Month: October 2013

Cooking Rustic Italian

Last weekend, my husband, sister, and I had the pleasure of getting to spend a Friday with a lovely client over dinner. This dinner was not your average dinner. It was extraordinary. It was Italian. It was divine. My client had recently returned from Italia where he took some classes to continue to educate himself on rustic Italian cooking.

When we arrived he has the largest chunk of parmigiano reggiano that he had smuggled back into the US for us to sample and a colorful array of other cheeses, charcuterie, and the kicker- not only a loaf of walnut bread he made that morning (seriously…this is true) BUT fabulous flat bread he made as well. He was so sweet and kind answering some of the most ridiculous questions coming from me. I have so much to learn when it comes to cooking and what we loved seeing was how happy he was in his element- not to mention relaxed and having fun! 6659896207_2fef39f0a5

We sipped wine, nibbled yummy appetizers and then the real fun began. Our evening was a cooking dinner party- part education, cooking, and eating. What a way to spend a Friday after a long week! He made the pasta from scratch and was the most patient cook I have ever witnessed…slowly folding the flour “volcano” into the eggs with a fork…ever so slowly. The pasta came out absolutely perfetto! He then taught us to make pesto using pistachios (versus pine nuts that can go rancid quickly) and an incredibly rich carbonara sauce. A short video montage my sister put together from the night.basil-pesto-in-cuisinart-food-processor

The pièce de résistance was his Torta di Mele cake for dessert- once again completely made from scratch. Delicious apples, sliced paper thin, baked in almost a crepe batter until caramelized. The smell of the torta di mele poured through the oven and was so pretty to watch as it baked in the oven. He served it with a local San Francisco based Madagascar vanilla ice cream paired with ice cold limoncello.

With the holidays right around the corner, giving gifts of homemade limoncello is creative and something anyone would appreciate (also the perfect hostess gift!)Imagine your homemade limoncello poured over ice cream or pound cake. Here is a random video I found to see how it is made. Keep your bottles of limoncello in the freezer until ready to serve. The ingredients are simple and making a batch doesn’t require much work, but you’ll need some time. In most recipes, limoncello must steep anywhere from 40-60 days or so. So that means get started now!

We played board games, we laughed, and drove home that night in awe and with tummies extremely stuffed. He not only gets tremendous satisfaction out of cooking himself two meals a day using only the freshest ingredients from farmers markets but cooks regularly for friends. If we lived closer, I have a feeling we would be camping out on his porch daily waiting for meals of any kind.

H
ere is the recipe for the apple cake. It was SO good we are making this for this Thanksgiving: http://www.divinacucina.com/torta.html

5 Golden Delicious apples, peeled and sliced paper thin
2 eggs, extra large
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
7 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
Powdered sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and lightly flour two round pizza pans or a 9×13 lasagne pan.

Beat the eggs and sugar together and add the flour, baking powder, milk, butter and vanilla. Mix well. Add the apple slices and pour into the prepared pan. Place the pan on the bottom of the oven for 10 minutes, then place in the center of the oven to cook until golden, about 1 hour. Torta di Mele is a very thin, rich cake that will bake down to about one-half inch. It will cut easier if you let it cool before serving. But you can reheat it in the oven before serving.

This Week in Perspective

A quick blog entry here…hope everyone is looking forward to a fun fall weekend ahead. We had an exceptionally busy week meeting with many new clients and prospects of Linx- even got to visit a lovely and very impressive prospective client at her Silicon Valley home to ensure 100% privacy. Lots of matchmaking this week and meeting with VIPs to discuss their projects in the works. Tonight a stellar Linx client has invited my husband, sister, and even pooch Marshall (woof woof!) over for a cooking lesson dinner party. I am so excited to see him in his element and on top of that getting to splurge on his yummy homemade pastas (yes ladies…he told me he is making the pasta from scratch, I know!) and will show us how to make 4 rustic Italian pasta sauces. He keeps saying everything is very easy to make. Tonight I need to witness this firsthand and see if these insanely good sauces are THAT easy or easy for him but not for us!

Last night I checked out The Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel to survey the scene with a girlfriend after a visit to the Hockney opening at the De Young. It was a fun girls night and good quality time together. The infamous Thursday night scene was definitely different. Ladies, it was literally ALL men.San Jose-20130825-00065 I saw this on my satellite radio one day and had to laugh. Although I find that word derogatory used in context of the ever-popular Rosewood nights, I couldn’t help but smile.

The bar was packed with dudes having drinks and they sort of seemed very happy just talking to one another. The deck was very crowded as well with around a 10 to 1 ratio of men to women. I asked the bartender “what was up” and he said he has witnessed a shift in the Thursday night scene. When I looked around more, it really looked like a lot of very cute, preppy MBA and law school Stanford boys in their nicely pressed chinos, dress shirts, and Ferragamos. Sort of like an East Coast group of guys in the mid 20’s to mid 40’s age range. A pic I snapped from last night- told you…ALL guys! San Mateo-20131024-00488

One former lovely client who is getting married soon sent me a couple of nice quotes from her Linx experience. “There are myriad dating books, advice columns and best friends out there, all offering “helpful” suggestions. However, the best advice I ever received – and still hold dear to my heart – was from Amy. It was her words that lead me to the man I am going to marry and I pass on her wisdom to others regularly. Like all the other ways in which we are leading the nation in innovation, Amy’s services are unsurpassed. Hold her advice dear to your heart. I certainly do; her insight lead me to the man I am going to marry.”

