Feb 14, 2019
This week, Taylor Gibb from the customer success team at Braze brought in Senior CSM, Jordan Houghton, to discuss how she met her husband on OKCupid. Match Group finally acquires Hinge, adding to it's caché of dating apps, and don't forget about Bounce (the dating app on which you can do nothing EXCEPT meet for a date that very evening).
PJ Bruno: On this Valentine's Day, me and the team would like to say, whether you're swiping for fun or looking for that special one, whether you're cuffing at home, or just love being alone, if you're going to give a gift, make sure it's relevant, personalized, and well timed. That apple of your eye wants nothing that isn't personal, and poorly timed, well, that's a crime. So, this year, kiddies, avoid the mess of a shameful Valentine's tragedy. Keep it personal, and treat your valentine like your customer engagement strategy.
The Captain: This is the captain. Brace for impact.
PJ Bruno: Hi again. Welcome back to Braze for Impact, your weekly tech industry discuss digest, and I'm so thrilled today to have back again by population demand Taylor Gibb from CS. How you doing, Taylor?
Taylor Gibb: I am excited to be here. This is a big one.
PJ Bruno: It is.
Taylor Gibb: This is an inaugural run of me on this podcast on Valentine's Day in 2019.
PJ Bruno: It is, and you brought a buddy with you, I see. You have a friend.
Taylor Gibb: I definitely did. We roll deep in succeed, I like to say, so I brought one of the very best, and I'm apparently rhyming.
Jordan: No. This is Jordan.
Taylor Gibb: Jordan, guys, it is so good to have you here, and I really wanted to lean into our Valentine's Day festive podcast here.
PJ Bruno: Ooh, I'm intrigued.
Taylor Gibb: I brought a little theme in to guide today, because you know we're all thinking about love. A lot of us in New York City are kind of looking for that special date tonight, a lot of restaurant reservations out there-
PJ Bruno: Don't you know it?
Taylor Gibb: ... So I wanted to kind of focus in on dating apps today, and Jordan, I brought you in not just because you've got a silky smooth voice-
Jordan: Oh, thank you very much.
Taylor Gibb: Yeah, absolutely, but because I know that you actually... You've got a particular stance on dating apps, or at least the way that they were a couple of years ago. Do you care to elaborate there?
PJ Bruno: Interesting.
Jordan: I am a success story of dating apps. I met my husband on OkCupid.
PJ Bruno: How about that?
Taylor Gibb: That's right. Yeah. I brought in one of the very best. Jordan, tell me about your OkCupid experience there.
Jordan: Okay. So, this was a few years ago. I had absolutely no intention of meeting anybody online. I just wanted to make a profile, maybe have some people reach out, make me feel a little bit better about myself, never thought I'd actually go out in person, and met some really great people, and met my husband.
Taylor Gibb: That is a huge success story, and I always used to think that was rare, that you were more likely to run into a dud than you were the one, but these success stories are getting more and more prevalent. I think I saw a statistic that it's expected something wild, like 71% of couples in the year 2025 will have met online.
PJ Bruno: What?
Taylor Gibb: I saw that, and I thought that was just absolutely crazy because it seems like maybe five years ago that the idea of dating online was this kind of... I don't know.
Jordan: No. I made the mistake of telling my mom, as I was walking to my first online date, that I actually had made a profile on OkCupid, and I was going to meet somebody, and I'm from Kansas originally, and she was literally screaming into the phone, begging me to either go to a public place, or turn around and walk home, because you don't know who you're going to meet, and they could very much be an ax murderer.
PJ Bruno: So, the advice there is don't always listen to Mom?
Taylor Gibb: If we wanted to tell you one thing here in this podcast, it's don't listen to your mom.
PJ Bruno: It could cost you the love of your life.
Taylor Gibb: Come on.
PJ Bruno: So, wait. Was this the mobile app, or this is the-
Jordan: This was the mobile app.
PJ Bruno: Okay, cool.
Jordan: I got really addicted to swiping.
Taylor Gibb: An early adopter.
PJ Bruno: Early, early adoption.
Taylor Gibb: I love that.
Jordan: I was very much into it.
Taylor Gibb: You know, we're going to dig into a little bit more on kind of the dating apps, the pros and cons, ways they're changing here later, but I would be remiss if I didn't have a mini intro for you, PJ-
PJ Bruno: Oh, really?
