3 Food Gifts for your girlfriend that would never disappoint her

What girls like is strikingly different from what guys like. Food is no exception. Women usually like sweeter, more visually appealing food. Let’s get to the point and see what food your gal might like to get!

1. Chocolates 

Who doesn’t like chocolates? Women LOVE chocolates unless they are allergic to them. Chocolates are sweet, just like love. Love and chocolates are like perfect combinations. Get her a box of Godiva or high-end chocolates and she will love them! (One Caveat: Not a wise choice if your girlfriend is losing weight.)

2. Cupcakes

Cupcakes are like competitors to chocolates. They taste even sweeter and look prettier. To women, cupcakes are like handbags in the fashion industry. They are pretty to look at, delicious when eaten, and something they can post on Facebook. Get her a box of cupcakes (delicious ones!) and she will be delighted. Make sure you get them from famous cupcake shops though. When cupcakes don’t taste good, they will have to be thrown away. 😦 Get the prettiest ones.

Tip: Most women like Red Velvet or chocolate cupcakes!!

3. Wine and Cheese

What can be more romantic than wine and cheese? It’s something that you can get for her and enjoy with her. If she’s not familiar with wine, get her a wine or champagne that is sweet, fruit flavored, and not too bitter. Buy some cheese that match perfectly with the wine you bought. Flowers can also be a good match with wine.

Any other food gifts you want to recommend? Please leave a comment!:)

 

Bio: Emily is the marketing director at Funfundate, a social matching game dedicated to connecting people with like-minded singles nearby in a stress-free, fun way. She likes to cook, travel, and read books.

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Launching a new product: 4 Things to Analyze (Case study of a dating industry included)

When you’re thinking about launching a new product, you need to think about 4 things first to make sure that you have a high chance of success.

They are: Industry, Competition, Customer, and Company (including Product).

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(Image credit: economiaefinanza.blogosfere.it)

1. Industry

-Industry lifecycle (is it emerging? mature? declining?)

For instance, in the online dating industry my company is in, it is a mature market and there are lots of small and big players.

-Is the industry growing?

-Is it heavily regulated? Any legal issues?

-What is the barrier to entry and exit?

(The higher the fixed cost, the higher the barrier to entry.)

-What drives this industry? (Is it brands, technology, etc)

For instance, the online dating industry is driven by two things: innovative technology + marketing.

-How profitable is the industry?

2. Competition

-Who are the major players and what market share do they have? Is it monopoly? oligopoly? etc.

For example, in online dating industry, there are about 3 major players which have been around for a decade or so, and they hold 60% market share total.

-Product analysis: any differentiating factors?

-Distribution channels, suppliers, target customers

-pricing strategies

-any substitutions?

3. Customer

-Who’s our target customer? (Segment by channel, by product, region, type)

-Figure out any trends and needs

-Willingness to pay, price elasticity and sensitivity

-Which Distribution channels do they like?

For example, do they want to buy online? on mobile? in the supermarket? in the store?

4. Company/Product

-What are your product’s differentiating factors?

For instance, my product, Funfundate, sends you 2 daily matches and lets you pick which one is hotter, thus gamifying the product and positioning it as “a social matching game” instead of an “online dating service.”

-is it a commodity product or premium? (which affects pricing)

-Pricing- How much would we charge for? What’s our revenue model like?

-Cost of manufacturing/building and distributing the product

-Then, Predict revenue/year

-Then, figure out if you can break-even?

For instance, it costs you $1 million (fixed sum) to build a product, and $500K of variable cost per year. But if you can only make $300K per year given the number of customers you predict and price you set, you cannot break even ($300K<$500K), and this doesn’t even take into account the initial cost of $1 mil.

-Can you finance the product? how?

<Summary>

Do you think your product will be successful in your market? How big is the market size? How competitive is the industry? Can you differentiate? Can you fulfill the needs of your target customers? Is your product expensive or cheap? How can you finance your product?

