Y combinator dating ring

Was being female either an advantage or disadvantage in working on your startup? Dating is of course a space that has a pretty even split of male and female consumers. What do you wish someone had told you when you were 15? As it relates to the startup world, I wish I was told to spend a lot less time trying to maintain a perfect GPA, and a lot more time making friends and working on extracurricular projects, without worrying about the outcome. I was always so concerned about what people thought of me, which stopped me from pursuing a lot of the crazy ideas I had as a teenager.

I would have been way too scared of failure to start a matchmaking service in high school. I also wish I was told to not stress myself out over the littlest things. In a college psych class, I learned something about how most things that seem super important have little to no impact on us a week, or a month later. That happens in real life all the time, and it made for some good radio. I enjoyed season 1 much more as well but definitely not because Startup was being dishonest here, more like the company and market place were just not that interesting and ultimately failed, that's part of most startups and businesses too.

We were spoiled with Gimlet. I'm admittedly being hard on them, and I hope it doesn't seem meanspirited. I was mostly trying to explain why I was personally disappointed. If StartUp isn't trying to uphold any journalistic standard, it's unfair of me to hold them to one. They should have at least said, "We reached out to Katie to talk about her time at Dating Ring, but she declined to comment.

Sure they were having issues, just not the issue Alex said they were having. Alex shepherded Lauren and Emma into this room ostensibly because he didn't feel comfortable with Lauren first hearing about Emma's dissatisfaction re: But by the time they taped that segment, Lauren and Emma had already had a conversation re: So why didn't Alex at least pretend that elephant had been addressed? I'm not saying the conversation wasn't illuminating, I'm saying it was staged under false pretenses, and that wasn't necessary, causing me to question its real purpose and value.

But according to the podcast, the Dating Ring wasn't in a death spiral at that point; in fact, they were allegedly thriving at a never-before-achieved level, bringing in 10x more clients per week than they did pre-StartUp. It doesn't add up. Again I don't mean to be overly critical, I'm just saying why I felt the season failed as journalism, which is a high bar to begin with, and not one they claimed to be clearing. I guess it was just a letdown after Season 1. But I'll be back for Season 3!

They referred to themselves as "journalists" several times over the course of the ep. DashSnowden, thanks for your post.

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You made excellent points, and started a fascinating conversation I've been hungry to see. And you didn't even mention how this season did a lot of weird reveals. Like "we discovered people didn't like group dates. That didn't come up before. Or when they mentioned that they didn't just want to be "the Uber of dating", they wanted to literally be Uber for on-demand dating.

Except that never really went anywhere at all, before or after they said it. I acknowledge that some of these points are valid. But to me, story telling is more important and I enjoyed the season.


  • Lauren Kay of Dating Ring Discusses Her Experience of Startup Podcast Featuring Her Company?
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Business issues that were raised generally resonated. If this were the Iran nuclear negotiations, getting the details right would be more critical. But as you say, this doesn't claim to be journalism. It doesn't have to be the Iran nuclear negotiations! I think the most apt comparison is Serial: That podcast was put to an intense degree of scrutiny and it came back virtually bulletproof.

Miami, and maybe you'd be right -- it's not that one is better than the other, it's that they're not even remotely similar. I do agree that there was much to enjoy this season! I learned a lot about Y Combinator, the difficulties of being a woman trying to raise funds, and the struggles of running an online dating business, and I did find all that very informative! Agree with DashSnowden, if the goal of the podcast was to be entertaining, I think it was successful. I enjoyed listening to every single episode. Yes, maybe Startup didn't plan on the Dating Ring to "fail", but it's good to see what the reality is.

Most startup end up failing and it's difficult. I may be naive but I don't think they are trying to build the show in a way that would entice future startups to participate. People heard them crying, having a breakdowns, realizing that they're failing. This doesn't seem very appealing to me! It could be something as normal as "our company is in trouble and we aren't the kind of people who can blow smoke up people's asses about how awesome we're doing. Unrelenting positivity can be delusional or it can be what gets you through.

And if you don't believe in yourself and your company from the tips of your toenails on up, it's going to be extraodinarily hard to keep the PR machine going. That was my first thought prior to hearing the finale -- I actually wondered if the StartUp finale would end with the Dating Ring closing its doors entirely.

In fact, the finale presented one of the season's very few bits of empirical data, in a conversation between Alex Blumberg and Lauren Kay. Per that conversation, prior to the airing of StartUp's Season 2 premiere, the Dating Ring was adding between customers per cycle I'm assuming this is per week but it's not clear.

Want to add to the discussion?

So why go silent in WEEK 3? They weren't in trouble and they wouldn't have been blowing smoke; the company was actually doing awesome! I can understand displaying humility and reserve -- I'm not saying they should have been on Twitter 10 times a day saying, "Guys this thing is blowing up! We have so many new members; join now so we can match you with your soulmate!

However, I do find it odd that they stopped communicating publicly altogether during this period of exponential growth and massive publicity. These aren't media-shy women quite the opposite and they're accustomed to working the PR machine even in lean times: Crowing about how well your company is doing, when that company relies on having LOTS of members, is what you do.

Join the party, everyone else is!

That many new users means a lot more plates spinning It's also possible they lost the passwords? Or maybe they decided for other reasons that free promotion and an active social presence would be detrimental to growth? But I guess I can't prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. If it helps, they both kept their personal accounts relatively active throughout this period, and Lauren even answered a handful of benign questions related to things she'd said on StartUp, they just didn't use those accounts to share links to StartUp, nor did they say after April 30 , "Hey we're the stars of this cool podcast, you guys should listen!

