Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What Not to Do on a First Date

We’ve all been there. You meet someone who is so attractive you’ve conveniently already named your babies before you’ve even gone on a first date. This eagerness translates into social awkwardness in front of the man/woman of your dreams. Here’s a quick guide to make sure you don’t commit any first date faux pas.

Don’t talk about your ex. Just don’t do it. First impressions are everything and talking about your ex on the first date gives off the impression that you aren’t over your previous lover and that you may have some emotional baggage there. In addition, your date doesn’t want to feel like he/she is being compared to anyone else.

Don’t try to add them on any social media websites while you’re with them. It’s great that you want to be as connected as possible. But as we’ve talked about previously in our “Dating in the Age ofSocial Media” post, sometimes it’s better to keep it mysterious.

Don’t make overly sexual suggestions. Unless you’re just looking for a casual hookup, a lot of ladies will be put off by an overly aggressive approach if they’re looking for love.

Don’t stare creepily. Eye contact is great and will often form a greater sense of intimacy, but make sure your gaze is more playful and less intense.

Don’t ask a million questions. It’s great that you’re interested in getting to know who they are, but make sure it doesn’t feel like a job interview for them.

Don’t be coy. Be upfront and honest. It’s scary putting yourself out there, but sometimes you need to take the greatest risks to reap the greatest awards.

Don’t look like a slob. First impressions go a long way and an ironed shirt or a nice casual dress can do wonders for someone’s perception of you.

Don’t constantly check your phone. In the digital age, we’re glued to our smart phones but while you’re on a date, show them that you value their time by not wasting it checking your Facebook feed constantly or looking at snapchats of animals.

There you have it, folks. Now, go out there and put these rules into practice on a date from HowAboutaDate.com.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dating In The Age Of Social Media

You’ve finally met someone you really, really like. You’ve hit it off, you’ve gone on a few dates, and now you’re stressing about whether or not to Facebook friend her/him. What about when you’re already friends on Facebook and now you’re worried about how many Instagram pictures you should like, or if you should retweet all of her/his funny tweets. Or what about when you’re dating, and there’s finally some pressure to make things “Facebook official.”

We are more connected than ever online, so how do you keep that connection from getting in the way of your relationship?

A word of wisdom: Keep in mind that just because you can see everything your new love interest does online, from the burger they had for lunch to their thoughts on the movie they saw last night, it might feel like you know them so much better, but truly, it doesn’t make you closer in real life. It’s unbelievably easy to rush into relationships because of social media, but in real life, your relationship is only moving as fast as you are when you’re physically around each other. Don’t assume you know your new partner better than you do because of their social media presence.

Now, how long should you wait before taking big social media steps? It really depends on the situation. Here are a few examples of timelines:

You met them on a dating website but haven’t met them in person? Don’t add them. If the date doesn’t go well, you run the risk of spending the next few months cringing at every status update they make about going to the gym. 

You’ve gone on one date? Nope, still not time to add them. Discuss becoming friends on Facebook before doing so. That is a step in modern day relationships that couples need to consider.

If you’ve taken the Facebook plunge, it’s safe to take the Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram leaps as well. 

It’s difficult to tow the line between liking your partner’s pictures and liking too many of your partner’s pictures. Don’t seem too overwhelming by liking every single one of their statuses and tweets and pictures or your interest will begin to seem less genuine or frankly, pretty annoying. Here’s the standard I hold my partner’s statuses to: I like what I genuinely like. If it doesn’t interest me, there’s no harm in passing. I expect the same from her. Don’t accuse them of ignoring you for not liking one out of your seven selfies of the day.

As a quick sidenote, I’d also like to add that you shouldn’t post pictures of yourself being the cutest couple ever all of the time. Feel free to break this rule, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when your friends start commenting “STOP IT” under the thirtieth picture of your picnic in the park together.

At the end of the day, it’s just social media. Dating in the age of social media has the tendency to make us forget our priorities. Do you genuinely like your new person and enjoy spending time with them? That’s awesome and rare. Appreciate it and don’t let dating in the digital age ruin it. 