If you analyze the industry, competition, customer, and company (and its product), you can at least avoid some pitfalls. This analysis alone doesn’t gauge success or failure, but you can get a deep insight into your market and know what you are signing up for. Think strategically and objectively. Don’t fall into a trap of loving your “idea” too much because it can mislead you in determining whether your product will be successful!

 

Bio: Emily is the marketing director at Funfundate, a social matching game dedicated to connecting people with like-minded singles nearby in a stress-free, fun way. She likes to cook, travel, and read books.

 

References: Marc P. Cosentino’s Case in Point, Michael Porter’s Five Forces

[Weekly OMFG] Who would Taylor Swift pick for her next date?

Hmmmm….. I Pick Leo because he was very charming in the Great Gatsby, but after I watch Star Trek, I might change my mind!

I should probably start posting movie reviews. Watching movies is one of my favorite weekend activities. I watch at least one movie a week!

P.S. The Great Gatsby was okay, not as good as a book (No Surprise!), but Leo was really really cute.

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[Weekly OMFG] Who would Taylor Swift pick for her next date?

Leonardo Dicaprio VS. Chris Pine!!

Vote at http://fb.me/1reLYWBso and share your picks with your friends!

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Image Credit: FFD Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/funfundate)

Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

Please note: This article was actually my guest post for The Secrets of Entrepreneurship. The blog has a lot of great contents too, so please go check them out!

Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

Thinking of starting a business? Globally, more and more people are jumping on board to start their own businesses. Unfortunately, a few years later, a majority of entrepreneurs give up their dream venture for various reasons: they can’t find a way to make money or find any investors, the industry is too competitive, or they just can’t get enough traction in the market. However, most entrepreneurs don’t realize that failure typically stems from giving up too “soon.” They don’t see that entrepreneurship is a battle not only with their competitors but also within their inner self. In other words, you have to fight the battle with yourself.

That being said, you would probably have heard many entrepreneurs saying that starting a business involves having to face lots of small and big challenges. Indeed, entrepreneurship requires mind control, optimism, and tenacity. Therefore, it helps if know what entrepreneurship entails before you even write your business plan. Here isa list of five things you need to know before starting your own business.

Five Things to Keep In Mind Before You Start Your Own Business

1.Know the definition of failure in the realm of entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs willingly accept and embrace failure, which is viewed not as an obstacle but as astepping stone to success. However, when you are starting a business for the first time, you might find yourself not being able to cope with failure very well. It does take time to get used to failure, especially if you’ve rarely experienced a major failure before. As an entrepreneur, you need to treat failure more lightly and view it as a mistake that anyone can make. When a mistake is made, most people learn from it and move on, making sure that they won’t make the same mistake again. Likewise, when you fail, what you need to do is to take out a piece of paper, write down a list of reasons why your business failed, and learn how to avoid making the same failure next time. Ask your mentor or other entrepreneurs about how you can improve. If you follow this solution, you won’t waste your precious time and energy blaming yourself or making yourself depressed.

2. Your previous work experience doesn’t really matter.

Your previous work experience can help you in somecases. For instance, when you’re looking to hire someone, you can tap into your network to help you find a talented employee. Your network can introduce you to a journalist, influencer in your market, investor, and so on. However, in most cases, I don’t see how your work experience can make you a better entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship requires different skill-sets because you have to work with scarce resources like a small team, a small office, or a small amount of money. Patience, persistence, and resilience will be more important than anything else. However, ifyou want to work for another company before starting your business, I suggest you work for a start-up company less than 2 years old. Otherwise, you won’t be able to learn much about how entrepreneurship works.

3. Don’t create a product just because “you” need it. 

It’s usually a silly move to create a product or service that “you” want to use, because you may as well be the only one who needs it. Your friends and family might also tell you that it is a good product, but it is still not enough. Your focus should be on your target customers.Talk toyour target audience, observe how they think or live, and find out what they need most. That should be the starting point of your business model. Of course, you need to be passionate about what you are building, but do not build something just because you want it. Build something a lot of people need so that you can make an actual business out of it. Without money flowing in, it is not going to last.