Taylor Gibb: ... Because I know, and without going too far into detail, I know that you've used your share of dating apps, maybe a bit of a connoisseur.
PJ Bruno: Oh, wow.
Jordan: A connoisseur of dating apps.
PJ Bruno: Where are you getting your information?
Taylor Gibb: I don't know.
PJ Bruno: You been through my phone?
Taylor Gibb: I've been swiping through your phone when I was testing earlier.
PJ Bruno: You know, I like to do research, so I like to... I have Hinge on my phone. I think that's pretty neat. We're going to touch on Hinge soon. I've tried Tinder, I've tried Bumble, and there's something to be said for it. I think I can argue for both sides. There's something very cool, especially in a city like New York, the ability to connect with random people that, honestly, I have a handful of people that are still friends to this day that I met on dating apps, so that's a cool thing, but then, of course, other side of the coin, you start to not appreciate people as much. They're just so easily dismissible, and you just don't really put the time that's required to build something that matter and lasts.
Jordan: Oh, tell me-
Taylor Gibb: We kind of forget that they're human beings because they're just a sound bite, maybe a picture, and one thing about them that may or may not have caught your eye, and you forget that, hopefully, they're a fully fleshed human being on the other side that might be waiting for your text, or might but hoping that you swipe right on them. I think it's really easy to have choice paralysis when there's an endless array of options.
PJ Bruno: Totally. Well, that leads really nicely into our first little article here, which may be the solution to that swipe paralysis, or whatever you want to call it, people not willing to jump in and get stuck in and meet someone in person. We're really thrilled, actually, to be able to plug a good friend of ours. A previous coworker from Braze, Dylan Petro, was able to launch his dating app, Bounce, and all you can do on the app is date. Right? There no chatting?
Taylor Gibb: Oh, yeah.
PJ Bruno: It's just literally you connect, and that night, the date, it's on. They pick a spot. Is that right?
Taylor Gibb: Oh, yeah.
Jordan: They do.
Taylor Gibb: That's right, and I have to say, I actually was one of the first users of this app. I remember Dylan gave a special code to a beta group of testers, and there's something really exciting about it. Right? You get a notification on your phone... First of all, love notifications here at Braze, so having get ready to go on a date, that's amazing to get delivered to your lock screen.
Jordan: It also makes sense, though, because it is so time-sensitive, it's not just so-and-so likes you, or you have 35 swipe right people, but it's like, you have a date in 25 minutes, or two hours from now, so it's very time-sensitive, so that's the right channel, in my opinion. An email could get lost in your inbox.
Taylor Gibb: Absolutely, and it's funny, too. This article that we brought up here says that this is the perfect dating app for Millennials who have this kind of analysis paralysis. It even said anything that I'm unfortunately very familiar with. It's like swiping through Netflix, and you've got so many options that you just end up looking at the options for an hour and going to bed.
PJ Bruno: Yep, yep.
Taylor Gibb: This is exactly what I do every time, and so when it comes to dating, absolutely, I'm going to keep swiping.
PJ Bruno: That's the thing. It's like, because, I don't know, you always go back to the well, and I'm a big Netflix browser, and some people are just like, “Oh, my God. Pick something,” but I enjoy going through all the stuff and just keep scrolling and scrolling, and so sometimes I get into that mode with swiping. It becomes-
PJ Bruno: I mean, they've gamified it. Right?
Taylor Gibb: Oh, yeah.
PJ Bruno: So, it's like you're talking to someone, and I don't know, there's always that incentive get back in and continue to swipe.
Jordan: My girlfriends, they have a rule that if you've been texting for more than three days and they haven't mentioned a date, to cut it out right then-
PJ Bruno: That's a pretty good rule.
Jordan: ... Because they're not necessarily interested in dating, so Bounce is so interesting because it's forcing you to say, “I actually want to meet someone tonight. My makeup's already on. I got my shoes on. Let's go. Let's not just go back and forth and then just flow into the ether of ghosting.”
PJ Bruno: Right. Right.
Taylor Gibb: Definitely, and I know that PJ hates when he puts on his makeup, expecting to go out on a day. He's got it all, and then they ghost him.
Jordan: He's got the shoes on, he's got the mascara ready to go.