Starting a Startup After Business School - Reham Fagiri and Kalam Dennis of AptDeco

It seems like this is what a season or some episodes look like when the subject isn't cooperative. And by "cooperative" I don't just mean whether they'll talk to you, because Dating Ring certainly did, all the time. I also mean the situation that's in part out of any one person's hands and impossible to predict. With this giant list of critique, the patchwork used to make a long arc out of a story that was closing too early becomes more evident.

I am so supportive of Gimlet and the folks behind it. I chalk it up to a really unfortunate situation that honestly may be the nature of the beast in the start up world. I wonder if this will affect their choices next time. Remember that they're a start-up, but a successful one. They might not have the tools and maybe no one does to ID a company that will soar or plummet. And I mean no disrespect towards Dating Ring or any entrepreneurs. I enjoyed season 2. Not perfect, but good enough to keep me interested. Not sure how good it was as journalism, but I liked it as documentary.

It seems the Startup team started reporting a little too late, but not too late enough. It's probably pretty tricky to find a company that is in the very early stages of formation, and they are willing to have so much of their process documented, and actually be interesting. The tape was or should have been rolling for the entirety of the company's plunge from hopeful near-viability to heartbreak and existential angst.

But the tape wasn't rolling -- too many conversations happened off-mic. Too few details were revealed. The co-founders were cagy and guarded. The stuff they delivered was self-serving pap. Who cares how Lauren's mother felt about the Dating Ring's transition from a tech startup to a lifestyle company? Who cares about how Emma met her boyfriend? How is that in any way relevant when we were never told, for example, how many people were employed by the Dating Ring, and whether any of those people were laid off due to the transition?

I'm not convinced we'll get a third season of StartUp because I think, for Gimlet, the storytelling logistics are too treacherous and unpredictable. Meanwhile, there's no real upside for the business being profiled. This isn't Shark Tank -- these people aren't selling a revolutionary new sponge, and they're not putting their product on prime time TV in front of 8 million viewers, and maybe bringing on Mark Cuban as an investor and strategic partner.

It's not Bar Rescue either: Alex Blumberg isn't spending a hundred grand remodeling these startups' shitty offices, re-training their dispirited employees, and reigniting their founders' passion -- all presented for maximum uplift, and aired in front of 2 million viewers.

Matchmaking as a service

This is a podcast that requests near-total access and offers no reward beyond warts-and-all exposure to a relatively small group of listeners , per week with a very particular taste profile. Meanwhile, these founders are trying to launch businesses, and by participating, they're more likely to come off as liars, frauds, and fools than visionaries. Same behavior as witnessed on their social media accounts: It's certainly not like they were using the site to actively promote themselves or the podcast after that initial burst of enthusiasm.

She was fine with the first charge, but didn't want to pay for the second one, because she hadn't found someone yet. It's just that there's something fundamentally wrong with this approach of quenching it. There is no try, as master Yoda said: Same here, more surprised than actually casting any sort of judgement I was a bit confused by some of the storytelling but didn't notice the timing gaps.

But maybe that's because I was distracted by what a dud this season was - chiefly because it was pretty clear early into the season that Dating Ring wasn't going to go anywhere. It seems to me that the cofounders whom I found very annoying agreed to be featured in Startup as a kind of PR Hail Mary pass, and it didn't work.

Lauren Kay of Dating Ring Discusses Her Experience of Startup Podcast Featuring Her Company

As that became clear and the company hit the rocks, they lost their enthusiasm for it. This one didn't work because there was never any real hope for DR. They thought PR was the answer to everything. But they never had a real business or any serious financing. To point number five, the podcast in prominently featured on the thankfully revamped Dating Ring website. I am truly sad to read about the poor journalism, or perhaps anti-journalism, displayed in some of the season. But having just discovered this subreddit, I am equally surprised to discover such active dislike for the season as a whole.

Honestly, the sequence of events is not something I remember these months later though it might be if I was cued into the discrepancies. What stays with me are the conversations about race and attractiveness, equity and what makes a person worthy of it, sexism and the self-doubt involved in naming it, the support of family, and the underlying question of whether perseverance is sheer heroism or dumb delusion. I was a tough sell to start, as I have no interest in online dating, but the themes developed throughout the season thoroughly drew me in and made me care about the people involved.

Obviously the above list makes me rework my estimation of the show, but I wouldn't feel right if I didn't make some defense of it on thematic and artistic grounds. And I for one am really eager for season three, with hopes they get their journalistic sh-, er, rigor together. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Log in or sign up in seconds. Submit a new link. Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

Some brief yet important backstory; Alex Blumberg This American Life, Planet Money released Startup Podcast in the summer of , which brought us along his journey of creating and launching his own podcast company very meta, and very addicting. Lauren said her other Co-Founder, Emma Tessler , is a huge podcast fan, and when she heard about this opportunity, Emma said they have to do this.

Lauren looks at Season 2 of Startup Podcast as a multi-million dollar advertising spot for the company. Before the podcast, growth and revenue for the company was a challenge, but mid and post-podcast, that growth and revenue increases every week. Many of them too. She explained some of the most difficult aspects of running the company under such a powerful microscope. Gimlet Media is, after all, a media company looking to uncover and share great stories.

Lauren Kay of Dating Ring Discusses Her Experience of Startup Podcast Featuring Her Company

When they wanted answers, Lauren explained, they really wanted answers. Imagine the absolute worst thing you could talk about, and then diving into that topic for hours and hours with your friends, family, and colleagues. Recording those moments took an emotional toll on us. We had to prove most things too, and sometimes there were moments or things that happened that were just naturally difficult to prove. From the storytelling side of things, Lauren enjoyed, and sometimes questioned, the focal points in each episode.