4. Don’t be afraid of soliciting feedback.

It is very important to stay open to people’s feedback and opinions about your business. You need to figure out what people like and don’t like about your product. By doing so, you can simplify your business model and focus more on people’s needs. In addition, share your ideas with as many people as you can, because no one’s going to steal your ideas. Your ideas will also be modified and tweaked based on people’s feedback and reactions.

5. Build a revenue model from Day 1.

Even if you plan to offer your product for free at the beginning, you still need to build a revenue plan from Day 1. Research how your competitors make money and benchmark them. For instance, if you’re building a social game like I did, there can be many ways to monetize the product: virtual currency, virtual gift, subscription, advertising, and so on. You have to think about at least 3 possible options for monetizing your business so that once your business attracts enough users, you can pick one that fits your business best.

(Image credit: Flickr.com)

My guest post link: http://www.entrepreneurshipsecret.com/five-things-to-keep-in-mind-before-you-start-your-own-business/

The Disruption of the Online Dating Industry

As a person working in the online dating industry, I’ve had the opportunity to experience and analyze a lot of popular online and social dating services in the U.S. and abroad. OKCupid, Bang with Friends, How About We, Match.com… there are lots of great online dating services that help you find dates in your region. The concept of online dating closely resembles that of social networking, except people are looking for romance, not friendship. Online dating serves the purpose of bringing people together, putting them into a carefully created “virtual” space, and letting them freely hang out with people they like. Remember when you went clubbing or just chilled out with your friends at a bar, you met new people and became friends with them in 5 minutes, only to forget most of them the next day? Online dating has a similar flow. You meet new people in a virtual space, chat with people you are interested in for a few minutes, and unless there is some chemistry, you don’t contact them or see them again. Just close the chat window, and talk to someone else. There’s even no concern about being rude or mean online, because it’s anonymous.

Every excellent Internet service has one thing in common, and that is, it mimics real life. For instance, Evernote is like an online diary. Coursera is like your online classroom. Facebook is like your online contact book. Online dating is no exception. It’s like your online social “club” where you meet someone just for a drink or for a long-term relationship, depending on what you want.

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The problem is, unlike real social events or clubs where there is a limit on the number of guests, online dating services have no such limit. In other words, there are too many members approaching you and saying hi to you, when all you need is only a few quality matches who are truly compatible with you. When people are given too many choices, they can naturally feel overwhelmed and end up making poor choices. It takes hours to sift through profiles and to chat with them individually, only to choose one or two persons you want to meet for a coffee chat. It’s not only taking your time and energy but also making you stressed out. If the Internet is created to make a human life more convenient, why are people more stressed out by using online dating?

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This question led me to build a casual, social dating game called Funfundate. As the name suggests, it’s built for people to have fun. I wanted a product that is easy to use, social, and stress-free. True, nothing is ever stress-free in this world anymore, but I wanted to “minimize” people’s stress by making algorithms do all of the works for humans. Isn’t that what the algorithms are supposed to do anyway? And of course, I tried to make it resemble real life dating as closely as possible. It’s a web service, not an iOS or Android app, and we’re on a testing phase to figure out what people “need” and what they don’t need. Since FFD lets you sign up via Facebook, registration takes only a few seconds. You don’t need to fill out your profile information (unless you want to fill out optional questions like truth or dare.) Plus, it’s FREE to sign up and use! 🙂

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And then, something magical happens. It gets you two quality matches a day, from which you can anonymously pick one. (Your matches would live nearby your region.) We call it as a “Pick-who’s-hotter” game. A hotter match would be a person who is closer to your type. Only two choices a day for each member. Not one, not three, not tens or hundreds. If there is a mutual interest, a match is made, and you can chat with your match for free within our platform and then you two can meet up! Matching gets updated every 24 hour, and you can invite your Facebook friends over to play with you.

