Kathryn's Blog: Speed Dating

More cities to go on a Crazy Blind Date in

CrazyBlindDate.com last month">I wrote about CrazyBlindDate.com last month, the perfect site for those of you who think Internet dating is too slow.  Now CrazyBlindDate has expanded into more cities: Los Angeles, Chicago and the Washington, D.C.  So if you live in one of the urban areas they cover (New York, Boston, San Francisco and Austin), you can be out on a date in 15 minutes.

CrazyBlindDate.com Now Available in Los Angeles, Chicago and the Washington D.C. Metro Area

Hugely Popular Free Online Dating Site Continues to Gain Momentum; Named 2007 Online Dating “Innovation of the Year” by Online Personals Watch

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starting today, singles in Los Angeles, Chicago and the Washington, D.C. metro area have their chance to join the growing CrazyBlindDate.com phenomenon. Already a success in New York, Boston, San Francisco and Austin, CrazyBlindDate.com is the only online dating site that encourages singles to get off their computers and into real, live dates, meeting people when and where they want.

Created as a free, fun and spontaneous new twist to the often tiresome world of online dating, CrazyBlindDate.com users simply enter criteria for their date (age, height, ethnic background, education, etc.) and choose the time and location from a list of local venues. Once CrazyBlindDate.com finds two compatible daters, both parties receive text messages and e-mails with the date logistics. Both daters must reconfirm their availability before the blind date is finalized.

CrazyBlindDate.com, first launched in November 2007, has received an incredible response and was recently named the online dating industry’s #1 Innovation in 2007 by Online Personals Watch. According to an analysis of the first 3,000 CrazyBlindDates:

* Over 2/3 of all daters rated their dates as “good” or “great;”
* 87% of singles told a friend about their experience on CrazyBlindDate.com.

“We’ve been thrilled to see such an overwhelming response and look forward to serving the voracious appetite of singles in LA, Washington DC, and Chicago,” said Sam Yagan, co-founder of CrazyBlindDate.com. “Singles across the country are finding that CrazyBlindDate.com is the one website that quickly connects them with real, live dates, taking the work out of online dating and replacing it with spontaneity and fun.”


Is Internet dating too slow for you? Try this…

I just don’t get it.  People now complain that Internet dating takes too much time, the process is too slow and time-consuming, too much work, blah blah blah.  Man, have we gotten spoiled or what?  Internet dating is not even 15 years old yet (Match.com started in 1995), has evolved with breakneck speed, particularly since 9/11/2001, is the greatest thing that has ever happened to romance, EVER, and we bitch?  Don’t you remember how hard meeting ANYONE was prior to online dating?  People now go from no dates in years to six in a month or even a week!  What’s to complain about?

Well, as will happen, when a need is identified, a solution will be invented.  Who knew that we needed garbage bags?

Onto the stage comes CrazyBlindDate.com.  Looks like it is a branch of OKCupid in beta, and it looks like it helps if you are in Austin, Boston, NYC, or San Francisco, but by going through a bit of a sign up process, you could be on a blind date in 15 minutes.  You really should go to CrazyBlindDate.com and go through their sign-up process just to see what is possible.  They even set you up with a place to meet!  Ah, technology.  See the article below for one woman’s experience:

Speeding up love at first site


Thursday, February 7th 2008, 4:00 AM
Braganti for News

The rigors of Internet dating had always seemed daunting for author Meredith Blake, but here she’s got a ‘crazy blind date’ with destiny.

Twenty minutes was all I had to give.

Okay, technically 40 minutes, but for the sake of my own sanity, I was telling myself it was only 20 minutes. It was a Friday night in the dead of winter, and I had not one but two blind dates to look forward to. Oh, and a photographer would be there to capture my date in all of its awkward glory.

A mere 24 hours earlier, I had logged on to a new dating site, CrazyBlindDate.com. Launched this past November in New York, Austin, Boston and San Francisco, the site is completely free and lets users go on a blind date almost immediately - in as little as 15 minutes. All you have to do is fill out a brief questionnaire and be willing to commit to at least 20 minutes no matter who or what shows up (anything less would be rude, of course).

