New Year Q & A with CEO of Linx Dating

New Years is right around the corner. Make 2014 YOUR Year to find the love of your life. I spend a lot of my days talking with prospects about Linx and answering questions about the business. Since there are so many inquiries coming in with 2014 on the horizon, I thought it would be helpful to post a basic Q & A about the Linx network.

Q: It sounds like you work mostly with men who need help dating, true? Can you generalize about your clientele and what they are looking for—long-term relationship, or something more casual?

A: Linx is an offline dating and social network created for the commitment-minded… professionals looking for a hookup or a quick fix are not our target and we have an extensive screening process for all candidates that weeds out those who are not “in it for the long haul.”

Though we do a lot of date coaching work with some of our clients to help them be successful in the early stages of dating (getting past date one, to date two, three, and so on), we are doing this to nurture budding relationships that, projecting ahead, could be perfect matches and ultimately marriage.

Of course, not all Linx clients are on exactly the same timeline, but all of them are seeking, and comfortable with, commitment.

Linx is one of the few matchmaking networks that represents BOTH men and women as clients and, depending on the type of membership, either or both will pay fees.

For example, we represent many females who are struggling as they try to locate a match for marriage. This typical female client is healthy inside and out, feminine, very well-educated (often Ivy League caliber), over-achieving, and has an impressive career. The dating background on such a candidate is usually binary – either (1) she has dated too many eligible, yet emotionally unavailable men, who cannot commit to her and has been repeatedly burned, so now it’s GAME ON, like RIGHT NOW; or (2) on the other extreme, she has not dated that much at all, is not really sure where to turn as she refuses to do online dating (or is highly skeptical of it), has zero interest in dating colleagues from work, and has severe time constraints. We work with all ages of women and represent many women who have been married before and have children (often children in their teens and even out of the house).

And, just like the women, my male clients also have it all going on! When people think Silicon Valley, they think all the men are like young Bill Gates clones running around with “coke bottle glasses” and pocket protectors….sort of like out of Revenge of the Nerds. My clients are anything but socially inept. Like any other guys out there, they have dated in varying degrees.

My typical male client has a graduate degree, a great job, exudes confidence, and now it’s all about finding the right woman. It’s like a light goes off in his head and there is no stopping him. This type of guy settles down and game playing is simply not in his DNA. Even if I gave him a guide to be a player like the schools for PUA (pick up artist), he wouldn’t know how to do it. Many of our male clients are very presentable, polished, and are perfectly social. We represent a lot of male clients at companies such as: GOOG, CSCO, FB, ORCL, Palantir, Box, AAPL, LNKD, eBAY (including lots of hot smaller VC backed start-ups) in the tech space and countless VCs on Sand Hill Road and savvy angel investors who remain pretty off the grid and are pretty private sorts of guys.

One common thread I see, from both my male and female clients, is that they have extraordinarily high standards in what they seek, and they absolutely should, when they come to a service such as Linx. No one is telling them to “settle.” But there is a difference between being discriminating and being picky – the latter connotes an attitude of being unproductively critical and not ever quite being satisfied.

More often than not, when clients first approach me, it is a “needle in a haystack” match that they want in terms of endless objective characteristics. I really work hard to determine what is MOST important to them and to go after those characteristics. For example, what if a woman says she won’t date a guy shorter than 6 feet tall and I manage to locate a man with every other important quality she wants and he is 5’ 10”? She is likely eliminating a huge portion of the population by not being flexible with that…

Not surprisingly, in Silicon Valley, my highly educated and analytical clientele often apply the same methodology to their dating that made them successful in their careers, and that does not always work because here we are dealing with matters of the heart.

Q: A lot of employers like Google strive to give their employees everything they need—food, entertainment, even massages—mostly so they’ll be happy working all the time and never leave. Does that make it more difficult for some to go out with a stranger and work for something—a kiss (or more) and maybe a second date? Since people work all the time, office romances are not unheard of. This happens in other businesses too, obviously, from Washington to Wall Street, but are there particular dangers, or advantages to the office romance here in Silicon Valley?

A: Well, with the kinds of perks that Google or Facebook or Palantir, for example, offer to employees, it is easy to see why an employee, on the margin, might stay at work rather than venture out. Google really started this trend a decade ago as the first startup company that tried to preserve a startup culture – like a fun, innovation playground – as the company grew, and that has become more of an expectation now amongst typical young talent qualified to work at these companies.

If you think about it, the culture at these companies for 20 and even early 30-somethings is not unalike the dorm experience at a top university – 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. The movie “The Internship” might have been fiction and was probably a bit exaggerated but it was pretty much on target. With that in mind, it is not surprising that this culture (like college dorms) would lead to inter-office dating. When you have lots of smart, eligible people around that can empathize on each other’s current life mission, it is very attractive, casual, and convenient. At Facebook, for example, it is known to be very common.

All of that said, most companies, of course, frown upon their employees dating one another. And many of my women clients (and some men, too) tell me that they do not want to do this primarily because it could jeopardize how hard they have worked to get to where they have gotten at such young ages and thus harm their reputations – it often is not worth it. Others have even said “you have one shot” if you do this and it had better be “the one.” This statement is very akin to the clients we have at Stanford University GSB. Otherwise, you could get a reputation that sticks with you.

Reputation is everything and only you can control this. Once you start dipping the pen in the ink at work, the problem can be that people talk, gossip, and the spotlight can be on the person you’re dating and not what you are really meant to be focused on – which is work. So it can be a calculated risk.

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