Have a great weekend all!

Linx in Newsweek | Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifs

By: Sean Elder

It’s Saturday night at The Sea (“Home of the $57 halibut!”), which is perched on the border between Palo Alto and Mountain View, and anyone new here might think there’s a big gay scene in Silicon Valley. Guys outnumber women about five to one at this high-end restaurant tonight and many of the men are dining together. But they do not seem together in that sense: Most are looking or tapping intently at their Androids or iPhones – both are in equal evidence, given the restaurant’s proximity to both Google and Apple headquarters. The work never stops here, which in the high-octane world of high-tech start-ups is the same as saying the fun never stops: Work is fun in Silicon Valley. Unless your idea of fun is dating.

“The odds are good, but the goods are odd” is the lament of many single women here. Kate Greer, a Stanford grad who lived and dated in Silicon Valley for many years says, “I love to watch women who would have never looked at these guys in high school or college” suddenly circling the big fish in the tiny tech pond. “It’s sweet to watch [them] falling in love with the biggest nerd in the room – that guy who looks like that little chicken with the big glasses in the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons.”

Of the countless success stories in Silicon Valley none looms larger than Elon Musk: PayPal co-founder, electric car inventor, lunar travel entrepreneur. Director Jon Favreau says Musk was the model for Robert Downey’s Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies and the enigmatic South African certainly works and plays like a superhero, if not a movie star. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek profile he has had one vacation in four years, taking time out to divorce his second wife, the actress Talulah Riley, in August 2012. “I would like to allocate more time to dating,” Musk said before asking the reporter. “How much time does a woman want a week? Maybe 10 hours?”

The environment of many tech companies is still notoriously frat-like and not necessarily conducive to what most people consider grown-up mating rituals. “The culture at these companies for 20- and even early 30-somethings is not unlike the dorm experience at a top university,” says Amy Andersen, founder and CEO of Linx Dating Service in Menlo Park. “Project teams bond over what they do all day…. It’s more about living to work than it is about working to live, and so you do everything together.”

Andersen came to her calling after a disastrous date with a very eligible venture capitalist 10 years ago. When she asked her date why he was scoping out the other women in the place, he said he was looking for “the BBD” – the bigger, better deal. While you can’t necessarily teach people class, she does try to enlighten her clients (for a fee that ranges from $20,000 to $100,000) about proper dating behavior. Andersen recalls a 20-something coder at a gaming company with extreme social anxiety: She had to coach him on hugging, and she suggested a car service for his first date, rather than having him show up on the bike he rides to work.

Some liken the atmosphere, and the romances that blossom in it, to that of a film set – though with a much longer shoot. “There’s a sort of youthful exuberance in Silicon Valley,” says Greer. “The youthful exuberance is what makes you think you can do something out of nothing. To know that you can take code and make beautiful things that change the world, you have to have youthful exuberance. If you want to have a serious husband with a suit on, go marry a biz dev guy.”

The biggest challenge in the Silicon Valley dating game may lie in the personalities that dominate the field. Left-brain Spock types can’t so quickly channel their inner Bones and let loose with a barbaric yawp. “My highly educated and analytical clientele often apply the same methodology to their dating that made them successful in their careers,” says Andersen, “and that does not always work, because here we are dealing with matters of the heart.”

As more women become engineers, the dynamics of dating in Silicon Valley are bound to change. Adam Hertz, an engineer at Comcast, has “been off the market for a while,” but his kids, in their 20s, are in the demo: His son, who works at Google, met his partner at a SantaCon event in San Francisco. “They both work really hard,” he says. “Once they are together, they have to work at the relationship.” His daughter is in the next wave: She is in a program studying to be a “great software developer,” 70 hours a week. Her boyfriend is in the food business, delivering produce in the Bay Area’s booming restaurant business. “They never see each other at all.”
© Copyright 2013 IBT Media Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Silicon Valley Furniture for Sale

A friend in Palo Alto is moving and selling a whole bunch of furniture — some of which has seen almost zero use for a tiny fraction of current market value:
— brown wooden platform queen bed with huge storage drawers under
— black commercial-grade office desks
— convertible sofa made in removable blue jeans fabric
— reclining lounge chair in matching blue jeans fabric
— white wooden day bed with storage drawers under
— various other pieces: bookshelves, side tables, chairs, etc.image-1

If you know anyone who is moving into a new place somewhere in the area, and needs furniture, this could be a good opportunity for them! This could also be great for a Silicon Valley entrepreneur needing a few key pieces for a home office or other. Act quick if you are interested and email me amy@linxdating.com and I can put you in touch with the seller.

Follow me on Twitter @linxdating

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This Week at Linx

Just in…a nice little testimonial from a client of Linx…

I had a great experience with Linx & Amy. She listened to me very well in the interview, & within a year, she had 2 good matches for me. The first one in September; the second one in June. One match was so close that we dated for a year, & we have remained wonderful friends.I have recommended my friends to her. Match-making is not a science; it’s not a sure thing to find a match. But the odds are better than other services where there is no screening (other than by yourself) or going out to advertised “singles” events. Her pricing is steep but life is like that at times.