The brainchild of Sam Yagan, also the CEO and co-founder of OkCupid.com, CrazyBlindDate was designed to address the perceived shortcomings of many other sites.

“When I talk to my friends, they have two complaints about Internet dating,” explains Yagan. “They say it’s too much work - working on the profile, browsing, sending e-mails. And they say that it lacks spontaneity. You can’t go online and set up a profile and get a date that night.”

Unlike other services that offer hours of fruitless distraction, CrazyBlindDate is not a destination for anything other than getting a date as soon as possible. You can’t view profiles of other users, or communicate with them in any way before your date, and there aren’t even any ads.

“With CBD, we want you to spend as little time as possible on the site, all your time out on the dates,” says Yagan.

Once you’ve requested a date, the system tries to find a match for you based on the criteria you request. If a match is found, you get an e-mail with a very brief physical description of your date, and a suggested location chosen from a standing list of bars and coffee shops. Once you accept, there’s no going back.

I had never tried online dating, with the exception of a few quasi-dates way back in the age of Friendster.

On the other hand, I have been on plenty of blind dates before. To ease the pressure, I follow this advice: Treat your date like an interview for a job you don’t want. With that in mind I usually enjoy myself.

So in theory, CrazyBlindDate seemed perfect for me.

“It’s a forced adventure, so I knew there would be something to talk about” says CrazyBlindDate.com veteran, Brianna Klemm, 30, of Astoria, who rationalized her first date as fodder for her blog.

“It’s great because it reminds you that dating is not that big a deal, that really it’s just two people sitting in a bar.”

But while Klemm was dubious about finding a serious relationship on CBD, Richie, 27, of Brooklyn, was more optimistic about its prospects. He recently ended up dating a guy he met through the site. “I tried Match.com a few years back, but never actually went out with anyone because the process is really tedious, “ he says. “But [CrazyBlind Date] is good for anyone.”

So, with these encouraging thoughts in my mind, I headed out on my dating adventure. First up was Michael, “Asian, 31, highlights, carrying an iPhone,” according to his CBD description.

I was the first to arrive at our meeting spot - 71 Irving, a Manhattan bar and cafe. I sat down and immediately started drinking my glass of Cabernet, waiting for Michael to walk through the door.

A few minutes later, an Asian man walked in, with telltale white headphones in his ears. I deliberated for a second about whether the barely noticeable reddish streaks in his hair qualified as highlights, and decided it had to be him. Michael joined me at the little table in the corner, and we both tried to ignore the photographer taking our picture. Not that she wasn’t nice.

Michael was eccentric, funny and totally unfazed by the situation. Even though there wasn’t a romantic connection, he kept me entertained with stories of seducing older women as a teenager and his plans to buy a plasma television for each wall in his bedroom. The only lull in conversation was when he answered a business call on his beloved iPhone, which provided a welcome opportunity to dig into the chocolate macaroons he bought for me. After about an hour at 71 Irving, Michael upped the ante and suggested getting dinner in Chinatown, but I had to decline since I had another date scheduled.

Emboldened by two glasses of wine, I headed for my second date at Greenwich Treehouse, a laid-back bar in a corner of the West Village . I awkwardly made a lap around the crowded bar, not seeing anyone fitting Brian’s description: “27, white, dark hair, clean-shaven.” I got a beer, and took a very conspicuous seat by the door so as not to be missed.

I felt strangely liberated and not self-conscious about the fact that I was a woman in a bar by myself on a Friday. This turned out to be an especially good thing, since 20 minutes passed with no sign of Brian.

To be honest, I was relieved. I’d had a great night, despite being stood up by a total stranger.


What’s happening now in online dating?

I love watching how the online dating industry and the way people use it changes so quickly.  It wasn’t very long ago that you could find anything at all on the net about dating, what was happening and trends.  Here’s an article about where things are and where things are going that says some interesting things.  The article is in red, I’ve underlined parts I think are interesting, and commented in the body of the article in black.

