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

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? :))

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.

For Girls:5 EASY steps to make men fall in love with you

When you are on a first date and you really like this guy, it’s pretty hard to hide your feelings. But it’s also important that you make him fall in love with you as well.

 

Here’s 5 easy steps you can use to make him get infatuated with you.

[Caveat: You will have to be a little bit manipulative (I would prefer the word “strategic”)!]

 

Image caption: Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoetnet/4850787275/)

 

 

1. Compliment him (but don’t lie)!

You know the book called “Compliments Make Even Whales Dance”? On a first date, you can make him happy by complimenting him on…pretty much anything you can find! His outfit, cute smile, great sense of humor, great voice, his awesome career or educational background, his awesome body…

(Caveat: You shouldn’t be lying when you’re complimenting your date. For example, if his clothes are shabby and seem like he bought them 10 years ago, you shouldn’t say his outfit looks amazing. He will notice that you don’t mean it!)


2. On a first date, wear sexy clothes (but not too showy)!

Wear something cute and girly, but add some sexiness to it. For instance, you can wear a cute blouse that emphasizes your narrow waist, or match it up with blue or black jeans that emphasize your curvy bust. Anything too showy is not very good on a first date if you are looking for a long-term relationship.

 

3. Develop active listening skills.

When he talks, show that you actually “care” and are curious to get to know more about him. Try leaning toward him to show that you’re listening, or at least nod often! A small change can really help boost your chance of being asked out for a second date!


4. Let him know you’re “compatible” with him.

If he likes to eat delicious food and you happen to be a good cook, then let him know (with enthusiasm)! Finding common interests and talking about them (and sharing your stories about them) will make the conversation much more engaging and fun!


5. Don’t call him first, but answer sincerely when he calls.

Be hard to get. Wait till he calls you and asks you out for a second date. But when you answer his call, you should show that you’re happy to hear back from him again (but don’t be too excited), implying that you had a lot of fun on the first date!

 

Easy, right? What are your strategies to make guys fall in love with you? I would love to hear from you!

For Men: 5 signs she’s just not that into you. oops!

There seem to be many articles out there talking about some possible signs which tell you that he’s NOT really into you. There’s even a movie called “He’s just not that into you” (good movie, by the way) which tells you all the signs which signal that he’s not really into you. I would like to share the “female” version of it for men because men seem to have a hard time figuring out whether their crush is interested in them.

 

 

1. No eye contacts

She’s not really listening well and seems to be thinking of “something else” when you speak. She seems to be avoiding making eye contact with you on a date. Bad sign! If she likes you, she will ask you a lot of questions and listen very carefully to get an idea of who you are.

 

2. Texting…late

She doesn’t answer your texts quickly. If you text her at 1:00 p.m. and she texts you back at night, it may be a sign that she is not that interested in you.

 

3. Her outfit sucks

On a second or third date, if she wears comfy outfits like sweatpants or school hoodies, or wears ZERO makeup, this may be a sign that she doesn’t really care about how she looks in front of you. If she is into you, she will try to wear something sexy or cute and wear makeup.

 

4. Acting like a guy

If she suddenly starts acting like a guy and talks as if she’s talking to a guyfriend, she may have lost an interest in you. If she likes you, she will try to act as demure and girly as possible.

 

5. Saving her $$$ 

She never spends a dime on a first, second, or even a third date. Never buys you a cup of coffee. I may be wrong, but most girls do that if they are “using” you. (They may even already have a boyfriend!)

 

What do you think? Some ways to find out whether she’s into you or not may be to 1) ask her close friends indirectly and see their reactions 2) say romantic things to her and see how she reacts 3) text/call her and see how friendly she replies. If all of these don’t work, just ask her out! Why not? 🙂