This week has been super crazy busy at work especially with the mention in the Sunday style section of The New York Times. LinxNYTLots of great inquires from all over have been landing in my inbox. I’ve received so many emails from prospects- especially really young movers and shakers in tech (think FB, Twitter, Palantir, Box) and a lot of folks in the VC and angel investment community as well. From San Francisco, to San Jose, Atherton, to Manhattan, and Newport Beach. Funny how the NYT mentioned LinkedIn as a resource for me scouting talent. I haven’t logged into my LinkedIn profile in probably twelve years. No offense Mr. Jeff Weiner. wink wink.

With Halloween right around the corner, why not head out in true Silicon Valley style with your own chic personalized dress-literally. 1380312_674503142569152_654454838_n
Wearing your Facebook profile as a dress takes social media to a whole new level. Talk about an ice breaker!

I‘ve seen a funny trend in the past two weeks with multiple couples coupling up who share the same name. For instance three male clients named Mark who were matched to three totally different girls named Sally and now each new couple reports back that they are going exclusive. Mark + Sally couple #1, Mark + Sally couple #2, and Mark + Sally couple #3. I haven’t seen that one ever actually. Had some great meetings today with clients and prospects and the rest of the week is about matchmaking, client calls, and some fun work related projects. That’s all for now.

Follow me on Twitter @linxdating

Announcing Our Most Exciting Silicon Valley VIP Search Yet!

We are elated to announce our latest VIP search for a Silicon Valley based bachelor searching for his match. Our client is exceptional above and beyond – academically, physically and professionally. As we all know, timing is everything in life (especially when it comes to truly being ready for a serious relationship and marriage) and, for our client, this is ‘his time’ to find the love of his life! lazaro-bridal-tulle-ball-gown-pleated-silk-satin-organza-floral-jewel-natural-waist-circular-chapel-train-3108_zm

We will be hosting a series of confidential, in-person interviews for qualified candidates ongoing in 2014 (note this search started end of 2013 and is an on-going, high profile project.) If you contact us and qualify, you will be invited to meet the matchmaker, Amy Andersen, in the comfort of our private suite where you can learn more about the bachelor and we can determine if you might be the perfect girl for him. This process is 100% private – anything you share will remain strictly confidential – so there’s no risk in contacting us if you’re interested. Small_Red_Rose

Our VIP is a true Silicon Valley superstar! He is not only a very good looking guy standing 6’0″, a CEO, romantic, a world traveler, a loyal friend, extremely well educated, social, honest, a great communicator, and most importantly marriage minded. Like so many of our VIPs, he has the graduate degree, a fantastic career, is very confident (so sexy..right ladies?), and a long list of incredible hobbies and fascinating pursuits outside of his job. Our VIP has enlisted our services to help him find his dream girl… the one in a million, the needle in a haystack, the perfect match. Are you that girl? We are so excited and need your help! wedding046-1-ddb17f

Our VIP wrote a letter from his heart to the Linx blog readers hoping she might be reading it. If you are not eligible but you know a great girl who is eligible and searching for “the one” let us know. In fact, email founder/CEO amy ASAP to amy@linxdating.com. As mentioned earlier, we will be hosting a luxurious event conducting one-on-one casual screenings with qualifying candidates in November. NO FEES if you qualify.

VIP LETTER

I’m a Dreamer, a Doer, and a Serial Hugger

As a child, I loved building things and daydreaming. I distinctively remember one of these dreams I dreamt at twilight time during a family vacation on an island overlooking the Mediterranean. In that dream I remember juggling a big happy family and a thriving business. In that episode of the dream (just before my mom called me for dinner in the real world) I imagined celebrating a gorgeous summer day next to a lake with my future kids, my beautiful wife, our extended families, our best friends, and a handful of execs from my growing business. We celebrated life, love, human spirit, and doing-good. In that dream, my wife and I had just come back from an exciting trip to Africa and Asia, where we met fascinating people and helped bringing them valuable knowledge and resources. We were eager to share with our loved ones the fascinating stories from our trip about the wonderful people we met and helped.

I distinctively remember the smiles and laughs in that special celebration of giving and life. I also remember the joy I felt for bringing all the people I loved together to enjoy each other’s company, amazing stories, great music, delicious foods and lovely wines. The memory is so vivid that I can almost smell the beautiful flowers that decorated our reunion of family and friends. I’ve always liked making and enjoying art, and in my mind, every flower is a form of art that nature produces to celebrate beauty, giving, and the creation of life.

The art of creation has always been an important part of my life. I still remember the “Time-machine” I built when I was a child, which helped me daydream about my future. With my ragged desktop computer, using less computing power than I have in my current watch, I programed a simple app that helped me easily “assemble” exciting dreams about the future. Using this app I could instantaneously “jump” with my imagination to the all the countries in the world I always wanted to visit, to all the businesses I wanted to build, and to the happy family I wanted to nurture. The simple “database” I created included all the things I wanted to do and see and all the things I wanted to learn. With the logic I programmed into my Time-Machine, I was able to create fascinating imaginary life journeys that became the blueprints for my daydreams.

