Love in the Time of Algorithms
Just because you spend a startling slice of your waking life glued to a screen doesn’t mean you want a computer making complex decisions for you–particularly when it comes to your love life. Most dating enterprises operate upon sophisticated algorithms designed to match people with similar interests, but what’s lost in that digital approach is the ineffable human aspect to matchmaking, someone to look you both in the eye and make an informed match that will send so many sparks flying you’ll feel like you’re in an animated GIF posted to a teen girl’s Tumblr.
Celebrated Elle advice columnist and former “Saturday Night Live” writer, E. Jean Carroll is kind of a riot. Or so Betabeat discovered when we called up the 69-year-old author and serial Internet entrepreneur last night to talk startups as she was “having my wine.” Maybe it’s the red hair or the emphatic voice modulation, but she sorta sounded like a sultrier Carol Burnett.
E. Jean’s first startup—2002’s GreatBoyfriends.com, which let women recommend a good catch they were willing to throw back—was purchased by The Knot in 2005. Then came the ill-fated Facebook spoof called Catch27.com that let you make online trading cards of yourself and trade your friends for hotter friends. Last year there was FLAAB, where users made a bet to see if they could lose weight and paid up if they failed.
A week ago, she launched a new dating venture called Tawkify that forgoes online profiles for a brief questionnaire, photo, and a chance to let E. Jean—personally!—set you up for a blind phone date. No surprise to members of the New York Tech Meetup list-serve who were recently treated to a lively back-and-forth when E. Jean requested help getting good men to sign up.