither principle has any impact on relationship quality. There are too many factors at play in human relationship building to think for a single second that a cookie cutter algorithm could predict anything. Far too many!

opposites attract in love

The facts are that no matching algorithm can predict long term success. They lack real life interactions and social circumstances. The algorithms are only as good as the data they process and so far the data is circumstantial at best. We have to realize that a lot of times the answers given to the questionnaires on dating platforms are often falsified and/or bent truths. Real life insights are the data points that matter. But how can we get that online?
Hmmm…

Let me introduce you to “Hey There” which was created because it’s time for a change of approach.
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Our theory is that, even though we can’t process interaction between two people to predict relationship success we can at least provide real world insights. That is why we base initial matching off basic data like location, age, gender, and interests. But then we combine that with social insights from friends that have true relevance to matching. We believe where math matchmaking falls short our system based on people matching works best. Insights come from us as humans not machines.

Hey There… is not just a dating app – It’s a study in human psychology

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A few years ago my best friend and I came up with what we believed to be a pretty great idea. As entrepreneurs, we’re constantly combing our everyday reality with our “is there anything that could improve on this experience” filter to see if there’s a new idea or product lurking.  At the time, we had just shut down a previous fitness app idea were determined to come up with a new software concept to pursue as a side project, that had one overarching theme..   helping people.  We spent a year in our basement think tank researching, planning, thinking, conceptualizing, and rethinking the concept that we would ultimately create.  As it turned out, the concept ended up being in the social networking / dating app realm.  And despite all the urging from many not to attempt to enter a market where giants lived, we did so anyways.  We noticed a gaping hole in the current offerings, and our entrepreneurial nature told us we needed to plug it, no matter how large the barrier to entry.  Little did we know that after 2 years of development efforts it would spawn into something that was going to be a hit with online daters.  The problem we aimed to solve was seemingly obvious and relatively simple.  The solution, was less so.  The problem was in how people made NEW connections in social networking.  We felt it was a bit broken with regard to making connections with people you don’t know you need to make a connection with.  Let us explain. 

The current landscape

All sites that we researched made connections based on 2 primary drivers:

  1. People you already know.
  2. People you may know because of people you already know.

* These 2 assumptions are the backbone of all social networking sites from Facebook to LinkedIn and outside real life connecting are the primary engines for making connections with people you don’t already know.

All social networking sites start out with the connections you already know.  Let’s say for example you just joined Facebook for the first time.  FB, will make recommendations based on your contact lists on your phone, email, other social network sites you’re already in, etc… as to whom you are already in contact with off-site who are also in FB.  The majority of these connections are going to be people you interact with already.  These connections are most likely already in your immediate social circle.  Once you get through that list, FB will start showing you people who you interacted with before, but maybe haven’t talked to in quite a while.  Sounds like a good formula to get you connected up right? Yes, this is #1 above and serves its purpose adequately.

The second driver, “people you may know”, is really the networking part of social networking, and the essence of every social based site.  It is likely that you do not know a single person presented in this list of friend recommendations but since they are curated based on people your friends know we have a natural tendency to believe maybe we should know them.  We may know them from a one time meeting while out with friends (and somehow FB knows that), or know “of” them through talking with our friends. Or maybe we have no idea who they are and ignore them immediately when maybe we shouldn’t.  Either way, this second driver is the one that’s flawed and/or doesn’t go far enough to benefit you as the user.

The problem

The problem we identified though, is that there is no list on any social network dedicated to “people we SHOULD know” and might never know if we do not blindly connect via these “people we may know” connections portals.  Where’s the degree of separation beyond first line?  Are people inclined to blindly friend everyone on the “people you may know” list and then inquire with them about why they should be friends?  NO!  That’s weird!  And as a result, there are countless instances of missed connections because people do not know who to connect with or why they should connect with them.

Why hasn’t this been addressed?
How could this be solved in a way that improves people’s lives?
Why would solving this make for a better social networking experience?
How could something that solves this improve an industry and help people meet others that they would be better off to know?

As entrepreneurs we are programmed to look for a problem and then solve it.  That, however, isn’t always the full answer.  You may be able to solve a “problem” but is your solution worth anything to anyone?  As important as solving the problem is figuring out a way to apply the solution so it brings value to someone.  We also looked at this as well and determined a specific application for our solution.  More on this later.