Weaving dreams was so much fun – it helped me create a vision for my future life as an adult. It was the best preparation for the adventurous, ambitious, and caring lifestyle I’ve adopted when I grew up. My Time-Machine helped me safely experiment, explore, and “experience” what a wide array of undertakings, challenges, and accomplishments would make me feel. I programmed my Time-Machine, and then it programmed me.

Once my Time-Machine worked, I was thrilled to share it with the many good friends I had growing up. I loved their feedback and ideas, and even more so, I loved how they used the Time-Machine I built to weave their own dreams, and sometime even combine them with mine. Dreaming together with friends and translating these dream to fun adventures we’ve gone through together, shaped who I am today in both my personal and professional life.

A few months ago, after a long run along the coastline in Rancho Palos Verdes, when I tried to imagine what my ideal wife and family would look and feel like, the sweet memory of my good old Time-Machine came up. With a big smile on my face, I decided to visit to my parents to try and find it, so I can take another exciting walk on memory lane. When I discovered that my parents donated my old computer and disks, which hosted my Time Machine, I was pretty disappointed. However, pretty quickly, that state of mind gave way to feeling great. In my heart, I knew that there’s a good likelihood that there’s at least one child out there, who now has access to my Time-Machine, and that it can give him or her an opportunity to dream big dreams. I was very hopeful that this child was adventurous enough to embark on imaginary daydreams too, and that she or he was foolish enough to make these dreams come true!

While browsing my childhood photos in an old album at my parents’ house, it became clear to me that the Time-Machines that my own children will build would be so much better than the one that I build as a child… And it must be so much better because my children will have not only the genes that made me a dreamer, a builder and a serial hugger, but also the genes of an incredible partner, lover and best friend – my soon to be wife!

About my Soon-to-be Wife (i.e., the Love of my Life):

So… fast forwarding back to the present, when I’m fortunate enough to have already had many of my dreams come true, it’s time to daydream again (this time without my Time Machine) to imagine who would be my dream wife? Well… the Love of my Life is one of a kind. She’s the most affectionate, loving and caring person in the world. One can feel her positive energy when she enters a room – she’s one of these “angles” who everyone deeply adores. She’s always honest, unconditionally loyal, romantic, and a bit of a dreamer herself. She’s adventurous, beautiful and full of life.

My future wife is very genuine and comfortable in her own skin. Everyone admires her because she makes them feel good about themselves when she’s around. She’s loved her family and has many real friends whom she keeps in close touch with, and she’s always there for people she loves. She’s great with children, has the sweetest heart for all beings, and she almost always smiles. She’s also very intelligent, wise and thoughtful, but very humble about it. In her work, and in her personal life, she’s responsible, diligent and proactive, but balances these with a genuine understanding that everyone is human, and a natural sense of humor that everyone loves. vip-shield

Are you a match?

Age:
24-32 years old

Physical appearance:

Caucasian, Mixed heritage, or European heritage
Taller the better! 5’7” is a fantastic height (5’4” minimum)
Slender/athletic/feminine and keeping in great shape
Natural beauty and beautiful eyes are the key to the soul
Keeps a healthy diet more than a diet rich in fatty foods. Balance is key!

Personality:
Above all else, you are a caring, compassionate, and a kind person.
You are positive, happy, and you do the right thing in life. You like life!
You were raised well and perhaps look to your parents as role models.

Occupation/Education:
You are responsible, independent, and educated. In terms of the industry you work in, it doesn’t matter but what does matter is that you have time to get to know our VIP bachelor and are not 100% tied to work. In other words, you honestly can say you have balance in your life.
Smart is sexy for our client so the more educated, the better.

Personal Goals:
You are positioned for a deep, unequivocal love and can confidently state you are ready for marriage and what that entails.
You can picture being married, having 2 + children, and living in the Bay Area (our client runs a successful business here and has large ties to Silicon Valley and plans to stay here).

Lifestyle:
You are unattached and are not in a current committed relationship. In other words, we ask that you NOT move forward with our process if you are dating someone seriously that has a substantial probability of progressing into an exclusive relationship. This can lead to a waste of everyone’s time.
You enjoy meeting new people, would be considered social, and would welcome new friends into your life (our client is social and would want you to be included in his full and thriving life.)

Fascinating Academic Insights into the Matchmaking Industry

A few months ago I was contacted by a professor of sociology at St. Thomas More College University of Saskatchewan to participate in a study on matchmaking in North America. We spoke for around an hour by phone and after she completed her research, she sent me the research document filled with incredibly interesting discoveries about matchmaking. 535451_10150747499285804_895856513_n

Interviews lasted 52 minutes on average, and were conducted between March and May 2013. Participation in the research project was voluntary and entirely confidential, and the project obtained research ethics approval from the University of Saskatchewan’s Research Ethics Board. The final sample discussed here consists of conversations with 20 matchmakers representing 19 different companies (the one instance of matchmakers from the same company involves 2 matchmakers at different company branches in 2 distinct regions of the country).

This professor presented to a group of national and international colleagues in June and in a recent email to me said, “I was surprised to discover that many sociologists who study relationships and dating have little awareness of matchmaking’s place in the dating industry, and of why clients tend to seek out a matchmaker.”

