If Nancy Slotnick has her way, finding love will be as easy as ordering up an Uber.
The Harvard-educated matchmaker is using all she knows to create an app that will do just that: Arrange dates. Quickly. Easily. Without a lot of chit chat.
It’s a logical progression for a dating coach with an entrepreneurial bent. Early on, Slotnick had a bricks-and-mortar dating cafe. Fast forward to her recent, highly publicized pop-up version of that business, and you come to understand that matchmaking, like technology, continues to evolve.
InfluentialInsiders: When it comes to matchmaking, just how successful are you?
Slotnick: I recently figured out I have set up about 50,000 dates. And there’s been hundreds of marriages, but those are harder to track. People don’t always come back and let me know what’s happened.
InfluentialInsiders: Any hard-and-fast rules about dating?
Slotnick: It’s all about the law of averages. On average, it takes at least 10 first dates before you hit it off with someone that will lead to a second date. And it’s important to date a lot, so you learn how to deal with everything that comes with dating, including rejection. Think of it like a business deal, where every ‘no’ gets you closer to the ‘yes.’
InfluentialInsiders: Do men and women approach dating differently?
Slotnick: Yes. Men and women prioritize differently, and balance things differently. For instance, if the man pays for a date, then dating to him has financial consequences, so the stakes are higher. He may like you, but maybe not enough to influence him to pay for a second date. When a woman tells me she liked a man she met on a first date and doesn’t understand why he hasn’t called for a second date, I ask her if she liked him enough to spend $50 on him. The answer’s usually ‘no.’
InfluentialInsiders: Do you see a spike in business around Valentine’s Day?
Slotnick: Actually, no. I see a spike around New Year’s. That’s when people who have decided to change their lives and find somebody make the commitment to do the work. As far as Valentine’s Day goes, I just tell single people to stay home that night. Otherwise, it can be depressing.
InfluentialInsiders: How did you wind up in this line of work?
Slotnick: Growing up, I was the oldest of three girls, so I had to figure out dating on my own. Once I got out of school, I became a headhunter, which I sort of still am, except this is a more interesting twist.
InfluentialInsiders: When you were five years old, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
Slotnick: I wanted to be an author. I did write a book about dating, but that’s not something I thought about when I was five.
InfluentialInsiders: And where do you get your news and information from?
Slotnick: My husband. Otherwise, I’m kinda hiding under a rock trying to help people find love.
InfluentialInsiders: How has technology influenced dating?
Slotnick: It’s interesting. Millennials have no idea how to date. They only know how to hookup. Social media has lulled them into thinking they have more friends and are much more connected than they really are. They’ve lost the human connection. They don’t know enough about eye contact, smiling. Or how to make conversation without the help of emojis or selfies. For older people, it’s a supply-and-demand issue: There are a lot more women out there than men. It’s best to think of it like a jigsaw: You only need that one missing piece.
InfluentialInsiders: How would an app differ from an online dating site?
Slotnick: You want to arrange a date quick, without a lot of the chit chat that happens now through online sites. I believe people need to meet in person. Even the first date should be quick, about 20 minutes. Just meet for a drink. But set up a lot of dates and get to know a lot of people. The current online dating sites build up peoples’ expectations before they meet, so you have a preconceived notion about each other. And you expect a longer date out of it.
InfluentialInsiders: There must have been a time when things were tough. What influenced you to keep going?
Slotnick: Remembering the success of Drip, my dating cafe, and how hard it was to start that from nothing. That’s what keeps me going now. I can recall getting to the-lowest-of-the-low point, before I started the place. I asked myself,”If this doesn’t end up happening, what will you be kicking yourself that you didn’t do?” And then I just did all of them.
InfluentialInsiders: Then what do you consider your greatest success?
Slotnick: My own success story is my best success story. As an entrepreneur, it’s tempting to get caught up in working on the business and neglecting your own personal goals. Thankfully I didn’t miss the boat on that, though I could have. I had my dating cafe for three years and I was busy setting up all of my friends on dates but neglecting myself. I had to shift the focus to myself.
InfluentialInsiders: How do you do that?
Slotnick: You have to get comfortable marketing yourself. I call it ‘turning your cab light on’ to let people know you’re available.
InfluentialInsiders: Do you believe in soulmates?
Slotnick: I do. It’s funny, the more I study and learn, the more I believe.