-Sarah Hansen, HowAboutADate.com Guest Blogger

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dao’s Journal – Sun Dec 8, 2013

Advice for Beginning Entrepreneurs
These last two weeks, several people came to me asking for advice on starting their own business.  Funny, I never thought I would be in this position where others would be asking me for this kind of advice.  My longtime friend, Kevin, in particular had some very specific questions.  He’s an extremely talented guy.  He’s software engineer who took two years off to pursue his passion in comedy and acting.  But he burnt out and ran out of savings and went back to a corporate job.  He wants to try again very soon, maybe with a podcast this time, and he doesn’t want to end back at a corporate job.  This was some of the advice I gave him.
Have a business plan.  Like so many people, I never thought I needed a business plan.  But I was wrong.  I won’t go into the many details but my advice: if you don’t take the time to write the business plan, don’t start the business.  97% of all startups fail.  To bet those odds, you need a plan.  There are lots of free or inexpensive resources for small business like SCORE.org.  This is the San Francisco chapter: http://sanfrancisco.score.org/  
Manage your time.  Most people don’t recognize that they are not managing their time well and/or they find it hard to do so.  My #1 advice is to prioritize and simplify.  If you’re working on multiple businesses or projects, choose one.  If your time is divided, your projects won’t get the full attention it needs to grow as quickly and successfully as it can.  Then you’re more likely to lose focus and lose motivation.  Focus your time and energy on one project.  Set milestones and create a plan to get you there.  
Work smarter, not harder.  That means find good talented people to help you.  A great piece of advice that I received from a friend who is a successful Venture Capitalist said, “I never got rich doing everything myself.  It wasn’t until I started hiring help that my business grew.”  Of course, having the money to pay for the best talent is ideal, but few of us can afford that.  I’m bootstrapping my own startup and cannot afford top talent.  But event bootstrap, I have been able to find very good talent at reasonable rates and even people who can work part-time.  It’s takes more work and a bit of luck to find such talent, but it’s doable. 
Also, know that you will make mistakes.  Start small (i.e. just hire a few people at first, and maybe part-time), learn from your mistakes and figure out what exactly jobs/tasks you need to do for your business and what qualifications are best suited for those jobs.  Note: sometimes interns are not the best resources.  When it takes more of your time and effort to train and/or oversee a person than what they are producing, then it is actually costing you more than the price of an experienced professional who knows exactly what to do and how to do it. 
Stay motivated.  Yes, you will burn out, and the harder you work the more you will burn out.  There have been numerous times when I wanted to throw in the towel myself.  My best advice is to try to see the signs before you reach the breaking point.  Take some time off; for example, take one day a week and try not to do any work for that entire day.  Try to keep a balance life style with exercise, regular meals, and some social time with your friends.   Manage your stress.   Collaborate and/or work with others.  And above all, know that you’re doing your own business because you want to, because you choose to.  If you feel like quitting, remind yourself why you started. 
All this advice aside, you just have to do it.  Do your due diligence and plan as much as you can.  Then take a deep breath and jump into the water.  Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them and adjust.  You will make a lot of adjustments.  Start small and work your way up.  Listen to everyone’s advice but only implement what is best for you – some advice can lead you astray.  Prioritize your tasks.  Hire help when you need it; don’t try to do everything yourself.  Remember to balance your life with exercise, down time, and friends.  Best of luck on your adventure!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fun First Date Activities for the Holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching making this season the perfect time to start going on amazing first dates! Have you wanted to ask that special lady out, or have you had your eye on the man/woman of your dreams for a couple weeks now? If so, now is the time to go on that first date with him/her. The holiday season affords individuals looking to have a good time a ton of exciting and unique activities to do. The food is spectacular, there are lights as far as the eye can see, and there is a remarkable feeling of love and laughter wafting in the distance. Below are a few suggestions for first date activities during the holidays that are sure to put a smile on both you and your date's face!

1. Amusement Park
The holiday season is the best time to go to the amusement park. Of course, amusement parks are entertaining year-round, and they are very popular during the summer, but there's nothing quite like going to an amusement park during the holidays. The majority of amusement parks gussy their premises up for the holiday season. There are decorations like trees and lights that really make you feel the holiday cheer wafting through the air. Some amusement parks even offer special holiday shows and events. The best part about visiting an amusement park during the holiday season is the lack of insanely busy crowds. So the next time you are looking for the best first date activity, look no further than your favorite amusement park. 

2. Ice Skating Rink
The ice skating rink is romantic, fun, and also a little adventurous, which is perfect for a first date. Ice skating is just right for a first date because the rink gives people something exciting to do while they get to know each other better in an open environment that has no pressure. In addition, the ice skating rink is a healthy and active way to spend a Friday or Saturday night skating away. It has been shown to burn tons of calories, which is ever so vital during these holidays jam packed with tasty food, food, and more food galore. And, believe me, your date will thank you for your unique date idea if you take them to the ice skating rink since it is playful, unexpected and fun. So, go to the ice rink and get 10 points for your original and fun date idea. 