This project’s main aims are to improve social scientists’ understandings of the North American matchmaking industry by interviewing matchmaking professionals and gaining insight into 1) why North Americans are turning to offline, personalized matchmaking services to assist with serious dating/couple formation, 2) the extent to which use of matchmaking services is connected to geographic and time constraints in clients’ lives, and 3) identifying other major motivations, choices and constraints involved in clients’ decision to work with a matchmaker.

I have extracted some of the findings for this blog yet did not include the entire publication. The publication is titled: MATCHMAKING IN NORTH AMERICA: An emerging option for couple formation

Findings:

The sample consists of 11 Canadian-based and 9 American-based matchmakers, for a total of 20 matchmakers. While 6 of the matchmakers say they frequently work with clientele or seek matches for clientele beyond the country in which they are based, most carry out the majority of their work and source matches for their clients within the country where their company is headquartered Sixteen of the matchmakers are the founder/co-founder and/or CEO of their company, while 4 are COO and/or senior matchmaker. The matchmakers have worked an average of 7.3 years in paid matchmaking work, and 18 report that matchmaking is their sole or primary job. (Some matchmakers noted that they had engaged in unpaid matchmaking work prior to working as paid matchmakers, but since this work was largely sporadic and casual, it is not included in the average years of experience.)

Matchmakers’ educational backgrounds, from most common to least common field, are 1) social sciences and social work, 2) business, finance and management, 3) arts (general), 4) hospitality and tourism, 5) law and education (tied). In terms of major field of employment prior to paid matchmaking, participants mentioned (from most to least common) 1) sales, financial services and client services (including sales at online dating agencies), 2) hospitality and the cultural sector, 3) management and headhunting/corporate recruitment, 4) social work.

When asked how and why they have chosen to work as matchmakers, participants spoke to a combination of factors that influenced their career choice. Consistently, matchmakers mentioned how their awareness of having the right skills or aptitude for the work influenced their decision to become paid matchmakers. They highlighted either excellent people skills (in particular, being highly intuitive or gifted at reading personalities and sensing others’ needs, and relating easily to people from a variety of backgrounds) or a combination of people skills and business acumen (namely knowing how to attract desired clientele and market their services effectively) as core components of their skills and aptitudes. In addition, several matchmakers mentioned that their extroversion is an asset, and that they feel energized by their interactions with others. The matchmakers’ core skills and aptitudes were most often recognized and praised by others (friends, family, former colleagues, mentors) prior to individuals making the transition into matchmaking work; in a few instances, successful attempts at casual matchmaking with friends and family members fueled individuals’ desire to take up matchmaking professionally.

The skills and aptitudes noted above, however, were necessary but not sufficient causes for individuals to pursue work as paid matchmakers. All matchmakers also noted awareness of a business niche to be filled in their geographic area— either no other matchmakers worked in their focal geographic area, nobody in their geographic area focused on the target demographic they had in mind, or nobody in their geographic area used the particular matchmaking approach or method that they intended to use.

In the study, several matchmakers emphasized that being self-employed and/or having a flexible schedule added to matchmaking’s appeal, and 5 matchmakers spoke in detail about how their decision to work as a matchmaker came after (or as part of) a major—and often jarring—life transition that pushed them to reevaluate their personal and professional goals. For these matchmakers in particular, but for several others as well, there is a clear empathic dimension that they bring to their work with clients.

Seven matchmakers spoke openly about having “been there” in the same dating trenches as their clients, and could attest to the challenges and disappointments of dating, particularly in mid-life with diminished opportunities and venues for finding a long-term partner. Read this feature on Linx in Fortune to hear about my having been there ‘in the trenches’ just like so many readers here. I get it! Young beautiful girl in love

Along with demonstrating empathy for clients’ situations, most matchmakers also emphasized, but usually spoke positively about, the significant emotional labor involved in matchmaking. They stressed that matchmaking is “not easy money” for the emotional investment it demands, involves “intensive coaching,” “a lot of hand holding” and “being like a sister or cheerleader” who will offer reassurance and support through a process that often leaves clients feeling vulnerable. That said, most emphasized that they find their work immensely rewarding and feel that the satisfaction of creating lasting matches offsets any emotionally draining aspects of the work. Two matchmakers said that they have been “yelled at many times” by clients, and attribute these incidents to clients’ unrealistic expectations (this theme is explored in greater detail below in the Major themes and trends section). These matchmakers went on to explain that matchmaking requires a thick skin, and that matchmakers must actively coach clients in setting reasonable expectations.

I couldn’t agree more with the paragraph above. This work is NOT for anyone who is susceptible to becoming overly emotionally over their work. I’ve remained a systematic Silicon Valley machine for over a decade now as I keep incredibly focused on my business. I am a tightly scheduled, master of organization, and relentless in the pursuit of my clients happiness (often it means running on limited sleep and my friends being irked with my contestant hamster wheel work ethic approach-especially when I am so hard to schedule fun things with.)

I also have learned to have a thick skin due to the nature of this business. For instance, yesterday I got a scathing email from a passive member client because this particular person has not found love yet (granted this person has received many matches and I’ve been extremely judicious and professional along the journey.) A “Patti” would have YELLED back and told the client to go “F-yourself and Get Out Of My Club!” but I’m not like that- AT ALL. As clinical and calm as I had hoped to be, I was really affected by the nature of the email. It was just so out of the blue. When I had been this clients cheerleader…then all of a sudden what felt like poisonous arrows being thrown my way had totally engulfed me. A fact for everyone- I’m not Copperfield as much as I think that would be tremendously cool, I just don’t seem to have been given those talents to perform matchmaking “magic.” Thus, at the end of the day, I too, am human.