The “Warm Handshake”

We need a digital form of the “warm handshake”.  What is that?  Think about what you would do if you needed a service provider such as a plumber or electrician.  You’d likely ask your friends, family and/or neighbors for recommendations based on people they know and or have hired in the past.  Common scenario right?  It makes sense to do this because a past positive experience from someone you trust to tell you the truth is what you want to hear about before you potentially hire someone to come into your home, and fix your pipes.  It’s a comfort, trust and security thing.  Scenarios where we are formally introduced to someone we don’t know from someone we do know and trust are called “warm handshake” introductions.    This “warm handshake” gives all parties direct insights into the reasoning for being connected.  You know the plumber isn’t going to screw you over, and the plumber knows you’re not going to screw him.  “Warm handshake” introductions have meaning and purpose and more often than not lead to a successful connection that is beneficial to both parties.  Whether it is to a potential hiring manager, handyman, or new friend; introductions prefaced by one mutually known party that vouches for all involved sets the table for a quality connection.  These connections work best because they are pre-vetted.  This is also much of the thought process behind ratings and reviews of sellers on ebay, to reviews of carpenters on homeadvisor or Angie’s list.  So we believed that it would also stand to reason that it would work for social networking and people meeting people they “should” know or at the very least be compatible with.

Real quick backtrack to social networking sites.  In our opinion the “people you may know” functionality should be considered a cold lead.  Meaning, you most likely do not have any context of a potential friend request other than that they may know someone in your social circle.  This path to connectivity requires a serious and often lengthy commitment to getting to know someone who is a complete stranger turned potential digital acquaintance. These newfound acquaintances usually lay buried in a list with thousands of others never truly discovering their full potential.  We highly doubt anyone is doing this work.

Applying the “warm handshake” to an industry plagued with problems

This is really the genesis for our conceptual idea that spawned our app hey there…  We obsessed over the difference between online & offline behaviors when making connections.  We dissected warm versus cold introductions in all facets of online and offline relationship building.  We interviewed people on social networks.  We interviewed people on other relationship building services.  And we ultimately came to the conclusion that the best way to curate and explore new connections was with a more intimate system of discovery than existed already.  And that new system of discovery was most immediately needed in the online dating realm.  Perhaps nowhere is the need for friend insights more relevant than with dating.  Especially inside modern applications that all use stagnated notations of common friendships/acquaintances to try and crack this nut.  Where in online dating are our friends?  Over our shoulders.  Shoulder surfing our single friends while they’re on Tinder, Match, Eharmony, POF, or the like is something we saw time and time again in our research.  Why hadn’t anyone made the connection that friends like to help friends find matches?  Why are all online daters in a solitary, lonely experience on these apps?  Going it completely alone in a sea of strangers that may or may not be on the site for the same reasons as you.  Why had no one noticed that online daters are constantly taking screenshots of these apps and sending them to their friends for their advice on what to do?  Were we alone in observing this behavior?

Over the course of 2+ years, we built the hey there… system of direct friend insights to provide context, practical information, and where possible the potential for a warm handshake and applied it firstly to online dating.    To better understand how this all works let’s take take a deeper dive.

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The wildly popular swipe app Tinder was one of the first sites to capitalize on using commonalities of interest and FB friendships when attempting to make new romantic connections.  The theory is that if you have friends and interests in common then you stand a better chance of hitting it off.  Sounds reasonable at first glance but what if the “common friends” are more common acquaintances?  We all know that people on social networks actually “collect” friends now.  So is there really any strength in this “common friends” approach?  Do these commonalities have any real meaning?  Does this help you to make a better and more informed decision as to if that person is a potential match?

We argue that in these instances all context is rendered useless and you are pretty much flying blind still.  Furthermore, even if we do know the people notated as common friends do we really gain any extra insight into this candidate just because they’re connected on a social network?  We argue no unless we reach out to those specific common friends to find out more details.  Only at this point would we truly stand to gain any relevant information that can affect our decision making process.  And we haven’t heard of anyone actually taking that extra step, so where’s the value?

Now what about the people on online dating who we do not share common friends with.  This is perhaps one of the most interesting dilemmas to explore.  Quick recap: we have candidates with common friends and/or interests, and now candidates with no commonalities.  Are these candidates less of a potential match?  In these instances should our friends be removed from the equation?  Do friend and family perspectives no longer matter?  Does the expansion of our social circle cease to matter?  We argue that this is where friend context is most critical and needs to be applied!  Friends can help by providing insights and perspective after careful review of the person you both don’t know.  Your friends and family know YOU. They’ve watched you go through heart break, and know what ticks you off to no end.  They know you’re quirks, and what you can’t deal with maybe even better than you do. If friends & family (our direct social circle influencers) know us best then it stands to reason that they can make certain inferences based on minimal information of a candidate when compared to what they intimately know about us.   For decades family and friends have been the most successful matchmakers in history.  More marriages and friendships have been made as a result of being personally matched by someone known and trusted within an existing social circle than any other method.  There are countries and religions that still rely on the knowledge of family to make appropriate marriage pairings.  You may think that strange, but there was certainly plenty of reasons for that to be the case in these cultures.  Techies have been trying to crack the matching nut using robotic algorithms for years but to date there is no technology that can compete with a pre-vetted friend made match.

