Harbinger does online dating
At 3 o’clock one recent early morning, Jess and Ken Deckinger’s nine-month-old started crying, waking up the two others kids, and it quickly became clear that no one was going to get much sleep.
And yet, the next morning at Mass Challenge, a Boston startup accelerator, the Deckingers are glowing like newlyweds, sneaking flirtatious glances at each other across the table, completing each others’ sentences, giggling at each others’ jokes.
She attributes part of this to the fact that the big players (Ok Cupid, e Harmony, Plenty of Fish, Match) and the majority of the niche ones (Skout, How About We, Meet Moi) were started by men.
Just this year, the world has seen exactly how male-dominated the culture at these dating startups can be.
“It’s about what he thinks a woman wants to see.”“That’s why so many men post pictures of themselves shirtless, next to their car holding an enormous fish they caught,” Ken chimes in.“But often,” Jess continues, “the things we love about the men in our lives are not necessarily the things they would tell us about themselves: that they have a good relationship with their mother or that they are color-blind and need help dressing themselves.
A female friend is more likely to represent those things about her guy friend.”The Deckingers believe so fervently in this platform because it is, in fact, how they met.
“The problem with Tinder is that you’re meeting a total stranger based on just one piece of information–how hot they are,” says Kate. You have no idea if the guy is a serial killer or a rapist.” Clearly, the mechanisms that men and women prefer when dating online are very different.On their new site, called Jess, Meet Ken, women can recommend eligible bachelors they know; single woman browsing the site can then either reach out to the man himself or to the woman who vouches for him.According to the Deckingers, this new platform accomplishes two goals: It provides women with a sense of safety, since men are not a totally anonymous on the site, and men are presented in their best light by their female friends.“Online dating is largely about how a guy represents himself,” Jess says.“After responding to one guy’s message, he sent me a list of all the things he wanted to do with me in bed–and it was truly disgusting,” Kate tells me.“I immediately blocked him, but for days, I walked around with the fear that I might bump into him in real life and he would recognize me from my picture and personal details.” Many women told me how common it was for men to send unsolicited pictures of their genitals.