Taylor Gibb: God, and he just looks so good, so fly.
PJ Bruno: When you put that much time into it, of course you're going to be upset when nothing comes to fruition.
Taylor Gibb: Absolutely.
Jordan: Lord knows, you're not going to meet someone in real life, so why would you actually go out unless you've got a date already planned?
PJ Bruno: Exactly. That's silly.
Taylor Gibb: So, here's the devil's advocate thing, though. I find that some of my friends who are maybe a little more shy, a little more reserved, really like to put in that emotional groundwork before they meet somebody. Love the idea of being on Hinge and being able to message for weeks. It's kind of a... You've got your Jane Austen pen pal romance a little bit.
PJ Bruno: Yeah, it's a vetting process.
Taylor Gibb: There's something to be said, right?
PJ Bruno: There is.
Taylor Gibb: Because it may be that for a certain kind of person, well, maybe for anybody, it's scary to meet somebody that night not knowing much about them. Right?
PJ Bruno: Absolutely, and I'll say about Hinge, actually, out of all the apps that I've used, Hinge is pretty good about giving you more than just, okay, this is what a person looks like. They have those little prompts. Have you seen these texts? It's just like-
Taylor Gibb: Oh, yeah. Oh, I love those little prompts.
PJ Bruno: It's thing like, “Something I'll never do again is,” or, “One thing I'm weirdly attracted to is,” and it just is three prompts that you can pick what they are, and it just tells you a little bit about themselves, and if it's funny or quirky and weird, it's just kind of like, oh, okay, I can get down with this. So, it's kind of like-
Jordan: That's why I loved OkCupid. The concept of just meeting someone because they're within a hundred feet of me and good looking freaked me out. So, I think I answered, I'm not kidding, maybe 300 or 400 questions. It was like an SAT that I filled out to potentially meet the love of my life, and it was actually really interesting, some of the questions that I differed with people. Yeah, it was really interesting to me because I'm similarly of the mind of you, Taylor, that I don't necessarily want to meet a stranger unless I'm literally in the same place as them. The idea of leaving my house and meeting a complete stranger would've freaked me out a little bit, so I think having both sides of it, either I know what you look like, I know what you think like, I know what you believe, I know what we're doing, we're both interested in sushi. Cool. Okay.
PJ Bruno: One thing I'll say for the audience out there is even if you're using dating apps, and you're not quite finding that special one, you're losing if you're not learning, so at least take stuff away from it. For example-
Taylor Gibb: You're losing if you're not learning. I like that.
PJ Bruno: ... Two things I found, just call it research, one is that apparently I look different in every picture I own.
Taylor Gibb: Great.
PJ Bruno: So, apparently I look different in every photo, one, and two, girls who own cats are less likely to own guns than girls who have dogs.
Taylor Gibb: That's interesting because you would think it's a little utilitarian.
PJ Bruno: I'm a dog-
Jordan: Have you met a lot of gun-wielding dog owners in New York?
PJ Bruno: Actually, I don't run into them personally. I'm just telling you from the series of photos I see-
Jordan: Oh, interesting.
PJ Bruno: ... There's cat girls, and I'm like, “Cool. I like you. I'm allergic to cats, though, so sorry,” and then girls... Not all dog girls have guns, but there are way more dog girls that have guns than cat girls.
Jordan: I will tell you a learning that I... I have two learnings. One, if you are taking a mirror selfie in a restroom, I'm probably not going to swipe right on you.
PJ Bruno: Well, you're married, but...
Jordan: Thank you very much. Tristan, I am not swiping.
Taylor Gibb: She might be researching, PJ.
PJ Bruno: Oh, you're doing research. That's right.
Jordan: Absolute research. But no, I also realized there's a game of which person are you in this picture that I love to play, where it's like you see a group, and you're like, oh, I really hope you're the second from the right, and then there's that two second of anticipation of swiping to the next picture and being like, oh, no, you are the guy on the left, or you're the one in the back that's just at the very end of the photo. It's such a fun game because it's so exhilarating.
Taylor Gibb: He's the guy photo bombing in the background.
Jordan: Yes. Yeah. No, it's my favorite part. Who are you? Which on are you?
Taylor Gibb: Who are you?
PJ Bruno: Oh, my gosh.
