Amy Andersen is Silicon Valley’s undisputed Cupid, with lots of advice and a successful matchmaking business to spread the love from Redwood City to San Jose.
By: Michael McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief, for Modern Luxury Silicon Valley Magazine
Twenty years ago, Amy Andersen was living in Silicon Valley and in a serious relationship with a tech professional. The Marin County native says she was astounded by the number of eligible single male friends she had in the Valley—all of whom were looking for long-term love. “While these men lamented to me about their lonely hearts, I saw a very similar trend in San Francisco with my female friends,” says Andersen. “I had networked and connected with dozens of single women through the San Francisco chapter of the Junior League. These young professional women were having no issues getting dates, but were plagued by men who had no desire to commit.”
An idea—Linx Dating (linxdating.com)—was born. “I initially started Linx to bridge the gap between the men of Silicon Valley and the women of San Francisco,” says Andersen, who worked in private wealth management and public relations before launching Linx in 2003. “The business grew over the years and gained national and international recognition. I feel incredibly blessed that the demand is higher than ever some 18 years later, and I can’t believe that I get to match the most remarkable and dynamic men and women. I love my job.” During this month of amore, we asked Andersen about the power of her business, the secrets of finding a partner in the Valley and how to maintain the flame.
What special skills, or gut instinct, do you bring clients who are looking for love?
It’s really about access and pattern recognition. When you’ve been around for more than 18 years, you see a lot of patterns and have access to a lot of singles. I know the area well and have a good sense of the various demographics and psychographics—those who are single and looking for long-term commitment, as well as what tends to work and not work. I’ve seen network effects benefit the business; word travels and happy clients refer other great candidates to me, so I have a great pool from which to match people to each other or to [launch] an outbound search beyond the network.
That said, no two people are ever the same, and a huge part of what I do, once I match people, is provide ongoing coaching and advice to help couples realize the great potential that could be there between them and thus to avoid pitfalls and dating quicksand that could sink what might otherwise be an amazing relationship. Those skills come from, again, nearly two decades of seeing issues come up that can plague young couples.
What are the biggest challenges to finding someone special in Silicon Valley?
Certain challenges are not unique to Silicon Valley—busy people and lives and difficulty accessing the right pool of singles are issues in any market. But I would say that desire for anonymity and privacy—combined with impatience and ticking clocks—make volume dating on the apps very difficult and impractical. Hoping and waiting for the random introduction or lucky meeting to happen in the course of life is a nice thing that could happen, but it’s not a viable primary strategy to meet the one.
My clients have already bought into Linx, where I invest the cycles to really get to know and understand you, custom curate high-quality matches and provide a laser-focused and a highly confidential and private approach to dating to save what could be years of searching for that needle in a haystack. That said, I recommend to all clients that they should pursue multiple other channels in parallel to Linx to maximize the chances of success—whether [it means] online apps, where I’ve even helped with reviewing their profiles, or helping them think through how to put themselves in the best position to succeed by working on themselves.
What are some of the most surprising things you’ve learned recently about love and relationships in Silicon Valley?
Although this can be true anywhere, I find it especially true in the Valley—finding a balance between traditional gender roles and the reality of life today can be tough in dating and in the transition to relationships. So can the notion of nurturing patience and communication in a world of instant gratification and the rush to judgment. Also, in a place where the tech industry and engineering provide clear and analytical answers to problems every day, relationships fall into the gray area and require more emotional intelligence. Folks here, for the most part, can be more challenged in that area.
What are some things that can doom a new match or budding relationship?
Two matches can fixate too heavily on some early road bumps in a relationship, not taking the time to look at how much good there is and to work through the issues; they figure the grass must be greener on the other side. In other words, people here are wired to give up quickly instead of working through the hard stuff that ultimately makes a relationship so much more meaningful. Also, some of my clients have a hard time turning off the career talk in the early dates, and the date turns into business networking and has the feel of a job interview. I try to help them reveal a more balanced, authentic side. Finally, both male and female clients can get hung up in the game of not showing too much interest in the other person too early, and that can kill the buzz. I encourage clients to give an affirmation, if even subtle, if they’re interested. Intuition is one thing, but people aren’t mind readers or psychics!
How has technology, specifically dating apps, changed the calculus of dating since you launched Linx?
The availability of thousands of matches in the palm of your hand on a phone makes impatience and judgment easier. You could be swiping away your future partner and never meet the right person because you’re searching for someone better.
How has dating during COVID changed the delicate dance of dating and matchmaking?
This is more science and common sense than matchmaking. Obviously, going out a lot to meet random people at lounges and events is not the best practice right now. Phone calls, texts, Zooms are important early on, and that can create some pressure to address big issues in the initial stages versus just getting to know each other and building chemistry. So, I advise folks: If you feel something that could be meaningful, get on the same page with the person about vaccination and testing and see if there’s a safe way to get together to start building on the early good signs. My general advice would be start with a simple phone call to chat about COVID safety and then bridge that to an in-person [date]. It’s extremely hard for my clients and loved ones to find the sparks through a Zoom session. How can you truly feel the chemistry, read body language and truly discover if those pheromones are there?
Your advice for sustaining a loving relationship?
Give each other a ton of respect and latitude, try to refrain from harsh judgments, and develop an effective communication strategy from the start. Communicate as best you can. Different people have different ways of communicating, even if they don’t realize it.
Always have integrity, and do the right thing. Be consistent with your behavior. In other words, if you’re kind, non-judgmental and friendly to your colleagues or the stranger who walks past you on the street, don’t change the way you treat your partner behind closed doors. Be consistent with the way you handle your relationships, and honor your partner with respect.
Put in the hard work and keep tending to [a relationship] like a garden, nurture it every day. I encourage you and your partner to take a deep dive into relationship books like The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work(Harmony Books) by John & Julie Gottman, Wired For Love (New Harbinger Publications) by Stan Tatkin or Getting the Love You Want (St. Martin’s Griffin) by Harville Hendrix. Sometimes, I sometimes [encourage couples] to work with a therapist—not because your relationship is damaged, but because you want to have the tools in your toolkit to be the strongest, most resilient, loving couple possible. Always remember how lucky you are for all of the good there is, even when faced with challenges.
This is our travel issue. What are some of your favorite romantic getaways in Northern California?
In Napa, Solage in Calistoga (aubergeresorts.com/solage) is great to stay for a romantic weekend. Check out the new hip Pico Bar and the world-class pool, spa and amenities. I also love B Cellars (bcellars.com) winery in Oakville for the vino and food pairings, as well as the Far Niente (farniente.com) winery near Oakville for the sheer scenic beauty. There are so many amazing restaurants, but a few standouts are Charter Oak (thecharteroak.com) in St. Helena for casual gastronomique style, Brix (brix.com) near Yountville for the garden, beauty and freshness of the food, and R&D Kitchen (rd-kitchen.com) in Yountville for elegant, casual grilled fare.
In Sonoma, a favorite is the MacArthur Place Hotel and Spa (macarthurplace.com); it’s a lovely boutique hotel with a phenomenal restaurant, Layla—it’s some of the best food in Northern California, along with The Girl and the Fig (thegirlandthefig.com). Both are lovely settings for dates in relaxed settings.