An interesting trend I have found in running Linx is that I am not surprised by the number of eager, bright-eyed folks who want to open their own matchmaking firm. Most of these people contact me wanting to “team up” and “create a strategic approach to merge networks” when they are in the infancy stage of their businesses. Sometimes I hear “at Harvard Business School” we learned that “you are supposed to create alliances as such.” Um, ok?!

I listen and hear what they have to say but in most cases, I have turned them away. I wish them success, luck, and know they will be swimming in a big ‘ol sea, probably feeling a lot of anxiety about how to even begin. Yet that feeling of anxiety can be channeled into good stress as it happens to be THE MOST exciting time as the seeds have been planted and the business starts to blossom. Once you begin something like this, it starts to multiply very quickly taking on complex new directions, a whole host of wild demands/requests. I hate saying this but the fact is most of these aspiring matchmakers sink and move onto a new career. They are unable to handle the pressure, have the sheer focus to get the business off the ground, maintain their professionalism, be ethical, establish a brand, grow a network, do a good job at the actual matchmaking and so on. iStock_000008297937XSmall

Back to the study…Major Themes and Trends from the study

1) The role of the Internet and Internet dating in clients’ work with matchmakers

Matchmakers estimate that an average of 2/3 of their clients have tried online dating before seeking out their services. Within this population, the majority have ceased dating online by the time they contact a matchmaker, and most have turned away from the method because of frustration and dissatisfaction. While 2 matchmakers said that they see Internet dating as a positive or worthwhile strategy alongside working with a matchmaker, the rest spoke to how it has negatively affected dating and/or daters’ mentalities by fostering a “kid in the candy store” mentality whereby daters are always searching for the “bigger, better deal” instead of focusing on getting to know the people they date. Several matchmakers noted that this attitude of trading up or treating dates as disposable had soured their clients’ attitudes toward online dating, and the majority said that they do not advocate Internet dating, whether as a stand-alone dating strategy or strategy alongside working with them. Matchmakers against online dating also noted that the strategy does not offer a worthwhile return on the dater’s time investment, particularly in the case of the high-earning professionals who make up the bulk of matchmakers’ clientele; further, it does not offer the discretion that matchmakers’ clients typically seek. Matchmakers also noted the tendency for dishonesty and misrepresentation among online daters, and said that their female clients, in particular, often turned to matchmaking as a way of avoiding the disappointment and frustration connected to daters’ misrepresentations (namely surrounding martial status, age, current physical appearance and financial/career stability).

While not directly connected to online dating, but also concerning the negative impact of new(er) technologies on dating and couple formation, 8 matchmakers spoke extensively about the negative effect that they see text messaging has had on dating and relationships. They explained that communication by texting is problematic insofar as it 1) is prone to causing greater misunderstandings, and therefore greater insecurities, in a couple (particularly in very early stages of dating); 2) is less polite than speaking over the phone or in person (again, particularly in the early stages of dating), and fails to convey respect or serious intent when a man uses text messaging to ask a woman out on a subsequent date; 3) takes new couples away from the face time and phone time that help them develop a deeper understanding of one another and determine compatibility and chemistry. Five matchmakers said that they give explicit phone and texting etiquette instruction to clients—their suggested texting etiquette usually involves zero text interaction until the relationship is firmly established and exclusive. Once the relationship takes off, matchmakers suggest very limited use of texting for very quick logistical conversations (e.g. “Meet me at the restaurant at 6 p.m.”). Matchmakers spoke of their extreme disappointment when clients do not heed their advice about texting, and say that texting has caused unnecessary dating “drama” in clients from the 20s up to their 70s. There does not appear to be a particular age group that is most likely to ignore matchmakers’ texting etiquette.

2) The role of career/career development in men and women using matchmakers

Particularly in younger clients (i.e. those up to their early 40s), matchmakers noted a common theme of work/career demands that have kept clients from looking seriously for a long-term partner until they reach an age when opportunities to meet eligible singles have dwindled (i.e. until most peers that they meet through social and work activities have married or paired off into relationships). In particular, they see this in their clients who are entrepreneurs, whose work has been particularly all-consuming and left little time for dating. There appears to be no significant gender gap regarding career demands and use of matchmakers—in this sample, matchmakers spoke equally of men and women whose careers have left minimal time for forming relationships. For matchmakers’ clients, career development has precluded relationship formation mostly because of time restrictions, but geographic mobility and multi-city living connected to the client’s career also appear to play smaller roles (and male clients cite mobility and multi-city living as factors more often than women).

Whereas some matchmakers spoke of their clients’ career demands and impact on dating factually and uncritically, others took a more critical view that clients have not “had” time to find a serious partner because they have not made time to do so. Those who took a more critical approach said that they frequently coach clients on the importance of carving out time for dating and building relationships and the need to prioritize relationships or find reasonable work-life balance in spite of career demands. On this note, 3 matchmakers expressed disappointment in some of their clients’ “stalled” relationships that have not progressed (or have progressed very slowly) toward marriage because partners continue to invest heavily in their careers at the expense of their relationship.

