Month: February 2012

Peacocking 3.0

In my quest to understand social dynamics when it comes to dating, it struck me last night at an event how some guys who might not be the hottest dudes score huge points with the ladies when they lead with confidence. It might seem obvious, but it runs deeper and I don’t think it can happen overnight. This learned behavior takes time to master and involves understanding the subtleties.  It’s not about peacocking ala “The Game” or taking a Tony Robbins crash course on a step-by-step approach to personal achievement.  Instead I think this (for both genders) can become an art of awareness, that translates over to perception and the laws of attraction. 

At this event, I couldn’t help but notice one guy was standing in the corner at a party who literally was a spitting image of the late Steve Jobs – granted, a younger Jobs from the early ’90s. Black mock turtleneck, jeans, simple eye wear, and an incredible air of confidence that drew a cluster of women around him for the majority of the night.

Although I didn’t want to stare and be obvious (and the socially awkward one in doing so), I would from time-to-time glance over. I don’t even know if he was talking, nor needed to say much. He stood there at his house party with a conviction in knowing something that perhaps few around him didn’t know. At times he had his arms crossed and looked deep in thought. Perhaps he brought a refreshing Silicon Valley-esque vibe to the very finance sort of crowd. Maybe he is in tech, I probably won’t ever know.

Who was this mystery man and what was it about him that attracted such a group of all different types? I couldn’t help but glance over at another interesting dynamic on a couch. A guy resembling Jeremy Stoppleman from Yelp sat smack in the middle of four women who circled him, similar to Mr. Pseudo-Jobs in the other corner of the room. This guy had a similar energy about him. Seemed all the girls around him did the talking and he would interject at times but didn’t need to say much to keep their attention. Did this Pseudo-Stoppleman have the answers to the mysteries of the universe and know something greater as well?

One could argue that the ratio of men to women was not favorable and thus the natural inclination was for the women either to pod around one guy and make the best of it, or pod off on their own, if they were genuinely interested in catching up with one another instead of trying to be social or “working it.” Sometimes you just don’t feel like working it. It can be exhausting. Maybe one of the secrets to attraction is first to figure out your best physical strength and asset. For the Jobs look alike, maybe after so many people for the last goodness-knows-how-many-years have commented how he looks like the guy, he finally just said to himself in the mirror one day, you know what, we’re gonna make the best of what we’ve got and work it. Embrace the fact that I look like him and use it as a point of conversation – not only as an ice breaker BUT a gateway to talk about passions and interests: technology, Silicon Valley culture, etc.

The Finesse Behind Socializing

I am always struck by the importance of first impressions, creating connections in general and how some people have an understanding and command of what could be considered “softer skills” and others on the flip side have limited ease when socializing.

In throwing various networking events and serving as a matchmaker to the Bay Area’s elite population of professionals, I have become even more fascinated in watching people, trying to understand the psychology of why some people get it, and others seem to miss the bigger picture.

Recently, at an event, I observed attendees mingling, many of whom were meeting one another for the first time. It was a happy hour to bring together a few select friends and handful of clients to end a long work week.

I observed that some people have a skill deep within them that allows ease in getting to know a stranger. There isn’t any awkwardness and there also isn’t a forced connection or a superficial, “My name is so and so and I am a program manager at Google.” Instead, for some of these types, the connection in meeting a stranger develops with a seamless conversation of “how did you end up here tonight, oh you live in Palo Alto too, ah you just moved here from the East Coast as well, how funny, me too…..” and from there a solid comfort level has been established and the rest is history.

I was having a conversation this morning with my husband trying to understand what I have observed for a long time.  Maybe, not coincidentally, this is one example of exactly what he is trying to teach many of his entrepreneurship students at Stanford about intangibles that go beyond mastery of analytical skills or knowledge.

There are those whom I believe were raised in a home where they watched their parents and through nature and nurture gained a depth of knowledge and/or comfort about how to interact with people in general – maybe it’s empathy, curiosity, or both.  And, having been raised in this environment, it is deeply engrained in them. Then, there are many who are not born as extroverted or aware of personal dynamics, but who certainly are forced to learn to become very social and at least perceived as being “at ease” in a crowd of people due to their professional success and being in the spot light.

Remember that almost everything that happens in life has people involved – professional transactions, family interactions, friends, romantic connections.  And this means that feelings and personalities come front and center.