How do I catch a valentine?
Chicago Tribune

It’s the week before Valentine’s Day, and you might be looking for a special someone. Maybe you’re one of the millions of people who haven’t tried an online matchmaking service. Or maybe you tried one a while ago and were disappointed by the number of people more interested in casual dating than in establishing serious relationships.

Here’s an update: Things have changed. Sites are charging more money to connect people, and the higher membership fees appear to be weeding out the not-so-serious types. Also, the fill-out-a-profile-and-wait-for-replies method of finding a match is giving way to faster means of meeting people.

If you’re thinking about going online to meet a kindred spirit, here is what’s happening these days in the Internet matchmaking world.


Fewer people are checking out online dating sites. Internet researcher comScore Media Metrix says the number of visits in December dropped by 10 percent—to 20.2 million Americans—compared with December 2006 figures.

“There are fewer people, but they’re more serious,” says Mark Brooks, who provides marketing and other services for online dating sites. “The revenues continue to climb because the looky-loos have gone away; they can’t get much service without paying (a subscription to a Web dating service.)”

The novelty of online dating is starting to wear off, and Mark Brooks is right, it’s the serious folks who are staying in.

The average monthly subscription is now $25 a month, up $20 a month from a few years ago, but more free sites might start popping up among the hundreds of online matchmakers, thanks to the skyrocketing popularity of Plenty of Fish. Plentyoffish.com is free and among the most visited Web sites—not just dating sites—in Canada and the U.S.

While eHarmony, Yahoo! Personals and Match.com have millions of members, many so-called niche dating sites are growing because they zero in on a specific interest or background or age group, such as SeniorFriendFinder.com. Farmersonly.com attracts those who like the agricultural way of life, while gk2gk.com appeals to self-described geeks. Sparks Networks operates a stable of sites such as JDate.com, for Jewish singles, and DeafSinglesConnection.com. MyPartner.com welcomes gays and lesbians.


Growing attention to the issue of online safety. New Jersey recently enacted the Internet Dating Safety Act, requiring online dating services to disclose their criminal background screening practices and to offer safer dating tips on their sites. It’s the first such law of any state; other states might follow suit.

This push to legislate “online dating safety” (as if a law could actually do that) is very controversial.  I testified against a similar bill here in Florida last year.  See my blog entries about it here.

There is no law requiring dating sites to verify the age or identity of members or to run criminal background checks on them. The online dating/social networking industry argues that any such law would be expensive and certainly not foolproof. Most matchmaking sites require users to state they are 18 years or older and to agree they will follow certain rules of behavior. Many offer safety tips for users, and there are plenty of businesses offering to investigate people met online—for a fee.


Some people think online dating is for old people who stay in touch by e-mail, rather than the social-networking, instant-messaging young crowd. Not so fast. “Paid online dating should grow from about $890 million in 2007 to an estimated $1.9 billion in 2012,” says David Card, of Jupiter Research. “We haven’t seen any negative impact from free social networks on the paid social business.”

Online dating is still getting more than 20 million new visitors a month, so don’t worry that potential mates are abandoning online service. As Card puts it, “The big (sites) continue to do well, and there are little guys springing up left and right.”

But if you’re in a hurry for a match, things might seem a bit slow. Dating sites aren’t messing with their time-tested formula for keeping people coming back: the fill-out-a-profile-and-wait-for-responses method. While that makes money for sites, it isn’t the fastest way to meet people.

SpeedDate.com is shaking things up by pairing Web cam users for three-minute meetings—like speed dating from yoursofa. Dodgeball.com lets your cell phone seek out other Dodgeball members while you’re at the bar, the game or even the grocery store. Exchange text messages and choose to meet. Or not.


No matter what online service you choose, use common sense to screen out potential troublemakers and be honest about what you want and who you are. When Steve Johnson, the Chicago Tribune’s Internet critic, last summer asked Plenty of Fish Chief Executive Officer Markus Frind what he had learned about love while running his site, Frind said: “Everyone lies. What people say they want and what they actually want are two completely different things. Like when people write their profile and say, I’m looking for this and this and this, the people they actually search for and message are completely different from what they list, like 30 or 40 percent of the time. People put down what they think other people think they should go for rather than what they want.”