3) (Un)realistic expectations about the product and process

When asked what they find most frustrating or challenging about their work, matchmakers most commonly spoke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations with regard to the matchmaking process and outcomes, and relationships more broadly. Several matchmakers commented that when meeting and developing a rapport with a new client, they are careful to say that they do not sell or offer love per se, but rather the opportunity to meet high-quality individuals with whom a client may form a loving and committed relationship. Particularly at the outset of the matchmaker-client collaboration, matchmakers note that some clients have an unrealistic expectation that they will meet the love of their life, and that this will happen quickly. While matchmakers agree that meeting the love of one’s life is a central aim of the matchmaking process, and are pleased when this happens within a short time frame, many must remind clients to be patient and to realize that a match with a compatible individual may not yield the chemistry and mutual interest needed for love to develop. They are also careful to balance statements about how successful they have been in matching clients with a disclaimer that they cannot guarantee a long-term match as an outcome of their collaboration. Matchmakers also expressed concern at several clients’ conflation of compatibility in a relationship and the idea that a relationship requires no work or compromise; they were surprised by how often clients expect a serious relationship to thrive with little work at communication and compromise.

Several matchmakers pointed out that their clients tend to be “Type A” personalities who are highly driven and used to getting whatever they ask for. In some cases, this manifests in unrealistic demands or expectations about who they will be matched with. Did you ever read the incredibly well written piece featuring a Linx client as he searches for the one in San Francisco Magazine? This story showcases some of the wild demands from Linx clients.

Specifically, 5 matchmakers said they often work with clients who expect to be matched with people who are, in the matchmakers’ words, physically “way out of their league” (namely, older men asking to be matched with much younger and/or much more attractive women, or women requesting matches with much younger and/or physically fitter men). In these cases, most matchmakers take a soft or diplomatic approach in suggesting that these unrealistic clients broaden their search criteria. Typically, the client acquiesces to the matchmaker’s suggestions, but 2 matchmakers cited repeated instances of being yelled at by clients when the clients perceived their matches or the matchmaker’s suggestions to be sub-par. Another matchmaker, who did not report having been yelled at, nonetheless spoke about how being a matchmaker requires developing a “thick skin” to deal with difficult and demanding clients.

4) Stigma and awkwardness

According to matchmakers, most people who self-select into working with a matchmaker “get” the idea of hiring a professional to help them with their love life. Many clients outsource work in other areas of their lives, so do not see anything awkward or shameful about extending this model of efficiency into the realm of their relationships. That said, nearly half of all matchmakers noted that they have clients who express feelings of embarrassment during initial meetings. Matchmakers consistently noted that this is more common amongst their male clients, for whom “ego gets in the way,” than it is for women who tend to approach matchmakers with greater confidence and minimal or no feelings of shame about using their services. For male clients who express initial embarrassment, matchmakers say that this feeling tends to fade as the client becomes more involved in the process.

But, whereas most clients express little or minimal embarrassment to matchmakers about working with them, most also tell matchmakers that they keep their use of the services a secret from friends, family and colleagues; this is largely out of fear that they will be negatively judged for their inability to find a partner on their own. Matchmakers are very rarely invited to clients’ weddings, since clients do not like to go public with how they met their partner. I am invited to many weddings and in some cases not. Often clients will share their stories here.

Overall, matchmakers spoke optimistically about their expectation that the practice will continue to lose its stigma and become a more widely respected form of couple formation. They also mentioned that many clients view matchmaking as a much less stigmatized activity than online dating.

5) Issues surrounding gender

Several of the themes outlined above touch on gender, but the issues below deal most directly with gender. When asked about what their clients are seeking in a partner, matchmakers responded that clients typically say they are looking for a mixture of traditional and modern elements in a relationship. Specifically, clients of both genders prefer dual-career relationships, regardless of whether they also desire children within the relationship. As one matchmaker puts it, men are showing a strong preference for “Michelle Obama” type partners (i.e. true equals in the private and public spheres). Another matchmaker summarizes a similar trend in clients’ desires as “bimbos are out,” and explains that male clients find career women most desirable. While matchmakers and clients express a preference for egalitarian relationships, 5 matchmakers said that they encourage their clients to blend the egalitarian model with male chivalry and believe it is always a man’s job to organize and pay for dates. As one matchmaker phrased it, couples should get “back to the basics” of men taking the lead romantically while respecting fundamental gender equality.

6) Defining “success” in matchmaking

Although the majority of matchmakers interviewed say that marriage is the ultimate goal of their services, they define “success” in matchmaking as anything from a matched couple going on a second date to a matched couple getting married. Another matchmaker defines success as finding the right caliber of person for a client—someone who is outstanding, regardless of where the match leads after the first introduction. Most often, matchmakers define success as the moment when a matched couple becomes exclusive, regardless of whether the relationship culminates in marriage. Many matchmakers emphasized that success, to them, is not just about making matches that last—a collaboration with a client is always a success if it engages the client in a process of personal growth (and, oftentimes, improved self-confidence) that opens the door to finding love and living authentically.

Matchmakers reported mixed feelings when matched clients (typically clients whose contracts have since expired) “fall of the grid” and quit keeping in touch. Some matchmakers are diligent in keeping in touch with former clients long after their collaboration has ended, but most do not—typically because they do not want to “pester” former clients. Some “snoop around” (e.g. online) to find clues as to whether a couple they matched months or years prior is still together.