I think many people forget in general how important first impressions are and that what could be a huge opportunity right in front of them for a love connection NEVER HAPPENS because they don’t make an effort.  At this little event, I was struck by a couple of females who plopped themselves in the plush club chairs at the lounge and never once made any effort to extend themselves in a positive way by, for example, introducing themselves to any of the guests next to them and trying to be friendly. The perception by the men was that these women were unfriendly, uneasy, and uninterested and really weren’t bringing much to the party. Even if these girls were legitimately interested in these eligible men, these guys wrote them off and had already moved on.

In the extremely competitive world of dating, there is a short window to maximize each and every possible opportunity and you need to stand out. Unless you are Heidi Klum (and it wouldn’t even hurt for her to follow this advice), you need to accentuate all of your positives and shine in every possible way – find your competitive advantage(s) and maximize it (them). If there aren’t a lot of positives that you can find right now, discover and develop some of them and work it.  This goes for men and women but, for these particular observations, women.

Men have a very limited window in which they will be interested and pay attention to a woman. If someone sits there like a sloth and doesn’t impress an eligible man by being friendly, semi-outgoing, and inquisitive, he will mentally check out and focus on someone else.  That train will have left the station and that opportunity to create a great first impression is lost in translation.  He might have exchanged a business card to be friendly and a week later you might reflect and then email him to say hello – but chances are he will write a short “nice to meet you too” email but not express interest in seeing you.

I even noticed this happening last night at a friend’s party in San Francisco. The ratio of females to men was around 3 : 1. Pods of women plopped on couches, clustered around one another, almost like bees on honey.  The bulk of guys did not approach because these female pods were closed off and even though I will place my bets on their being eligible, their body language was closed off, even for a matchmaker to show interest. The socially successful guests at this event were the ones who maybe weren’t the most extroverted but were making an effort and fled the honey bee hive for the night for a different sort of nectar.

Perfect on Paper Doesn’t Always Match Well For Linx

Ladies out there…..I want to bring to your attention something really important that has been a hard decision as CEO of Linx to make. Recently I was introduced to a perfect on paper guy- literally amazing! Ivy League, CEO, 39, never married, good-looking, strong family values and ready (so he says) for love! We had a first phone call Monday where I shared about the business, how potentially I could help him, and his ideal match. He led with a negative foot,  assuming failure from the start. He shared he had worked with another matchmaker in LA and had a terrible experience and how he is a very picky guy and absolutely does not agree with my policy of no pics as part of the introduction process.

He asked me to supply him with examples of the types of girls in Linx before he made up his mind about doing Linx. I felt a dirtiness come over me. I paused and explained that is not my process and that would compromise my methodology. I tried to explain that my method is to “get” at a clients type and get into their head to really understand the types that will work and those that will not. I shared it is a long process and how Linx shouldn’t be compared to other matchmakers- especially in LA where it is only looks focused and no one cares about the substance and goodness forbid her education or what she does for a living!

He then commented how he knows he is a total pain-in-the-ass and not easy and I can at ANY time say no to him. He said for me to consider giving him a dossier of pics (or he would happily come into the office for me to share pics on my laptop) and then, if/when we start working together he would only be a client if I agree to show photos. Essentially he discounted the bulk of my process and didn’t want to hear another peep out of me. On a side note, sometimes I have shown a photo to a client (largely with the other clients permission). It can help but it can also be disastrous. Humans are judgemental creatures and men especially can quickly size someone up as hot or not and discount every important quality that makes her an exceptional match!

After three days of careful consideration I sent him this email tonight and I am really proud of not stooping to someone I am not just because he is an awesome on paper guy. I bet you everyone has always said yes to him and it felt so good to say no thanks to him and turn him away. Plus the most important thing is I am doing all you women a major service because he’s someone who will never be satisfied with anyone. He won’t ever be happy- with Linx, with women, perhaps with himself.

Dear Name,
I wanted to get in touch with you as a follow-up to the conversation we had on Monday. After careful consideration, I am not comfortable sharing photos with the types of women in Linx who could potentially be a good fit.

There are multiple steps in becoming a client and while I could easily send you random photos of “hot” girls, it would not do us any good. I have prided myself in running a very successful business (currently over  1,000 clients) largely because of the proven methodology. There are so many run-of-the-mill matchmakers who would follow through with your request in a heartbeat and might even show photos as part of their process. Often a lot of those folks focus solely on looks, whereas my client base instead is based on a combination of physical attractiveness and other key factors like personality and education.