I would not say that people are lying when what they search for appears different that what they state, simply that they may be stating what they ideally are looking for, but then reality sinks in.  A guy may say he wants a woman he could take home to meet Mom, but actually LOOK AT the other extreme.


Speed Dating, Internet Dating, and First Impressions

I love the expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” don’t you? It’s one of those wonderful short, concise sentences that makes complete sense the first and tenth time you hear it. Like “Liars need good memories” or “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “That’s so true!” I always think. And that’s what makes these sayings memorable.

Sure enough, in speed dating (as I have been writing about here this past week), first impressions are IT. First impressions and the far-reaching judgments based on them are what speed dating is all about. That’s not quite so clear with Internet dating, but in actuality, first impressions are VITALLY important here too

Most Internet dating sites allow visitors to do a search from the site’s home page: You specify whether you are male or female, and whether you are looking for the same or opposite sex, the age range, and usually your zip code for geographical closeness, and then the site presents you with all the possible candidates listed there who fit your criteria. Those possibles are presented all together, ten or more to a page, with sometimes just a photo and screen name, nothing more! If you are lucky, you might get a couple of lines of the poster’s writing so you can get more of a feel for them besides the quality of their photo.

All it takes is a quick search and scan to see how little time and effort so many hopeful Internet daters put to that so important first impression. That all critical photo? Most are not above average, many are down-right horrible. The screen names? How can Jon735 or LTCSPA get an interested Sweetie to click through to their profile?

Arrgh! Take time. Spend a little money and get a good photo! I recommend LookBetterOnline. All my clients who have used LookBetterOnline have gotten excellent results. And if you’re not a good writer, get help! I do profile reviews and shape-ups, as do a number of other online resources. I’m not going to tell you about the others, because I think you should use me, of course. You can find the others on your own, but why? Frankly, I’m the best. And I am not modest, as you can tell.

Remember, you’re looking for your life partner! First impressions count, and with Internet dating, you may have only a second or two to make a good one. The better you present to the world, the better choice you will have in partners! Why would you want anything less? Make your tiny space on the search screen really count.


But Does Speed Dating Work?

“Does (you name the technique—Internet dating, speed dating, going to singles events) work?” is always a question that stumps me. “Compared with what?” I ask. Compared with doing nothing, speed dating probably works pretty well. Anything is better than nothing, and what’s the likelihood that doing nothing will “work”? As our cat Peri says, “Not good, Dad. Not good.”

Does speed dating “work” better than Internet dating? Who knows? But what I am sure of is that the more you do to make finding a mate more likely, the more likely it is that you will find the love of your life. I do hear more and more reports of couples who met at speed dating events, just as it is not at all uncommon for new romance clients to tell me that they know one or more couples, now married, who met on the net.

Speed dating puts the all-important “Chemistry,” that illusive “something” most singles look for in a potential partner, stage center. Checking out “chemistry” usually has to wait until the first face-to-face meeting with Internet daters. Not a problem with speed dating: Here’s you chance to check for chemistry with a dozen or more candidates, no time wasted.

Most of us feel that “chemistry” or attraction is an important part of romantic love. But how do you know that the excitement you feel is a healthy attraction? How do you know the feeling is not fear, or a tapping into a not-so-healthy past experience?

Research is coming out that supports both the “working” of speed dating and Internet dating. I wrote about the research on Internet dating in an earlier blog entry, so I won’t go into that here again. But here’s what’s coming out about speed dating: Researchers at University of Pennsylvania worked with HurryDate to collect data on 10,526 anonymous participants of speed dating events.

Robert Kurzban, the research leader, said that most participants made their decisions with three seconds. Since participants have no prior information about the other candidates, they make their decisions based solely on first impressions, that “chemistry” again. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about similar observations, that contrary to what the individuals at speed dating events SAY they want beforehand, they decided whether or not to pursue a relationship based on intuitive, non-verbal information. What this research is not able to say though is if the initial attraction found at a speed dating event can then translate into a good, solid long term commitment. The research on Internet dating however does seem to indicate that if the participants who met online used the Internet and the telephone to get to know each other before meeting, they were highly likely to want to meet again, and even pursure the relationship for at least months.

