When to join a dating site

Co-founder dating, that is

After spending 2 months “full-time” looking for a co-founder, and joining every co-founder dating site, I think many people are using these sites the wrong way.

FounderDating has a tagline—ideas change, people don’t. When you go to their event (only once as a new sign-up; majority of interactions are encouraged to happen virtually), they tell you to spend the night not over-pitching ideas, but getting to know the people: are these people you want to work with?

That’s fine, except that in my experience, half of people on these sites and at these events are at a stage where their idea is not going to change in the near future. The other half, may not be committed to an idea, but are committed to an industry or topic area. What this means is that if you go with an idea or topic area you want to focus on, the likelihood of finding someone else who is more than superficially interested is rather low. (I’ve found this to be even more true for social impact ideas that don’t command $-in-the-eyes or ideas that are just not that sexy.)

But the more important implication is that if you have a job and are starting to think that you might want to be an entrepreneur, join now! You can talk to everyone and actually be engaged because, paradoxically, you’re not yet a founder. You’re like a kid in a candy store sampling everything, whereas I’m looking everywhere for a very specific flavor of jellybean.

So please, folks just starting to explore, sign up for founder dating sites and go to Meetup events! And dating sites, please outreach to them—sell them on a potential future as an entrepreneur! And give the people like me more hope at finding our (business) life partner.

This blarticle was written in the context of building a product that helps people borrow occasional-use items (e.g., sleeping bags, electric drills) from their friends & neighbors. Check out the prototype here.