Love Lessons from the Lean Dating Method
Vanae Tran is a Silicon Valley-based dating coach, and after seven years in the business, she's well-versed in how her local clients' brains work in the context of dating.
These singles--most of them programmers, executives, engineers, and physicians--are linear thinkers. Finding a good match would be a whole lot easier if only there was some methodology they could take from their professional lives and apply it to their love lives.
Well, where there's a geek there's a way. That was exactly the premise behind the Intro to Lean Dating workshop hosted by self-proclaimed geeks Tran and Patrick King, who is also a dating coach as well as a startup attorney. The event, hosted by online dating consultancy Profile Gurus, drew about 20 people to OkCupid Labs in San Francisco Wednesday night.
"Lean" refers to the Lean Startup method, popularized by author Eric Ries. The approach basically involves testing and validating hypotheses in the name of improvement. So, too, can you execute this in your love life, according to Tran.
"What if your dating experiences were just lessons in feedback? Putting emotion aside, what if everything you experience in your love life were just data points, feedback on how you can be better in your next date?" Tran posed.
Lots of people already practice this, King said. For example, online daters do a form of A/B testing when they experiment with different profile pictures or different ways of describing themselves on an online dating site.
Tran said that in her clients' cases, most of their dating problems don't stem from the product (i.e. themselves) but rather their hypotheses. In one case she asked a client why he thought his love life was lacking, and he said it was because he was a bad conversationalist.
So Tran told him to conduct an experiment: go square dancing and talk to 10 new people. If only 20 percent seem into it, then the hypothesis was probably right, and he should work on his communication skills. But if his experiment proved him wrong, well, that's good feedback to have, and next time he can have a conversation without psyching himself out.
In case you were wondering, the lesson was a valuable one for this programming square dancer; it turns out, more data proved his hypothesis wrong. After opening up and California-twirling with several women, he found they liked him--they really liked him.