Here are some positives I have been hearing: As you could imagine, speed dating would be particularly suited to cities where you would have a big draw of like to like. In other words, filling up an event with enough professional men and women in a certain age range would be possible. Or sports fans or music lovers. Interestingly, the ages specified for the groupings are often three to five years younger for women than men. While that follows usual dating patterns of men dating younger women, if you are older and female, ouch! The pickings (and events) are slim and far between. Often, too, the events will have a cut off age, like 35 or 40. Older folks—male or female --may be out of luck. Here’s and interesting tidbit: More women tend to sign up for speed dating events, but more men actually show up.

A commonality between speed dating events and Internet dating sites is that people going to speed dating events are there for one purpose only—they are interested in meeting someone who also is available, and they are paying to do so. That alone lends a note of seriousness, and of course, self-screens out anyone who is not.

If chemistry is important to you, then you may want to give speed dating a try. But be aware of your less healthy relationship patterns. And if you are over 40 and female, let me know if you actually find an event that will accept you.


What’s Speed Dating, Where Did It Come From, and What’s It Like?

What’s speed dating and where did it come from?

Speed dating is definitely the runaway hit of the dating scene these days. Over just the past couple of weeks that I have been watching, I’ve seen articles on speed dating in India, England(big hit there), Australia, New Mexico, at basketball games (not too successful), and for Rock ‘n Roll fans in Boston. A Google search on “speed dating” brings up 114,000 listings. The UK and Australia seem particularly well-represented.

Speed dating was “invented” in 1999 by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in southern California as a way “to directly facilitate Jewish continuity by helping Jews meet Jews.” As we know, online dating took a huge jump up in activity after 9/11, when suddenly, being public about looking for love was okay. Old fashioned dating services and matchmakers suddenly became in vogue again too, and the market was ripe for the Next New Idea. Enter speed dating. Speed dating quickly moved out of Jewish circles, into the mainstream, and around the world. Entrepreneurs moved into the lucrative singles market with this new and enticing way of facilitating match-ups, and singles equally quickly snapped up the new bait.

What’s a speed dating event like?

Businesses have sprung up (HurryDate, 8MinuteDating, or BlinkDating, for instance) that plan and organize speed dating events for a fee, usually around $30 or $35. Folks who register meet at a specific place and time, often a bar or restaurant. Usually the format is for women to sit at tables and the men move from one table to another at a signal. I’ve seen the number of potential dates as anything between 8 and 25. The two new acquaintances talk for 3 to 10 minutes, depending on what the structure allows, then at the signal, men move to the next candidate.

After each contact, both people rate or score the person they have just met, checking something like “Interested,” “Maybe,” or “Not interested.” The scores are tabulated later, and if a match has occurred (both indicate “Interested” or “Maybe"), then the parties are notified, given contact information, and then the individuals take it from there.

A new slant on speed dating is getting going in India, via the British Asian singles market, where individuals can buy cheaper tickets to watch and not participate. I can see it now: stadiums full of people watching the action. Well, why not a reality show? Sounds like a match made in heaven.

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


“How Fast Can We Do It?  Speed Dating Online and Off”

My mind’s been on speed dating lately, which has taken off lately in the same way that Internet dating took off after 9/11. Here’s an article I wrote a year or so ago that is still relevant, which is saying something, since in this day and age, once you have finished an article, it becomes an antique:

“How Fast Can We Do It? Speed Dating Online and Off”

In an effort to cut down the time between meeting and mating to as close to zero as possible, up has popped Speed Dating!

For the uninitiated, speed dating happens when groups of singles meet together at a predetermined location. In an organized fashion, these folks talk to each other individually for under ten minutes (usually six to eight) per person, then switch to the next one in line. Next, each single rates interest (or no interest) in pursuing each contact. Afterwards, the organizers put the parties who indicated mutual interest in touch with each other, with what happens next up to the individuals concerned. Sort of like an adult version of Musical Chairs.