7) Reality TV: Helping or hurting matchmaking’s reputation?

This was not a topic that I expected to discuss consistently with matchmakers, but it came up often. Matchmakers spoke positively about how reality T.V. shows about matchmaking—i.e. Millionaire Matchmaker (Bravo), Arrange Me a Marriage (BBC), Love Broker (Bravo) —have raised the overall visibility of the profession. At the same time, they expressed concern at how some portrayals of the matchmaking process, particularly those on Millionaire Matchmaker episodes, are highly sensationalized and do not reflect typical client-matchmaker, affiliate-matchmaker or client-affiliate relations. In particular, matchmakers noted that their approach is more “subtle” than the approach of matchmakers typically found on reality T.V. shows, and that their clientele is “classy and discreet” as compared to the brash clients featured on Millionaire Matchmaker. They are confident, however, that the general public is aware of the disparity between matchmaking in reality shows and typical matchmaking processes.

Linx Visits Sweden!

Stockholm is a magical and stunningly beautiful city surrounded by water. The central parts of the city consist of fourteen islands that are continuous with the Stockholm archipelago. The geographical city centre is situated on the water, in Riddarfjärden bay. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways and another 30% is made up of parks and green spaces. i-4QGRM3r-X2i-5CsXwhk-X2
You can see the storm clouds rolling in. i-JvxJSV6-L
The very first day we arrived there was a marathon throughout the city. Such fun to be a spectator.i-WgxQkVq-L Daddy and daughter at the marathon. i-q5t2NxM-X2

We spent three days there and found it to be an interesting constrast from Copenhagen. Three days was sufficient in Stockholm and gave us ample time to explore the city by foot and ferry. The last day was the very first experience of any bad weather while on our entire journey in Denmark and Sweden. We were so fortunate to have the best weather for the entire vacation! Ferry ride with the family….

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The most delicious dinner ever…lots of gravlax. i-cLzZfvm-X2
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Love this purple door and purple flowersi-dnHrVkH-X2i-tfnfpMk-X2i-TLjGpRb-X2
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How could I not snap a pic of a heart on some fence. Shabby chic in Stockholm

There were a few things that stood out in comparing Copenhagen to Stockholm. First, I felt if I had a choice, Copenhagen is a much easier city to live in. There is a lot more to do in Copenhagen, the people are generally “warmer”, and it is a lot easier to get around. Stockholm by contrast is a little more difficult to navigate as a tourist and there is a real formality there. The people are a little more serious, conservative, and unemotional (and they even dress much more formally compared to Copenhagen) and it is just a “colder” city that way. That’s definitely not to say the people are not friendly. Everyone we met was lovely and very nice but just a bit more buttoned up and reserved. i-kTxj9fK-X2

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The photos of the town square above is Gamla Stan the “old town” in Stockholm which is incredibly charming. The town dates back to the 13th century, and consists of medieval alleyways, cobbled streets, and archaic architecture. North German architecture has had a strong influence in the Old Town’s construction. A stone heart in a very old building in Gamla Stan!i-CdzjfXJ-X2 Dogs of Gamla Stani-LH2wC6P-X2i-TV9H5GQ-X2

Stockholm was also extremely expensive. The cab fares were out of this world. Around $100 to get across town, ok maybe a little less but really spendy…giving us a good reason to walk and get even more exercise.

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he people in Stockholm (especially in the nightclubs that my sister and I checked out) are extremely good looking. The men and women are very tall (average appeared to be 6’1″ plus for both sexes) and very attractive. More blonds compared to Copenhagen which by way of contrast is generally more diverse (still largely Nordic). One nightclub we went to called Cafe Opera had the best DJs ever and a crowd of hands down THE MOST gorgeous people I have ever seen. Some guys we literally bumped into were easily over 6’6″ and all models. It was a really fun night and the best eye candy ever. 😉
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i-hfvrj7b-X3 i-JqdNhNv-X2 Random I know. This girl had a backless top that looked super sexy on her. Yes I was the freaky American stalker tourist in the chic club snapping pics of her, the Abercrombie male model above, and the scene. Everyone at Cafe Opera was super young…think 20, maybe 22.i-dgcTcwL-X2
We HAD to visit the offices of Fredrik Eklund from Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York. If you watch it, you will appreciate our “high kicks” in Stockholm. Fredrik even retweeted my Twitter post about high kicking through Stockholm! i-JKqGR4Z-X2i-8x8bmqB-X3
This is the famous Vasa ship (most frequented museum in Scandinavia). Vasa is a Swedish warship built 1626-1628. The ship sank after sailing into her maiden voyage on August 10th 1628. i-CP24Crk-X2i-KJjbkvr-X2i-hMqmWvV-X2 Random details in Stockholm. Love the wine barrel with candles. i-PgzncZm-X2 I think a lot of guys would agree!i-QW569VS-X2i-XLnSR2q-X2

After enjoying this stunning city, we headed back to Denmark for one more night and then flew back to the USA. Both countries inspired us and were so gracious. I very much look forward to visiting Scandinavia again in the near future- perhaps for my cousin Mie’s wedding?!