Mijn vriend maakte een PowerPoint om me te pitchen in een kamer vol potentiële datums – en ik vond het eigenlijk leuk

Mijn vriend maakte een PowerPoint om me te pitchen in een kamer vol potentiële datums – en ik vond het eigenlijk leuk


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Most of the people I’ve dated, I met through my phone.

I’m not alone — most couples in the United States now meet on a dating app. There’s a lot of hand-wringing that goes along with that statistic and the thought that dating apps are changing the way we live. It is almost certainly true, but I don’t get bent out of shape about that. Dating apps let you meet people outside your social circle, who you may never have met otherwise. I use them — a lot. 

Even though I’ve welcomed dating apps into my life (and all the potential personal data mining that comes with it), there is something different about meeting someone in person that I cannot deny. Perhaps it should not be “novel” to meet a suitor in real life, but in 2019 it is. I just want a damn meet-cute every once in a while. 

But meeting someone in person is hard. Clubs are crowded with horny people who just want someone to sleep with; your friends’ friends are all coupled up, or worse they’re single and lame. And I doubt anyone has ever met their partner at a goddamn coffee shop, change my mind! That’s why dating apps exist in the first place — to make finding a mate, either for one hour or your entire life, easier. 

They do, however, have a serious downside. Swiping endlessly can leave you feeling sucked into the void, reliant on an algorithm to get you a date. So what is there to do when you, a millennial, are jaded from dating apps, yet can’t seem to meet anyone worthy of you in the outside world?

Kelsey's opening slide

Kelsey’s opening slide

Image: mashable

Enter YouShouldDate, a company that blends Shark Tank, The Bachelor, and Tinder. The concept is simple: Locals pitch their single friend via PowerPoint to a live audience. The presentation is three minutes long, followed by a two-minute Q&A portion. 

A different kind of dating startup

YouShouldDate was born out of the startup culture in Boston, where founders Nancy Zhang and Jackie Li reside. “This idea came about rather naturally as a way to poke fun of this whole startup craze attitude and apply it to dating,” Zhang told me. “Instead of a pitch deck that says ‘fund my startup!’ we thought it would be cheeky and endearing to do one about ‘date my friend!’” 

Zhang and Li were unsure of how their first event, held in Boston, would go over. They said that if they did not receive enough applications to present, they would get their friends to do it. But instead, they received over 600 applications for 10 slots. The response encouraged them to not only produce more events, but to take it to other cities. 

I first learned about YouShouldDate from a New York Times story where it was referred to its first iteration, DateMyFriend. (They had to change it due to a trademark.) As soon as I saw they would be in Brooklyn on a Wednesday in November, I recruited my best friend Kelsey, who prefers to only go by her first name, to pitch me. 

I wanted to see if I could get a date without an app — or a sloppy club night. I wasn’t the only one. Scott Moore, who was also pitched that night, hadn’t found success on apps in the year he’s been in the states from Australia. He said he was “interested to explore how to meet people nowadays that isn’t on an app and isn’t creepily approaching them at a loud bar when you’re both 6 drinks deep.”

Kelsey is an outstanding wingwoman, and prides herself as such. “The two things I love in this world more than anything else are my friends and working way too hard on PowerPoints,” she said. “This event was the perfect combination of the two.”

She was not the only one with a deep desire to gas friends up via PowerPoint. “Unfortunately (in this case), I am a homosexual, so I couldn’t date James myself,” said Eliza Wellington, who pitched her friend James Ellis. “So being the obsessive friend I am, I wanted to play a hand in finding someone for James.” Wellington commented that some people do not present themselves well — so it’s up to their friends, who see them more objectively, to help them shine. 

What the author has to offer

What the author has to offer

Image: mashable

The first step was the application: a long Google Form that Kelsey graciously filled out. She had to write out sample slides in addition to telling the co-founders a little information about us. A few days later, we found out we were accepted via email and celebrated — and then Kelsey got to work creating the slides. I soon realized that even though I was the one being pitched, she took on the brunt of the work. This was as much a friendship bonding experience as it was about getting a date. 

The moment of truth

The night of the show, we arrived early to the venue — Littlefield in Gowanus, Brooklyn, a well-known spot for comedy shows. Within five minutes of entering, I ordered the “That Guy,” a Fireball shot and Miller High Life; feel free to judge me, for I am that guy. I pretty much drank until the event began. As a writer, I’m used to being in front of a screen, not on a stage. The room filled quickly, soon becoming standing-room-only, and my anxiety grew. Thankfully, Kelsey and I were the second-to-last to present. 

Perhaps it was the beer-shot combos, perhaps it was all the relentless wingman/woman(person)ing, but the energy of the room was as high as a packed bar on a Friday night. “It became apparent that everyone in attendance was there for the same reason — they genuinely wanted to meet other people,” said Hillary Soletic, who pitched her friend Kayla Zimmerman. “The crowd was warm and supportive and made what could have been a very awkward experience into one of pure fun.”

The author's interests

The author’s interests

Image: mashable

Then it was time for our presentation. Kelsey showed me the slides beforehand because she knew I (a Cancer) would burst into tears upon getting praised via PowerPoint. During the Q&A portion, I was asked silly questions about topics such as my job as a sex and relationships reporter and my love of HBO content. 

Even after the event was over, the room still buzzed with energy. The conversation flowed between the presenters and the audience. “James and I both got hit on, which was great! James is going to drinks this weekend and is inviting a girl he met at the event, a few other pitchers, pitchees and potential love interests will also be joining him,” Wellingon told me.

Competitive analysis between the author and women on various dating apps

Competitive analysis between the author and women on various dating apps

Image: mashable

“I was shocked by how well it went — not only did people take a personal interest in Anna, but a ton of people came up to us after the show to say the kindest things about our relationship,” Kelsey said.

Moore had a similar experience. “It was a really great night,” he said. “Got to speak to several great people and I’m sure a date will come out of it.”

I felt the enthusiasm of the room and connections being made.

YouShouldDate is planning to continue events in New York, Boston, and Seattle, and they’re hoping to expand — all while maintaining their day jobs. “We will both have to juggle this with our full-time jobs at our respective startups, so I’m really trying to experiment with how to efficiently scale up,” Zhang said. “That’ll be our main challenge in 2020.” She said that they consistently get interest to host YouShouldDate events in other cities, and the presence of similar events like Tinder Disrupt in San Francisco show that there’s a market for these shows. 

Kelsey and I mingled for a bit afterwards, but went down the street for some much-needed food to soak up all the drinks. While we did not stick it out until the very end, I felt the enthusiasm of the room and connections being made. Kelsey told me the event was more a celebration of friendship than anything, and I agree. 

It was exciting to watch the show and the subsequent payoff — people actually sticking around to get to know each other. I even got someone’s number. As Kelsey and I walked out of the venue, I realized: maybe I don’t need an app — or even a pitch deck — to get a date after all. 

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