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This is where our app hey there… comes in.  We built it around the intrinsic human truth that our friends and family can provide very valuable insights into who we SHOULD know and meet.  Our application is built to emulate the way real life successful matches are made.  Traditional Social Networking and Online Dating sites are based on quantity and the concept of throwing enough spaghetti against the wall until something sticks.  Hey there… is built on quality within the quantity.   We want people to experience technology that hits on the most intrinsic essence of human nature which feels the most natural.  We look at our app as the new gateway to meeting people with an old fashioned twist.  Consider hey there… app the “warm handshake” in networking as applied to online dating.  The only application that wants to make real quality connections that are based on the input, insights, and perspectives from those closest to us.  

We’re not just a dating app

We have gone all in with our bet that people are still better matchmakers than algorithms and are enjoying watching the positive results come in.  We are not just a dating app – we are truly a social circle expansion app.  We believe that friends know us best, and if given the chance (and digital means) will help us reach our end goal of finding love.  With hey there… common friends is not just a footnote on a profile; they are active members helping their best of friends meet new people.  Sharing, advising, and with you every step of the journey.  Single people that join our app to find love, can also invite their best friends into the app to help them achieve that goal.  Not to mention the fun of having your friends in the app with you making you matches, writing you endorsements, helping you with your profile, and more.  Come see why our our wingman/friend role is poised to be a monumental shift in brokering new romantic and platonic relationships while bridging gaps in social circles.  

 

We are available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play.  For more details visit our site www.heythere.us

Hey There… on Itunes (Apple)

HeyThere… on Google Play (Android)

 

Tinder Flame Burns Out – New App Rises From Ashes

 

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Swipe left.   Swipe Right.  All swiped out!!!  Tinder, arguably the most popular dating app has run its course and is no longer the darling of the dating app world.  Don’t believe me?  Check out recent reviews:

“This app seems to be getting worse.”
“Generally a waste of time depending on what demographic you are.”
“Worst app i’ve ever used!”  

The steady flow of negative reviews are a result of technical usability issues (which are the least of their concerns) and an onslaught of bots, scammers, and fakes.  In it’s heyday the app was refreshing.  It struck a chord with the essence of everyday behavioral norms of attraction.  I mean come on, who hasn’t swiped left/right in their heads when walking by people on the street!  The swipe technology was revolutionary and lead to a virtual empire in the dating app world.  But with recent stagnation and poor performance it has swiftly fallen from grace.  However there is hope – the fall of this great empire has given rise to new and better options.

Such is the case with the rise of a new app hey there…, recently out of beta and released for both Apple (iOS) and Android.  hey there…, like Tinder of yesteryear, offers a refreshing spin.  Not only is it easy to use but it also integrates social connectivity & true-to-life intuitive behaviors.  Most importantly it capitalizes on friend based introductions which has been proven to be the best way to create a successful long term match.  Where Tinder just noted common friends, hey there… turns those passive notations into actual users that provide direct influence in the entire dating experience. That’s correct – hey there… turns friends into actual digital matchmakers that can pick out matches and provide real-time advice when chatting!

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Much like the way Tinder tapped into everyday human nature versus dependencies on matching algorithms, hey there… capitalizes on friend input rather than robotics.  Fact is our friends & family members having been bridging the gap in social circles for decades.  Now, hey there…  app gives friends the ability to take back their matchmaking role just in digital form.  

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Created in Massachusetts the hey there… team has been regionally testing a beta iOS version in New England.  With positive feedback and results, including some highly successful matches (real-life matches – not tinder swipe matches), the team has now moved from beta to full launch with release of Android.  

Founders, Todd Staples & Kevin Trainor, say “Our primary goal with hey there… is to give people the best chance of finding a real world match using the drivers that are so evident in the real world, friend introductions.  The incumbents use fuzzy metrics to classify a match where we want true-to-real-life matches. We look at the people joining as members & friends where the big players in the industry look at people solely as numbers/users.”

Look for hey there… app on the Apple App Store & Google Play.  The founders are working to enhance the current version based on user feedback.  “We take feedback from our members seriously and are committed to building the best application that will deliver desired results.  Our app is only successful if it builds real offline relationships!”  – founders Kevin & Todd.  