Taylor Gibb: Speaking of who are you, one thing I forgot to ask that I loved to hear is, I believe back in the day of OkCupid, maybe still, you would have a screen name that you'd have to put out there. Right?
Jordan: Oh, gosh. Yes.
Taylor Gibb: I want to hear about your screen name, Jordan. I almost forgot to ask.
Jordan: Oh, my gosh. I'm going to be giving you all my secrets now.
Taylor Gibb: That's what this is about.
Jordan: So, my screen name, true story, I made a profile and a password, so I made a username and a password, and it sat for six months because I was too mortified, this was five, six years ago, to actually add pictures and meet someone online. My username is [Rockjock3213].
Taylor Gibb: [Rockjock], like rock climbing?
Jordan: Some people would reach out about that.
PJ Bruno: I thought it was like rock show.
Jordan: So, mine's Rockjock, [J-hock 00:11:34]. It's a KU slang. I'm from Kansas, so it was important to me that I mentioned the fact that I love Kansas, I love sports, and 3213 are two of my lucky numbers.
PJ Bruno: So, say it again, one more time.
Jordan: Oh, gosh.
Taylor Gibb: We'd love to look this up. Everybody on the air, take notes.
PJ Bruno: Sounds like a total babe. I mean-
Taylor Gibb: I love it, Rockjock. Slide into those DMs.
Jordan: You know, PJ, any other time, if it hadn't been Tristan, you never know.
Taylor Gibb: Just waited a few more years.
Jordan: If you had done OkCupid, because Tinder and Hinge, all that scared me at the time, I wasn't quite ready to delve out of the question, question, question realm.
PJ Bruno: Fair.
Taylor Gibb: Well, that's a good transition, too. Right?
PJ Bruno: Wow. I missed the boat again, it seems.
Taylor Gibb: Well, as always, [Peej], you're one canoe behind, one safety boat behind, but I was going to say, I had a great segue before you so rudely coming off. I was going to say, speaking of Hinge, Tinder, Match.com groups, we do have another little article here that speaks to a somewhere dystopian future of dating, our overlords at Match.com, and good thing or a bad thing, essential, the article says, “Match Group, which operates dating apps like Tinder and OkCupid, completed its acquisition of the seven-year-old app Hinge on Thursday, following its purchase of a majority stake in June 2018.” So, we've got a bit of a monopoly of love on our hands here, which sounds like it would but a great slow jam, but is instead a monopoly of love. PJ, get on writing that.
PJ Bruno: I'm going to do that.
Taylor Gibb: Instead, means that there's one company that's kind of determining at least my friend group's dating lives in 2019. What is your take on it, fellow pundits?
PJ Bruno: I mean, I think I speak for everyone in the room. Monopolies in general are a bad idea. Right?
Taylor Gibb: You always end up throwing the board. I mean-
PJ Bruno: You end up in jail.
Taylor Gibb: ... I was bound to.
PJ Bruno: I don't have a get out free card. Who knows? No. Yeah, I don't like this one bit, and I'm a big fan of Bumble and the whole female-centric thing that... Was it Whitney Wolfe Herd, I think the CEO [crosstalk]
Taylor Gibb: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep, exactly.
Jordan: Previously of Tinder.
PJ Bruno: Exactly. I love everything that she's done with Bumble, and they're staying strong, and they've staved off acquisition from Match Group. No, I don't like big, huge companies just absorbing and acquiring all this stuff, especially the Match CEO I guess was quoted saying, “Every person who's 18, 19, 20 should be on Tinder. We really want to be integrated into people's single social life, especially when they're young,” put the hooks in. Just because, while I said, dating apps can bring you towards a lot of really cool people, and who knows, maybe even the love of your life. I can also make you kind of be detached from society in a certain kind of way. Right? You're looking at your screen all the time. You're easily casting away person, after person, after person. I don't know. That's the thing, is I don't know if it's super good for our psyche, as far as the way that we treat people in general, and I don't know that's an outlandish thing to say.
Jordan: I agree with that in the sense that one thing about choice analysis paralysis is the always consideration of what you didn't choose, so analysis paralysis being the more options you have, the more terrible your choice could be. If you had five versus 20, you could choose a statistically worse option if you had more than 20, things like that, but also, you're going to spend a lot of time thinking about the other 19 options that you didn't choose, which is very similar to dating apps.
