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How about we discuss a data-driven company?

May 10th, 2013
Aaron Schildkrout

Aaron Schildkrout of dating site How About We will speak at the Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15 (2013).

By Allan Maurer

How about we have champagne with strawberries and cream at the movies on the lawn event tonight? That’s the way you go about asking for a date on the How About We site.

You post a date idea and wait for someone to take you up on it.

Brian Schechter and Aaron Schildkrout, both 32, launched HowAboutWe in April 2010 in New York. In December of that year, HowAboutWe opened up to a national audience. The goal was to create a dating site they’d actually want to use themselves. Here’s how it works

  • Say “How about we…” and fill in the blank with a date you want to go on.
  • Receive Date Proposals in your inbox from people who share your interests.
  • Find a date you like, check out their profile, message and go out.

Since then, the site has added a popular free concierge service in which it makes all the arranges for special, often deeply discounted dating experiences. “We curate amazing dates,” says Schildkrout.

Participating in the Digital Summit in Atlanta

Digital SummitSchildkrout will discuss how the site uses data to optimize its product and marketing experience and ROI at the Digital Summit in Atlanta next week (May 14-15). He’ll join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders at the event, which is near a sell-out crowd of 1,500.

“We’re an incredibly data-driven company,” Schildkrout says. “Data informs everything we do here.”

The company releases each of its new features in multiple variant test versions and analyzes the outcome based on hundreds of different metrics “To understand the impact of what we’ve done,” he says.

It also uses data in the way it approaches how it serves ads. “We have a data-driven approach to where we place them, how to optimize them, and their relationship to what users see and experience on the site.”

Mind-blowingly rapid tech change

Schildkrout says we’re in a time of “Mind-blowingly rapid technological progress. We’re living in radical times, more so than the general public tends to acknowledge and the Internet is at the very center of it.”

People are spending more than half their time on the Internet, “Living in this other space we’ve built for ourselves,” he says.

mobile devicesIn the next five years, Schildkrout sees a couple of big things headed down the digital highways. “Mobile become the single most important access point for Internet use,” he says. “At the same time, Google Glasses and other innovations mean the Internet will become even more pervasive.”

That, he says, means we’ll continue to see “Mass disruption of traditional business models.” Some analysts predict the death of in-store retail coming in the next decade, for instance.

Working much smarter

Also, he says, “We’re going to start working much smarter. And the world is going to be designed better. We’re seeing a major emphasis on design right now in every industry, based on how things actually function, what they look like, how they feel, and how humans actually use them.”

He also sees people using more quantitative self evaluation – people using the Internet for feedback loops to measure and record habits, drink water or exercise more frequently, track sleep patterns and diet.”

Overall, Schildkrout says, “People will be living more designed lives with better designed products.”

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