 

HeyThere… on Itunes (Apple)

HeyThere… on Google Play (Android)

Wingman wisdom… Make the first date a first meet!

Wingman wisdom… Make the first date a first meet!

It’s a match!  Everything has clicked and you are ready to transition from the digital world into the real one.  The pressure is on to figure out the where, when and what to do!  Planning the first date is challenging!  Especially when you are moving from online to off.  You really don’t know all that much about the person.  I mean come on…how much insight can you really have from a weeks worth of sharing photos, texts and maybe even a brief phone call.  With so little insight into your “match” how the hell do you plan a great first date?  In my expert wingman opinion, you don’t!  Don’t even think about it till after the first meet!

 

Changing “date” to “meet”!

It’s estimated that online daters spends on average $20k on dating related expenses within a five year span.  Now imagine how much time and effort is also exhausted!  Whoa, Right!  Unfortunately, the modern digital dating scene is really tough.  It’s riddled with fakes, scammers, and ill-intentioned folks misrepresenting themselves in all ways.  This often leads to one bad date after another.  Ultimately leading to a great amount of disappointment!  So, what’s the best way to take your connection offline?

After years of experience I found a very simple and effective solution; the “first meet” rule!  This simple rule will change your entire dating experience!  First, simply substitute “meet” for “date.”  This immediately lowers expectations to a more reasonable level.  Next, change your mind set to be more connection focused.  Think of it like this… before you can make a real first date doesn’t it make sense to see if there is an in-person connection!  Finally, get rid of all the pressure!  The connotation of “date” is so damn rigid and formal.  So to alleviate all pressure it’s best to simplify the first get together entirely.

Every “first meet” should be casual, simple, and light.  This allows for both parties to be me comfortable and to just be yourselves.  To really make your “first meets” great follow these simple rules…

Wingman Tips Rules

  1. Keep it casual!  You are not walking down the aisle just yet in a tux or gown.  It’s just a first meeting and no need for unnecessary pressures.  For example make plans to meet up at low key coffee shop where you can spend some time chatting.  Yes, it is a bit cliche.  However it is a highly effective!    A huge plus here – it’s much easier to leave a bad first meet than an extravagant dinner date.  
  2. Set a maximum time!  Keep the meeting to an hour max.  Mention this prior to meeting so that there is no misunderstanding.  An hour is ample time to make a first impression and to know if the potential exists for a future romantic connection.  Best perk is this minimizes the max time on bad first meets.  
  3. No pressure mindset!  Knowing you are only meeting the person versus having a date should remove all unnecessary pressures.  This makes it easier for you to just be yourself and enjoy the time getting to know one another.  Maybe you will find a new friend or maybe it’s time to plan a romantic date.  Just go with what feels right!

There are couple primary benefits to “first meet” rule.  First, if there is no connection it’s super easy to move past all negative experiences.  Most important, if you do hit it off, it is a lot more fun and easier to plan a romantic first date.

 

My Personal Experience

This advice comes directly from my own personal experiences.  During the time I was creating hey there… dating app I was very active on the dating scene.  Date after date without any romantic connection.  I was getting extremely frustrated with lack of results.  So much so that I began questioning online dating all together.  I knew I had to do something to make it into the fun experience it was intended to be. So I created the “first meet” rule!   It immediately had a profound effect on my dating life.  I started having fun meeting people again.  I was less concerned about results and more happy to have the opportunity to meet new people. I made many new friends as a result.  Ultimately, I ended up meeting one amazing woman!  It all started with a simple meet up over a coffee at Starbucks.  We instantly hit it off and couldn’t wait to see each other again.  We planned a romantic date soon there after.  Many dates later we are still together and looking forward to a future together.  We often look back at our first meeting and try to encourage others to take the same positive approach we had that day.  No pressure, carefree, and just enjoying the opportunity to meet someone new with the potential for romantic connection.  There is an old saying that goes something like…  “it’s not where you are that matters but rather who you’re with that does.”  In essence that is the meaning of the “first meet!”   Dating can be so damn complicated.  In my opinion there is no need to make it even more complicated with unnecessary pressures of grandiose first dates.  The connection is with the who ….not the where, when, or what!

 

A couple that farts together stays together?

 

Wingman Wisdom…

So….you’re out on a hot date.  Totally clicking over an enjoyable evening of wonderful food and even better company.  The conversation is flowing, sparks are flying and everything is going perfect. Then it happens!  Starting out with a little rumble in your tummy.  Followed by increasing abdominal discomfort.  Soon discomfort turns to hot flashes and your butt cheeks become fully clenched equaling the strength of a vice grip.  You are now on the verge of a ripping a major fart!  