Online dating has been used by over 40 million people in the U.S. alone (data source: Pew Research Center). The industry is being disrupted by new, innovative platforms that embrace social, intuitive, stress-free, casual approaches to dating. It will be interesting to see how old players will respond to this disruption stage and how new players will shake up the industry in the future. (Innovation is always fun to watch, isn’t it? :))

How to Recover Trust Issues after Your Boyfriend Cheated.

It seems like a globally pertinent topic when we discuss why men cheat and how women can get over it. It applies to men and women all over the world, regardless of ethnicity, race, wealth, and background. We see men cheating on their lovely, amazing girlfriends all the time.

 

If this is your first time your boyfriend cheated on you, it could be quite a tragic experience and hurt your feelings tremendously. You would certainly be angry that a person you trusted betrayed you when you did nothing but to care for him and love him deeply.

 

I assume you’ve made one of the two choices after the incident: either break up with him or give him another chance.

 

image caption: flickr

If you broke up with him, great, you don’t need to read the rest of this post, because you can just go ahead and find a better person. In some cases though, women decide to forgive a cheating boyfriend and give him a second chance because they love him so deeply already. (I strongly advise not to give him a “third” chance. If your boyfriend cheats on you twice, that means he doesn’t regret what he’s done to you and will even get more skillful at cheating next time he sees an opportunity.)

 

Even if you forgive your boyfriend, it’s difficult to forgive him quickly at the beginning. It would take time for him to earn your trust back. While you and your boyfriend would be trying hard to make it work, you would have trust issues that make it hard for you to maintain a healthy relationship with him.

 

Here are some questions you are likely to ask yourself when you’re having a trust issue:

  • What if he cheats again? 
  • Should I cheat too?
  • Do I need a back-up (in case he cheats again)?
  • Do I still love him after everything that’s happened?
  • Why did he cheat on me? What did I do wrong?
  • What’s special about this woman he flirted with that made him cheat?
  • How far did their relationship “really” go?
  • I think he didn’t tell me the whole story when he confessed me about the cheating incident. There must be more!! 
  • Did he sleep with her?
  • Did they have a secret trip together?
  • Did they do what we did together?
  • Should I meet her in person and ask her what really happened?

The list goes on and on. Panic and overreaction won’t subside anytime soon.

 

But there is hope! I’ve heard many stories of women who became happy again or even got happier with their boyfriend after the cheating incident. Once you cope with your trust issues, your relationship with your boyfriend can become stronger.

 

How to cope with your trust issues:

  • Stop asking the questions I listed above. Whether they slept together or had a secret trip together doesn’t matter! What’s past is past, he regrets what he’s done, and you’ve already decided to give him a second chance. So, stop asking questions that will only make you unhappy. Instead, start making a list of how you want your boyfriend to change in the future. Give him the list and give him some time to change.
  • Ask your boyfriend what specifically he thinks he did wrong. By making him talk about it, he will start to realize what not to do next time.
  • Ask your boyfriend how he would react if you cheated on him in the exact same way. Put him in your shoes!
  • This works like a charm: Make him call his cheating partner right in front of you, and make him confess the truth, how bastard and stupid he was, how much he wants to end this, and how much he loves his real girlfriend. And he tells her never to contact him again. Then, hang up the phone and erase her number and all histories between him and her on his phone and computer.
  • Ask yourself why the cheating incident happened. Sometimes, men cheat because their girlfriend din’t spend enough time with them, din’t care for him that much, avoided any physical contacts with him, looked down on him, and so on. We all want to be loved by someone we love. Give and take!
  • If you gained a lot of pounds after you started seeing him, and your hair and makeup look awful, that’s a bad sign. Lever give up your physical attractiveness just because you found the right guy! Remember how pretty you were in the first date with him?
  • Think optimistically. Half of the people on the planet are men. You can give him another chance and if things don’t work out well, you can just find another one.
  • HOW? If you are not ready to attend social events or hire a matchmaker, then online dating sites could help you out. There is a significantly greater number of men than women at online dating sites. This means if your boyfriend cheats on you again, you can just join online dating sites and get matched very easily the next day.
  • Hang out with your friends more often. Talk to them about what you’ve been going through. Talking to your friends can really help, rather than keeping it inside. Your friends can tell from your sad face anyway.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comment lines and tell us how you coped with the cheating incident! Women need to stay strong and not be the weaker one in a relationship.