I thought a lot about sending you over some examples of women with whom I would like to set you up but I just wasn’t comfortable going against my policy and practice. As I mentioned, I have on occasion shared a photo or two with a VIP (i.e. someone who is ALREADY a client) who appreciates the goal of saving time when physical attraction is such a big part of it.

I gather that, based on your not-so-good experience with the LA matchmakers and the bar already being so high, you might not be so happy with what Linx Dating can offer you. I think you are a catch and I am sure you will meet someone amazing. I’m just not sure we (Linx) and you are the best match. 


Happy Valentine’s From Linx

Happy Valentine’s to you all……I hope you have fun plans. If you are without a date for tonight, I hope you are going out with the girls for festive drinks or heading to your best GFs home for some good wine, potluck, and The Bachelor on Tivo.

I have my money on him choosing Courtney, although I wish he would pick Lindsey. They seem to have a very good lifestyle compatibility connection and are better matched physically and emotionally too.

I‘ve been tweeting like a passionate cupid today and if you aren’t following me on twitter, please do @linxdating and tell your friends to follow too. Here are some of my tweets from today that I will elaborate more on…..

Both men and women can overcompensate when dating. Dial it back. See what happens.
I think both men and women can do this all the time. For the guy who buys the girl he likes all her favorite candies every time he sees her, stocks his fridge with all her favorite vitamin waters, and submits to all her crazy requests and demands…is asking for trouble. She will take advantage of you.
For the woman who bakes the guy she likes chocolate chip cookies and her grandma’s apple pie on date two is asking to get bulldozed. Guys love food and what guy won’t eat the cookies and granny’s pie- they all will. Yet it is trying too hard in the beginning and doing too much too soon.
My advice would be to stock the fridge with the vit waters and get her the candies, bake him the cookies ONCE exclusive and in a monogamous relationship.

– Develop an edge. Whatever that edge may be. Reveal that edge when dating. It’s sexy.
There are some people (i.e., Ben from the Bachelor) who lack an edge. I hear from a lot of clients that both men and women desire meeting a potential mate with “something” there worth exploring.  
Even Ben said he likes Courtney because she has an edge- which she does. An edge could be an internal strength, a confidence, some random interest that you are crazy wild about, or the fact that you are out there dating a few prospects and don’t always accept a date on a Saturday (leaving some room for mystery).

-Consider a firm handshake when meeting. A cold fish and weak one is such a turn off. That is a matchmakers first data point about someone!
Child, there is nothing worse than a handshake that is like a cold, wet dead fish in your palm. No one likes this. I always use a new client or prospective clients handshake as a benchmark of who they are. Weak ones give anyone the willies. Firm it up. It speaks of your confidence. Couple that with good eye contact. A winning combo.

-Call your match! What is with some guys? They ping me for an introduction then let 10 days go by before calling. Get on the clue train!
Like seriously? I get so many emails each day from clients requesting “match me.” As I follow through with a new match, I am often taken aback by a few of these super desirable guys who just forget to call. Sorry Amy, I was sick. Amy, I had to go to Europe last minute. Amy….this and that. An unspoken truth is that women love a man who calls period. Match that to calls when he says he is going to call. A winning combo.
-Don’t force a connection. Allow a connection to unfold naturally and organically. You can’t manufacture love.
I have a friend who is extremely eager to find love. Before she even has met possible matches, she is already planning the wedding. Men pick up on that frenetic energy and will close the loop before even meeting because it is “too much.” She will send long emails even before meeting for date one about why they are great together and a data dump of her life. This is a total turnoff. Stop the long emails, the data dumps, and just be casual about it. If you feel the frenetic clutter in your mind building up, go workout, or call your best GF.  
-Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
I say this all the time. It just happened again how someone I know is literally casting away every other potential opportunity and connection because she had ONE good date with a cool guy. He did all the things a gentleman and good guy does on the first date and actually seems like a very nice young man. That being said, to close off every other opportunity to meet other potential suitors because she is banking on him being her husband has disaster written all over it! For all she knows, he is out there courting 5 other women (doing the same thing, saying the same thing, etc etc).

Looking for Guest Bloggers

To all the different Linx Line readers…I am looking for anyone who has great date tales and stories to apply to be a guest blogger on the Linx Line.