Offered by various businesses like HurryDate.com, and Pre-Dating.com, even the online dating veteran Match.com is jumping into the fray. Match.com sponsors live, face-to-face events in various cities.

But Match.com also been beta testing a completely online version that does not even require that you leave home—all you need is a computer online and another phone line or cell phone to use at the same time. After having a chance to look at the other’s profile and photo, the Match.com answer to supersonic speed puts you on the phone with one guy or gal after another—for an even shorter four minutes! Then, up comes the form, and just indicate your choice: “Yes, no, or maybe.”

Like most face to face events that I hear about (and I include the Match.com computer-based speed dating in this category), it sounds as if women usually outnumber men. Why? Well, women may just be more comfortable in these more social, on-the-spot sort of events. If you are not quick with words or good handling things on your feet, you’d be at a disadvantage. Guys report feeling trapped and uncomfortable. And there can be an air of competition that could make men antsy, not wanting to participate in something where they could lose or feel foolish.
There’s a message here for guys: Given the ratios, these kind of events would be great places for you to try. And they would provide great practice in mastering a social patter that would be useful in other situations.

The advantages to both men and women? Well, clearly, speed. And practice. And to “get your feet wet” and get a sense that there is plenty of choice out there. Who knows? Maybe you’ll get lucky!

The disadvantages? With face-to-face as well as online speed dating, you’ve got next to no screening except signing up /paying up / showing up. So you find a range of people, likely most of whom will not be even a passable fit for you.

With regular online dating, at least you get to screen to your heart’s content in total privacy, before making even one direct contact. You get to sift out potentials who are clearly wrong for you.

With speed dating events, what you see is what you get. As one woman reported, “When you see all those plaid jackets and missing teeth, it can be pretty depressing.”

Think about it: How fast do we really want to do this? After all, this is a life-partner search. What if the perfect guy or lady for you does not show him or herself the best in four to eight minutes?

Internet dating has already made the meeting process more efficient than we have ever known before. If we figure out many more ways to cut the time down, we’ll be saying “no” before any contact at all. That sounds suspiciously like staying home and doing nothing!


“Blink,” Malcolm Gladwell, and Speed Dating

My latest favorite book came right from my Sweetie Drew. Drew is an NPR and PBS fan and is forever ordering books he hears about on radio and TV. Recently he heard about by Malcolm Galdwell. He loved the book, and while he was reading it, Drew kept telling me how much he thought I would like it. Well, I did.

“Blink” is all about that instantaneous flash of insight we can have that does not seem to be connected to rational thought. The coaching world calls this flash “intuition,” and we are taught to pay attention to such flashes and use them in our work with clients. Gladwell never uses the word “intuition,” but he tells story after story of instances where people “just knew” something that defied logic. Gladwell attributes these flashes of insight to the unconscious mind, a huge repository of information which we all have and of which we are largely unaware. Unaware however does not mean unused.

I think that much of what Gladwell describes is the process daters call “chemistry.” Internet daters are particularly concerned about chemistry, because meeting online, even with pictures and phone calls, leaves out all the subtle physical cues that come full force when people meet face to face. And as we all know, that chemistry can be Wow! Or Yick. And it’s important.

Gladwell even writes about speed dating! Hooray! Speed dating seems MADE for the thin slicing of decision making, and in some ways, that is so. I’ll talk more about speed dating in future postings. Speed dating relies on instant decision-making about interest and attraction. Gladwell writes much about how these flashes of insight proved correct. But also, he gives plenty of examples of when the insight does not work well, and is sometimes dead wrong. We all know of couples who hated each other on first meeting, but later felt strongly attracted. He says that good decision making rests on a balance between deliberate and instinctual thinking. And secondly, that too many choices reduces the effectiveness of the process. Speed dating involves many choices, and what might actually be a good match could get lost in the frenzy.

If you are interested in broadening your knowledge of the mysteries of attraction, then “Blink” needs to be on your reading list.



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