The enjoyment of your date quickly turns into an anxiety riddled situation.  Your mind, no longer focused on the date, but rather running through a series of questions… Is it going to be loud?  Will it stink?  If I keep holding it in will it go away?  If I keep holding it in am I going to crap my pants???  You then excuse yourself from the table, clenched cheeks and all, swiftly scurrying to the restroom for a full release.  Ahhh….feels so good!  Fully relieved and collected, you head back to your date praying you got it all out.

The agony of our body’s need to excrete gas can be a major inconvenience.  Often times putting us in embarrassing predicaments like when on a date!  The ill timed fart can be one of the biggest nuisances of dating.  Burdened with so many unnecessary pressures as is, the pesky fart just adds another dimension of pain.  We agonize over things like…   Where to go on the first date?  Are they interested?  Should I move in for a kiss?  Are we now exclusive?  But no instance of dating is more pressure packed than knowing when to let the first flatulence fly.

The Early Stages Of Dating

The earlier the stage of dating the harder it is to be free flowing with certain bodily excretions.  Saliva, yes!  Gas, a huge NO!  FB Singles Group Member Cheryl writes:  “Never on a date and I’d excuse myself and hope he’d do the same.”  Most everyone would agree with this sentiment.  First dates are also our first impressions and no one wants to ruin it with a stink bomb.  Ladies and Gents alike do their best to hold in the gas to avoid embarrassment.  After all, we are trying to portray ourselves as sexy and desirable.  Farts are most certainly funny but never referred to as sexy.  So do your best to avoid releasing nature’s fury when in the company of a potential romantic connection.  

To minimize the risk of a gas leak while on a date try these Wingman Tips…

  1. Avoid gas inducing foods!  Everyone has a good grasp of what foods are more likely to cause gas.  Know your body and eat accordingly prior to your date.
  2. Antacids are good!  If you know you have a nervous or upset tummy ahead of time, try popping a couple of antacids to calm the juices from producing any toxic fumes.  They also reduce stomach bloat.  
  3. Ease up on the sweets before meeting your sweetheart!  Apparently there is a direct link between sugar consumption and greater need for releasing gas.  If you want to reduce the potential for gas then cut back on the sweet treats.

If by chance passing gas is completely unavoidable then just let loose.  Don’t put yourself through unnecessary pain and or discomfort.  Especially don’t put your health at risk.  Flatulence is a part of life for all.  Little known factoid here worth noting: Both ladies and gents all fart!

The Relationship Phase

Once courtship has moved past the early stages, progressing to some level of a committed relationship, farting will become a regular occurrence.   One of our female members of our FB Singles Group wrote in saying “If you date me, I’m like a guy with that stuff. I am really not prim and proper about it (at least not in private). I have done Dutch Ovens.”  Dutch Ovens excluded, the passing of gas will happen by both partners sooner or later.  Despite being totally normal, the first fart can be the toughest to squeak out.   Another of our members Dawn said it best.. “Farting is hysterical! Some men find it disgusting if a woman farts – not sure why that is. All of us are human. Regardless …in the past…the silent & deadly ones are easier to make a joke of. I guess if it slips out – so be it.”  

When breaking the ice for breaking wind keep these Wingman Tips in mind…

  1. Make a joke of it!  Adding humor is a great way to make light of an otherwise awkward situation.  By acknowledging the proverbial elephant in the room with a form of jest you ease all the tension making it easier for both you and your partner to let rip in the future.  
  2. Pardon yourself!  If you or your partner are all prim and proper then just do your best to excuse yourself.  Go to a more private area and let it out.  If one happens to accidentally sneak out then just apologize and move on.  
  3. Be preemptive!  Bring up farts in a casual conversation.  Tell a story about someone at work or a friend passing gas.  Takes the edge off and opens up the inevitability that both of you will eventually bust ass.  

Whatever you do avoid making yourself sick by holding it in too long!  One of our FB Group friends had this bad experience to share…”I almost got sick while dating this guy who thought it was unladylike! Imagine holding it all in while spending a weekend together. I promised myself I’d never date a guy ever again who made me feel uncomfortable about my body or my bodily functions! Life is too short to have your stomach in knots…. i prefer guys who think farts are funny.”  So true!  When you are with the right person they will make you feel comfortable in any situation.  In fact some guys even prefer a woman that is confident in ripping a juicy fart.   Like our friend Brian…”Word….. I’d whip out a diamond ring if she asked me to pull her finger.”   It’s one of life’s little embarrassing things we all do.  It’s completely unavoidable.  The best way to overcome the embarrassment is to be confident in yourself and your relationship.  A couple that can fart together will stay together!  

The Hey There… Wingman 😉