I want your stories about your dating frustrations, ways you currently meet people, dating triumphs, and your personal suggestions you can give our readers.This could be dating tips for women, dating tips for men, etc. Dating in the Silicon Valley or dating in San Francisco.

Email me if you are interested: amy@linxdating.com and share why you would make a great guest contributor.

Heart of the Silicon Valley

On March 4th, some of Silicon Valley’s most desirable and interesting folks will come out to support the Heart of the Silicon Valley http://www.hosv.org/Events/events.shtml at the exquisite Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga.

Square Peg Foundation, which provides a sanctuary for needy horses and an adaptive riding program for children with special needs will receive event proceeds. The benefit will include a reception supported by local restaurants and wineries, as well as an auction and concert featuring local favorite LUCE Band, whose first album earned an award for best debut album, as well as song credits in major motion pictures and television shows. Opening the show will be Northern California sensation Megan Slankard. Both artists are on the short list of rising musicians to watch.

This is a fantastic event to support a great cause and also mingle with a fun and very energetic crowd of charitable types. For those on the market and looking for a good match, it happens to be rich with eligible guests- so another reason to go!

When:             Sunday, March 4, 2012 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

What:              Intimate Private Benefit Concert • VIP Reception • Silent Auction

Where:           Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA

Why:               To raise money and awareness for Square Peg Foundation, (San    Mateo).            http://www.squarepegfoundation.org/

Music by:       LUCE, with opening performance by Megan Slankard

Tickets:         Tickets: VIP: $150, General Admission: $80

Audience:      300 attendees: affluent aged 35-65 (professionals, music, wine and art lovers, supporters of good causes, from Atherton, Woodside, Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Los Gatos, Saratoga, San Francisco, and other Bay area towns)

Contacts:       Tickets:            www.hosv.org  | 650-856-8041

We Moved Offices!

We moved offices from Palo Alto to Menlo Park and are part of an exclusive artisan community situated in a residential neighborhood. Our new office is so much more elegant, rich with history, pretty, and very spacious. 

I first thought I would miss my old Palo Alto office since I was there for over 5 years but haven’t regretted the move at all.  My old space had yucky carpets, pesky neighbors, and was tiny! Plus the parking downtown Palo Alto was often a headache.

The new space is so calming and totally “Linx.” The living room area where meetings are held is a color palate of soft hues of greens and my office/den is a color palate of reds with accents of blues- the perfect passionate nest to create romantic matches for our clients. We are by-appointment only and typically do our meetings Monday-Thursdays. Parking is very easy, wine is served, candles lit, music soft, and conversation is always interesting (and of course, highly confidential).

Scratching the Surface of the Horse Community

My sister and I enjoyed a leisurely Saturday taking a horseback riding lesson in Woodside. She is eligible and in her mid 20s and I have been trying to expose her to ways to connect with intelligent and well rounded men outside of the vapid San Francisco bar scene of hook-ups and tequila shots.

She was blown away by this friendly horse culture in Woodside and I was so happy she not only did a phenomenal job her first time on a horse, no less, but got to meet a lot of really nice horse lovers – hunters & jumpers, polo players, and even a guy who was reining in an arena.

She chatted with one totally hunky guy at the arena before he was going to play a polo match. At first he was a little aloof and then loosened up and was very nice. After, Ash and I grabbed brunch after at The Woodside Bakery and a perfect specimen of 6’5″ gorgeousness in polo regalia locked eyes with her as she ate her
turkey sando.  White pants, brown leather boots, leather belt, and polo top. A total hunk-spotting in Woodside and goes to show she would literally never meet this type of guy in San Francisco. Turns out he was visiting a relative and had flown in from Houston. 

My sister is a creature of habit and doesn’t necessarily like the unknown and trying things that are not in her comfort zone. It was a great exercise for her as a single girl who is seriously looking for a good commitment-minded guy to try something new and in a healthy, fun, environment. A new world, serious eye candy, and a great thigh/butt workout too that you can’t get from the gym!

My advice for any eligible woman out there is to disrupt what you are currently doing and put yourself in different environments than you would normally do. Join a coed cycling club, a hiking club, take a horseback riding lesson, or start a coed book club.