3. The Nutcracker
There is no other show on earth as quintessentially Christmas as the "The Nutcracker." Not only is it festive, your date will be impressed about being taken to a ballet on the first date. After the show, remember to take him/her out for drinks and always keep your pinky raised when you drink to continue showing how classy you are. In all seriousness, "The Nutcracker" is a timeless classic that has been reproduced by every renowned ballet company in the world for its imaginative plot and beautifully intricate dance moves executed brilliantly. And once you've finished watching the show, you will have "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" stuck in your head for days to push you through the holidays feeling extra that Christmas cheer. 

Guest Blogger 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dao's Journal – Sat Nov 23, 2013

Yesterday, I gave a product demo of my website, HowAboutADate.com, at one of the Bay Area's largest entrepreneur Meetup groups with over 12,000 members.  My strategy was trifold.  First, this demo could bring me investors; second, it could bring me business partners, and most of all, I thought it could bring a lot of visibility and get me a large number of new members.   It seemed very promising, but as it turned out, I got very little conversion from the event, no investors came out, and there was no one really looking for startups to join.  They were all struggling entrepreneurs, like me, with their own product or service wanting to promote it to others.

It seemed like a total waste but what I did gain from the event was (1) presentation and public speaking practice, which I do need to work on (especially when it comes to my nerves in front of a large crowd), and (2) I did meet one gentleman who may able to help me take my business to the next level.  He actually started by making a recommendation (that sounded like a criticism in my ears) on how to make my presentation better.  I didn't give him much credit at first because everyone else in the audience disagreed with him and liked my presentation very much.

Later in the evening after all the presenters were done, he came up to me and said that my presentation was the best of the evening, and probably one of the best from the entire Meetup group.  I was very surprised to hear that from him after his "criticism."   He said that he definitely saw potential in my business, and that many of the other guys have great passion but most likely will be one of the 97% of startups that fail.  This is probably true.  I think the main difference was that they were all engineers who had a great idea and just went ahead and built what they dreamed.  But, they did not take the time to do the market research, competitor analysis, determining of their value proposition, estimation of cost and expected growth, and had no idea how they were going to bring their product to market, etc.  In layman's terms, they did not have a proper business plan.  Perhaps they were at that event to find investors or partners to wear the business hat for them.  Unfortunately, investors see hundreds of demos and will dismiss you if you don't have everything spelled out for them.

Anyway, this gentleman was actually a business coach who consults CEO's.  His recommendation to me about my presentation was that I not use my commercial to explain the product, but do it myself by defining the problem, then offering a unique solution and value proposition; this is the traditional way of presenting to investors.  I actually have the full 10-minute slide deck that I put together a year ago with all the industry research, competitor analysis, financial planning, growth estimates, etc.  It was a lot of work, but for this presentation I had minimized it because the audience was a mixed crowd.  No one there was an investor and they would have been bored with the full "investor" slide deck.  He recommended that I ignore the masses and give the presentation for the audience I want, because you never know who is in the audience – it only takes one person, the right person.

He did make a very good point and I will remember it next time. If my sole purpose was to seek funding, I think I made the right choice when it comes to which slide deck to use for this presentation.  I think I had a good balance of promoting and demoing the website and discussing the investments potential as well.   First, I started with the commercial to capture everyone's attention – it was funny and explained the website well. Second, I went into a quick demo of the website, focusing on demonstrating the responsive design (and how it eliminates the need to build different applications for web, iPhone and Android).  I also demonstrated the beauty and simplicity of the design of the website and its focus on the date/activity versus profiles.  Third, I concluded with showing industry research, singles demographics, a graph of my competitors, my growth roadmap/funding requirements (for investors), and the team I am hoping to build.  The presentation went extremely well.  It was well prepared and many of the attendees complimented me on it.

So, all in all, it was a very good validation of my product/service and what I'm doing.  Except for my shaky nervous voice, I was very pleased with my presentation.   Public speaking makes me nervous, but I know that with practice, I'll get better.  I did give my card to the "business coach / CEO consultant" so we'll see…

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dao's Journal - Sat Nov 16, 2013

Today is the day after my big Launch Party.  I'm a little hungover and very exhausted (of course). The party was great, but I'm actually glad that it's over.  It was so much work and I'm actually not a big party person anymore.  Everything went very smoothly.  We had ample volunteers and my events coordinator, Arthur, managed everything so that I could focus on meeting, greeting and talking to everyone.  So many of my friends from out Meetup group showed up, as well as my personal friends and those I've worked with.  They all came out to support and congratulate me.  Wow, it wasn't up until that point that I realized how much I had accomplished.    