Who should pay for a date? Mystery of Gender Equality and Dating Bills

Who should pay for a date? Mystery of Gender Equality and Dating Bills

 There have been some controversies concerning the question of “who should pay for a first date?” This question becomes more complicated as the issue of gender equality, income difference, and feminism come in. Feminists (or women in general) claim that men and women are equal, especially with regards to the opportunities in career and education, yet women still want some traditional perks, like men opening the door for them and so on. Men would complain and say “what the hell? You can’t have it all!” Either choose gender equality or traditional courtship. If you want both, then it would be unfair for men!

This question intrigued me and led me to think about whether the whole dating payment system is flawed. If we think rationally (and objectively) about this issue, why in the world should men still pay for a first date when women support gender equality? It’s quite ironic! Well, even though the society has changed rapidly, some things still remain unchanged. For instance, you may think that the world has changed and gender equality has been accomplished, at least in advanced countries like USA and UK. Really? If you have read Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In”, you will know that women still have a long way to go. Despite various systems that support women in career and education, a majority of women still live in a traditional way- in order words, staying at home with their children and not working to support their family- waiting for their husbands or husband-to-be to pay for all the bills. It is still a global phenomenon that most women quit their jobs once they give birth to a child. Things are changing rapidly, and more and more women participate in a labor market, but there are still many more barriers for women than for men.

What does this imply for dating? Well, in my opinion, unless the society changes so that gender equality is truly achieved, women will still want men to pay for the first few dates! Good news for men is, women are willing to pay once they are in a committed relationship or once they’ve gone on a date with their dates a few times. Or, even during a first date, if men pay for dinner, women will pay for coffee or for whatever their next date plan is. Women still do want to look polite and show that they are not “using” him per se, and they will pay when it’s the “right time” for them.

The reality is, asking women to go dutch on a first date is a huge turn-off for women. It’s just weird, isn’t it? Women will say “no problem; let’s split the bill” with a (fake) smile, but unless they fall in love with you at first sight, they won’t answer your text ever again. Think about it. There are plenty of men who would like to take your date for dinner. Unless you are significantly better off than your “competitors,” she is unlikely to choose you in the end! Maybe she will give you a second chance, but she will still look for guys who are more “gentle” and who can show that they have a steady income.

The exception – probably the only exception- is when women are much older than men. Older women are willing to suggest paying for dates first, especially if their dates are students (or looking for a job). Indeed, there seem to be many men who specifically look for (or intentionally target) older women because they pay for dates more often and they “take good care of” their men. But, even if you are dating older women, I still recommend you to offer to pay for a first date because it just shows that you see her as a woman (not a mom), are into her and perhaps want to see her again! Most women intuitively think that it is a “sign” that men like them when men willingly and happily pay for dates first.

So, advice for men: don’t blame women for not picking up their wallet! Rather, blame the society, which is still working to “fix” the problem of gender inequality. Women will gladly pay later, that is if they like you, either by paying for dates at a later time or by preparing a nice dinner for you at her house. At least credit card companies are on your side, helping you pay for dates in advance and letting you pay back later. And for a first date, you don’t have to take women to a very expensive restaurant for dinner (unless you are wealthy or you can afford it.) Women care less about the quality of food or the mood of the restaurant than about whether their date is their type or whether the chemistry is there.