Independence Day: 'Time Isn't After Us'
On April 1st, we launched HowHookup and posted this bad boy.
If you were to only read that post, you'd think a finish line collapse was imminent. But nope. We discovered a new dumpling shop, bought a grill, turned on the Talking Heads, got some big computer screens, went on a few HowHookup dates and put on our strategizing hats.
Cue David Byrne:
July 4th Weekend
Having just made the biggest set of changes to the site in over a month, celebrating two great articles by sitting in front of our computers for two days straight (more on the NYT and Gawker pieces below), and prepping to present at the NYC Tech MeetUp this coming Tuesday, it's time to share a bit about where things stand with HowHookup.
We built this thing with the hope that people would love proposing dates and getting asked out. But we had no idea if it would work.
We've found that it does...and for that, the Nietzschean YES! reverberates.
The proof's in the pudding:
**10,000 dates have been proposed...and they're (mostly) awesome - personal, imaginative, syntactically enticing, real.
**Thousands of HowHookup dates have now taken place in NYC.
**There are dozens of HowHookup couples. And the ones we know are really happy.
**Our user base is increasing by more than 30% per month with over 8,500 people dating in NYC alone!
A sampling of HowHookup dates:
Make Believe Dates:
These dates are awesome, worth-talking-about and definitely suggestive of how fun dating could be. Rosy.
Cue Janelle Monae: A new song with sick dance moves (which Brian has been practicing when no one is around).
(Check her Kansas two-step.)
Huge thx to Stephanie Rosenbloom for this piece: The Ritual of the First Date, Circa 2020
Sitting down with Stephanie to talk about HowHookup was totally gratifying - mostly because it was so fun to explore all the date ideas on the site with her. The interview gave us a chance to really pause and take stock of the actual dates people are proposing on the site. They're totally re-energizing to read - they make it so obvious why the idea is awesome. Stephanie totally got it right from the start; it was a blast to talk with her about the collective NYC dating unconscious. [But we are a bit bitter that she saved the unveiling of the word "homophily" for the actual article. We would have added it to our homepage had we known.]
The best quote from today's article-inducing buzz was from Aaron's grandma (who is 96 and lives on the Upper East Side and still reads the Times cover to cover every day). She goes, "Aaron. You're in the Times. Are you making any money yet?" Damn good question, Grandma. Damn good question.
"The epicenter of the New First Date movement is a website called HowHookup.com."
Here's the post: The New First Date.
The Gawker comment crew (where the Id types with furry) did have some awesome date ideas:
"How Hookup...drop drop some acid and go release a bunch of stray cats in Park Slope and then rearrange all the strollers outside of Trader Joe's? "
Adrian, the article's writer, is asking people for their HowHookup stories. Email him if you gott'em: [email protected]
The Road to July 4th
As an intro to this segment - for old time's sake since we used to rap this on the Ward School fieldtrip bus - cue Paul Revere:
Alright, so, here's we've done up to this point:
1) Opened up all the dates in the system for you to browse.
2) Created a system to reward you for doing things that make the site better. 1,000 points earns you $100 towards a date.
3) Hired an awesome Community Manager - Michelle Dozois (@organizing_soup); she is gonna "drive traffic until the cows come home."
4) Improved - as per user suggestions - the date delivery system, the speed of the site, the mail system, the profiles, and privacy settings.
5) Enshrined Tuesdays as Propose a Date Day and Thursdays as Respond to a Date Day. (Proposals and responses consistently go up about 400% on those days.)
6) Got our act together with the Date Report. (A huge shout out to Rachel Hochhauser for her creative, knowledgeable, and clever writing about NYC's best Date Spots and Scott Alden @terrykillsit for kicking off the DateTrend madness with this piece about Tourist Envy. Once again, we take zero responsibility for Scott's twitter feed.)
So, what's next...
Make the site irrevocably superlative: piercingly effective, slightly addictive and gloriously just-what-you-want. We want people to dig the site so much that they share about it, talk about it, and even occasionally - perhaps when slightly tipsy - proselytize about it.
We recognized this back in the plant room. Here's a clip from the original document we wrote describing HowHookup (about the time we started the epic logo design process):
Cue Eye of the Tiger:
Here's what's coming:
1. A new button (it's actually there now but hidden, like a white owl on a snowy beach) called "Play Matchmaker!" It's gonna let you browse dates and send them to your friends. (Blame Aaron for that metaphor.)
2. A WAY better datetropolis. We're going to fill the datetropolis with your ideas about the most kickin' date spots and start identifying every city's best date spot finders. Think crowdsourcing for #DateIdeas.
3. More Date Report refinement. Think "Daily Candy" or "Thrillist" for date spots. Then multiply that idea times like 3 and you've got it.
4. The 3 rules of success: Location! Location! Location! Integrate with FourSquare and company to make it easier to propose and get asked out on awesome dates at the places you love.
5. Mobile - we know: you want to be able to propose dates, message, get asked out on your phone...we're on it.
6. Go national, baby. Tell your friends in cities everywhere. If they sign-up now and invite friends, they get in free. We're going first to the first city to break 1,500 sign-ups. Bam! More on this soon.
That's the short list. Let us know if you've got suggested additions - we're always here at [email protected]
We want to thank everyone who has signed up for HowHookup, shared about the site, sent along words of appreciation, proposed amazing dates, and gone on them!
This whole thing has been an awesome gift of an experience for us - so thanks!