PJ Bruno: Totally.
Jordan: I think that this concept that there's always the next person, which is also with these dating apps, their lifecycle, if they do their job, they're losing their audience. It's kind of like a babysitting app.
PJ Bruno: Exactly.
Jordan: If you get the nanny you're looking for, or the before, or the girlfriend, or the partner you've been looking for, you deactivate your profile, you're done with that. The cost of acquisition just got higher. So, for them, they either need to, as you mentioned, hook me back in by always having that in the back of my mind, that there's more option and I should go back and swipe, and I miss the gamification, or they have to buy every other part of their audience, which means this massive acquisition and having this monopoly.
PJ Bruno: I see. That makes sense.
Taylor Gibb: That's brilliant.
Jordan: So, no, it's not ideal. I think that it's changing... It's not just my thought. It's scientifically proven that it's changing the way people date, the way people interact, and I don't necessarily think it's for the best, but I think it's part of the nature of the game that everything is digital, and we want things in the palm of our hand, literally, and we don't necessarily want to have to go out. We're paying for convenience.
Taylor Gibb: That's interesting, and that's a really... It's a good take I think that a lot of people share. I will say, it's also interesting to think about being one of these companies. Right? If your goal at the end of the day is technically to match people up with their perfect other person, but then that means they're off the app. Right?
PJ Bruno: Right.
Taylor Gibb: So, I've posed this to clients before. I work with a few dating apps here at Braze, and I remember going in and saying, “Devil's advocate, if your app works perfectly, you're out of users. You don't have anybody in there. What does that make you feel like?”
PJ Bruno: Right. It's a catch-22.
Taylor Gibb: They said, “Honestly, we want as many marriages, as many people dropping off at the end of this as we possibly can do. When we look through the section of The New York Times, we want to see, 'We met on blank dating app. We met on this dating app,' and that's going to mean that we're really successful.” Now, of course, that's me going in in the moment as an outsider. It could be that there are other things that come from that, but-
Jordan: It's de-stigmatizing it.
Taylor Gibb: Absolutely.
Jordan: The more that you see it's prevalence, that's great. I mean, I'm just going to throw this out there. I would love an app to make friends, because I think it's so easy to meet people with the instance of dating and love, and I think building community, if it's not at your office, or it's not in a friend group that you had from college, or it's not something that's based off of your personal belief system, it's really hard to make friends, and I think that's something that would benefit everybody. I know that Bumble tried to do that, I think, with business.
Taylor Gibb: Bumble BFF.
PJ Bruno: That's right, yeah.
Taylor Gibb: Yeah.
Jordan: Oh, yeah. They did it for business, too. I don't know how... I say this, but also, I met my person online, so I can't give them too much crap because I maybe wouldn't have met him otherwise. We both lived in the same city for six years and had mutual-mutual friends, never met, so I'm very grateful they were able to find the needle in the haystack was looking for.
Taylor Gibb: Most definitely, and there's an app for everything. You've got your Bumble BFF. You've got your Bumble for business. I just heard today about a new app called [Tudder], which is Tinder for cows, and if you're looking to breed your cow-
PJ Bruno: [Exsqueeze] me?
Taylor Gibb: ... You get online, and you find a... On Tudder, you can swipe, say, "This looks like the steer for my particular cow."
PJ Bruno: But how do cows even use apps?
Jordan: Is it the farmer looking for the best lady cow?
Taylor Gibb: I like to think it is just a cow that's swiping over there. He's got his big hoof, and he's like, “Oh, no, no. This will never do.” [crosstalk]
PJ Bruno: What are the pictures of? It's just-
Taylor Gibb: They're of the cows. It's absolutely 100% Tinder, just with cows.
PJ Bruno: Is it like a group of cows, and you have to guess which cow is the one?
Taylor Gibb: Yep, and it's always the shortest cow, isn't it?
PJ Bruno: Exactly.
Taylor Gibb: Always the shortest cow.
PJ Bruno: It's always-
Jordan: Taylor, how did you find this? Did you product hunt this, or is this from experience [crosstalk]
PJ Bruno: This is a good question.
Taylor Gibb: Yeah. You know, we're actually trying to get them in as a client for next year, so thanks so much.
PJ Bruno: Tudder.
Taylor Gibb: I've just been doing Tudder.