I've been working so hard for so long.  I had started coding the new website even before the design of the layout was completed.  I’ve had time for very little else as I’ve been working weeknights and weekends since February. Not to mention the fact that something always came up that required my time and delayed development.  After a strong recommendation from Greg, the senior web developer coding the frontend for me, I made the decision to implement Responsive Design.  It's a newer development methodology where you develop one website that could “respond” to the size of the browser and adjust itself accordingly.  Basically, it replaces the need to develop separate apps for mobile devices and tablets, but it also added 3 months of development time!  

It seemed like development would never end.  And I was so exhausted.  There were numerous times when I just wanted to quit and throw in the towel.  Even now, there are so many different devices and browsers, each with its own bugs.  Most are minor but some of them are critical and imped the functionally of the web app. UGH!   I shouldn’t despair, there will always be something to fix and/or improve upon.   It was hard, but I finally pulled myself out of the trenches, called a code freeze, hired a QA tester and set a hard date for the Launch of the new website. 

It's been a long and difficult journey (since Feb 2011 when I first got the idea), but now I have an amazing new website and I've reached critical mass (a goal set at 1000 members).  And most importantly, the website is active!  People are posting dates and communicating with one another.  It feels like HowAboutADate.com is just starting to take off, maybe an inch off the ground (of a looooong run way).   It feels like I've finally accomplished something after so long. I know that this is still just the beginning; there's an even longer road ahead of me.  But for now, I'm going to just take a little breather.   At the Launch Party, Kevin1 told me to take time out every once in a while to look at everything I've done, and to really feel proud of all that I've accomplished and to feel good about it; words of wisdom that’s often forgotten when you've been down in the trenches for so long.

Two hours into the party, when it was time to give my speech, I was actually quite calm even though I hate public speaking and usually get very nervous.  The speech went very well; I surprised myself.  The commercial was played at the beginning to get everyone's attention and then again at the end of the speech.  I made sure to thank everyone, especially Kevin and Sean2 who went above and beyond and delivered fantastic results.  I thanked all of our Meetup members and early adopters (the first 1,000 member who had signed up on our old website), and give a little history about the company.  Of course, I made sure to give the elevator pitch and ended with a “call to action” – sign up and post a date on HowAboutADate.com!  

The Launch Party was fantastic; it represented a huge milestone and the beginning of a whole new chapter for the company. It was an evening I will not soon forget. 

1Kevin is the owner of Thumb Tack Studios and he designed the layout, look and feel, and usability of new HowAboutADate.com website.  Kevin is a fantastic graphics designer and we have become good friends over the course of working together.  

2Sean is the owner of Your Media 2.  He and his team professionally produced the awesome commercial for HowAboutADate.com.  View the video on YouTube [coming soon] and share it with your friends!  

Friday, September 13, 2013

Date & a Drink - Does Your Drink Selection Matter?

Does it matter what type of drink you get on a first date?  While it's never good to judge people before getting to know them better, what drink you order could say a lot about you.  It's common that people make basic stereotypes based off drink selection, whether it be a glass of wine, a shot or Jameson, or even just a soda.

These generalizations are simply generalizations, but it's always good to be conscious of what vibe you're putting out at the bar.

Bud Light or light beer - Almost certainly a sports fan and love hanging with the guys on a Sunday afternoon.

Vodka Cran/Soda - Always a crowd favorite and a safe bet if you're not sure what you're getting yourself into but want to fit in.

Micro Brews - Knowledgeable about your beers and looking to enjoy a fun night.

White Wine - Probably a women, trying to relax and typically a little wound up.

Red Wine - You're either women or male looking to relax and enjoy a good meal.

Whiskey - You're a boss.

Martini - Classy and looking for a fun time. (might as well be screaming "TALK TO ME!")

Vodka on the Rocks - Why? ...

Jager - You're reminiscing on the good times with your friends in college.

Fireball - You're looking to get the party started or keep the party going but you're not into something that'll make you cringe.

Old-fashioned - Business comes first but you know how to enjoy life.

Margarita - Life's a party.

PBR- Sophisticated, simple, and looking for the cheapest beer at the bar.

Tequila shot - Trying to forget it all.

Long Island / AMF / Tokyo Tea - Trying to get drunk asap for sex or forgetfulness.

Gin & Tonic - Probably the DD.

Champagne - Time to celebrate!

Soda - Just there to observe or chaperone.

I hope these help a little as to what some common generalizations are with certain drinks.  Keep in mind it can always depend on the venue and atmosphere as well.  I'd recommend to usually go for the house cocktails if you're looking to try something new and keep up an anonymous appearance!

Arthur G. Bahr
Social Instigator for...

Do what you love... and love will find you