These are excellent ways to meet potential suitors that you wouldn’t necessarily bump into online, through a friend, at Philz coffee, or at work. If you don’t like it, try a new activity. Men love women who are well rounded and passionate about hobbies outside of their career. Even if you don’t find it to be a way to meet genuine guys, perhaps you will find a new interest and hobby you never knew you would be interested in!

The Sweetest Valentine- ABC News Nightline

In December of 2010, I got an email out of the blue from one of the producers at ABC News Nightline in New York inquiring if I would like to entertain doing a story about Linx and the Silicon Valley dating culture. I don’t have a publicist so I wondered how she had learned about Linx. Of course I was literally jumping out of my seat with excitement and absolute enthusiasm at this opportunity of a lifetime! It turns out she had been in the Bay Area covering a story on technology and had had a dinner with some friends and colleagues in San Francisco one evening after a long day of shooting.
Conversation quickly turned from GOOG, to politics, to dating. Someone at the table mentioned the story that Natasha Sarkisian had written for San Francisco Magazine back in 2009, http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-incurable-new-bay-area-bachelor, and it sparked intrigue and curiosity for the Nightline producer. As they say, the rest is history.

We did the majority of the filming back in September 2011 and I geared up for a 45 minute TV interview with news corespondant, Bill Weir, who 99.9% of the male and female population has a crush on. No wonder- look at him! 

I rallied two fantastically enthusiastic clients to chat on camera with him, as well, and planned a last minute intimate cocktail party with 20 young professionals for the story, catered by Charlie Ayers (former GOOG chef) no less and hosted by Silicon Valley connector and investor, Pejman Nozad.  It was a very magical day- years of hard work truly paying off!

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from one of the producers explaining that they wanted to “beef the story up a bit” by featuring a real Linx date. I had to scramble quickly to locate the perfect Silicon Valley guy and dreamy San Francisco match for the piece and sure enough lucked out by getting my top two choices to agree.

Nightline flew out this past week to film again and, on Friday February 3rd, we shot what they call “B roll” of me at my new office digs in a more passive capacity where I was on the laptop and just sitting at my desk. We also got footage of my client, Sundar, and I chatting on the couch about working with Linx generally and about his date that would be filmed that evening, as well as me being interviewed alone about Sundar and the date I chose for him.

After a couple of hours of filming at my office in Menlo Park, we scooted over to Left Bank restaurant so the crew could set up cameras for the actual date. It was amazing to see behind the scenes how discreet some of the cameras were. Two tiny ones were perfectly positioned on the table and a larger one hidden on a sconce. I don’t think Menlo Park had seen so much excitement in a long time. Lots of people kept walking by the booth where the filming would take place prior to lights, camera, action to see what exactly was going on. A guy in particular kept looking over at my table and at the Nightline crew…..I joked with the crew that he is a “star fucker” and they chuckled, yep…pretty much!  They said with this type of star fucker, they simply ignore them. By ignoring, they tend to just fade away in the background. If you indluge them, forget it.

Sundar’s date was meant to arrive at 6:00pm so we could get started but ended up being fashionably late – poor thing ran out gas en route to the date. It was a moment of slight panic as the crew was ready to film and that meant that the clock was a ticking from a $$ perspective. So with her being a little late, I wondered as I sipped some much needed wine – runaway date?

Not a chance, as Ani showed up looking lovely in an orange silk BCBG dress – hair and make-up done – totally date-ready. I prepped her, forced her to sip a little wine to calm her nerves, and psyched her up about her big moment on camera. Her date was outside talking to cameras. She got mic’d and ready to rock and roll. Sundar sat at the table and the cameras started rolling as Ani walked up to the table to greet him. They chatted for about 2 hours on the actual date with cameras fading in the background. Before entrees, he got up to use the restroom and she mentioned to me that there was a bit of a stiffness to the date. We all strategized about what to do. House cocktail, I suggested! We had two fun fruity cocktails sent over to the table…..he only took a few sips.

It was really fun as my family came to Left Bank to have dinner with my husband and me during the actual filming. They got to chat with the camera guys and producer which was exciting for them as well. After the date, they got footage of Sundar and Ani talking seperately in a “post date” commentary. He said, she said….

It was a super successful day and a bittersweet ending to the final footage that Nighline will need for the feature story which is scheduled to air on February 13th. I have been so extremely blown away by the utmost professionalism of the entire ABC News Nightline staff of camera men, correspondents, and producers. This experience has been a highlight of my life and something I will always remember. Make sure to watch on February 13th or record it!