PJ Bruno: We got our eye on you.
Taylor Gibb: Look out. We're going to be sending notifications. Is your cow lonely?
PJ Bruno: You know, just real briefly, I want to come back... I love that whole idea because Hinge says designed to be deleted. Right?
Taylor Gibb: Yes.
PJ Bruno: That's their tagline.
Taylor Gibb: That's it.
PJ Bruno: I love that that's their mission and standpoint, is to get everyone to get off of it. I don't really buy it, especially now that they're acquired by Match Group, which is this big, huge, monster Frankenstein company, so I just... My question is, how do you build customer loyalty? Right? It's by building brilliant experiences. Right? So, what does loyalty look like in this industry? How is loyalty fostered in an app like this?
Taylor Gibb: Oh, definitely, and it's funny too because we've got these preferences, but more and more, it's preferences within this Match monopoly. Right? I like OkCupid. I like Hinge. Match says, “That's great. It's all under us. Come on in.” Yeah, fostering loyalty, and then also, there is somewhat distressingly now this price put on things like a super like, or a boost. It's like, not only do I like you, Jordan, but I'm willing to pay an extra $2.00 to show you how much I like you.
Jordan: Listen, that was before my time. That didn't exist back in the day.
Taylor Gibb: Do you think Tristan would've dropped a couple of bucks to say hi to you?
PJ Bruno: $2.00?
Taylor Gibb: $2.00?
Jordan: I think he did pay to be anonymous, so you couldn't see how often he looked at someone's profile. I didn't know that existed, so there might be some people out there that knew I was heavily stalking them.
Taylor Gibb: They're like, “Rockjock?”
Jordan: Oh, my gosh.
Taylor Gibb: Didn't you view my profile 20 times?
Jordan: Okay. This is getting too real. No, but to answer your question, PJ, this is something I actually thought a lot about. As a customer success team, we were doing some workshops, just trying to think about the user lifecycle across different verticals, and we were doing data apps at one point, and this is something that I think is so critical to think of as a marketer, but also as a person, is that it can be an exhilarating experience. I got in at a really good time, I found my person, I got out. It was great. It can be an incredibly lonely experience, especially if you're somebody who is putting yourself out there and being vulnerable, and maybe not getting the number of people interested in you that you'd hoped for, or the quality of people that you'd hoped for. I think that it's imperative that these companies remember that their relationship is with the person using their app, in that when you're the person that's bestowing all these amazing compliments, you can also be incredibly silent unintentionally, and so something that I like to think about is today is Valentine's Day. This can be a really tough day for some people, so use what you have. You have the ability to talk to them. Talk to them and remind them how many people swiped on them in the last year, how many people liked their photo, or how many people did they end up getting to see to build their community, things that you're in control of that aren't necessarily how hot did people think you are, or how many people wanted to go on a date that you said no to, weirdly, vanity metrics. Use what you have at your disposal-
PJ Bruno: Totally.
Taylor Gibb: Literally.
Jordan: ... And truly build a relationship that you can, which can be either the comforter or the cheerleader, or both.
PJ Bruno: So, so well said, Jordan. I love that message to everyone out there. You know, we're in the world of automation, and it's going to make our lives continually easier and easier, but let's not forget, along the way somewhere, we can lose something as well. So, on Valentine's Day, reach out to those loved ones, even if it's over the phone. Try to-
Taylor Gibb: Even if it's in a push notification.
PJ Bruno: Even if it's in a push notification that's triggered in realtime or near realtime. Who's to say?
Jordan: Be good to yourself, too. I think it's a love day. Love can be everything, but love should also point right back at you.
Taylor Gibb: Well, I can't-
Jordan: Getting sentimental there.
Taylor Gibb: That's good. It's Valentine's Day. It's the day to be sappy, and quite honestly, we can end it on that note.
PJ Bruno: I'd love to end it on that note. This has been beautiful, you guys. Happy Valentine's Day to you both-
Taylor Gibb: [crosstalk] Happy Valentine's Day.
PJ Bruno: ... And happy Valentine's Day to all you out there.
Taylor Gibb: All you listeners out there.
PJ Bruno: This is PJ Bruno-
Taylor Gibb: Taylor Gibb.
Jordan: And I'm Jordan.
PJ Bruno: Thanks a lot for coming with us, guys, and take care.