The Parallels Between Business and Dating

Alone Together

Photo Credit: Romain Guy 

I highly encourage people to dig deeper and think more about problems that really interest them. When we find a problem we’re excited and obsessed about, we’re more likely to go through with any challenges the problem comes with. We’ll go the further mile, the unbeaten path, and do what it takes because if something is important enough, almost nothing can stop us. At that point, what we’ve set out to do has become required and no longer optional. At that point, money is no longer an issue, the problem is about the greater good, and if we don’t find a way, we’ll make a way. For example, when it comes to doing the right thing, follow your internal set of values and don’t let anyone or anything deter you. That stronghold of integrity should ring true both in your personal life and in your business matters. One caveat to this persistence and tunnel-visioned focus is to still be open minded to new ideas and suggestions – especially when those external ideas come from people who care a lot about you and you care about. You never want to alienate those you love. You also never want to blindly follow a cult. Life’s too long to hurt those you love or follow a cult. Other examples of people solving something out of necessity: Elon Musk’s mission to Mars, Mark Zuckerberg’s mission to connect people and make the world more open, and Bill Gate’s mission to eradicate malaria forever. Another bonus of having such an articulate, bold mission is that you’re more likely to have other teammates who will help push you up on your way there.

Today, I’d like to focus on a problem that really interests me. This is something that I’m obsessed about and can talk endlessly with others over. It’s a topic that I don’t get to talk much about at work because it’s more personal and usually not workplace appropriate, haha. As a born introvert, a self-made extrovert, and a minority in the software world, I’m fascinated with relationships: how they form, what makes a compatible fit, and how you can use data science to improve dating. A lot of people in the tech field struggle with dating. Some of the reasons it’s so challenging for people in tech to date is because of the ratio between genders, the lack of diversity in people’s backgrounds, and the amount of time people in the field spend doing other things than socializing. Rather than joining competitive softball leagues, they’re more likely to sit at home and play in a League of Legend tournament. What research have I done and why should you even listen to me speak on this? I’ve read more books on it than the average person. Some of my favorite books on dating include ex-fratire author Tucker Max’s “Mate”, comedian Aziz Ansari’s “Modern Romance”, and best-selling author Dr. John Gottman’s “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work”.

I’m also really interested in business. So today, I’m going to point out some of the interesting patterns that I see between dating and business. They will be listed and talked about with brevity, levity, and repitition. 1. My mind works in lists. 2. My mind also works with lots of pattern associations 3. So as you read the passages below, see if different song lyrics jump out to you.

ROI: Return on Investment – Martin Garrix

Would you fall in the name of love? In the past, people use to date for practical economic and social reasons. People of similar backgrounds would marry each other because it added to their family’s business or because it was financially and geographically convenient. In business, you’re trying to invest the most money, time, and resources in areas that matter and increase your profits, growth, and revenue. You’re also trying not to squander any time. So when you find someone worth investing in, make sure you’re getting as much as you’re giving – if not more – to each other. I will hold you in the depths of despair. In the name of love. The relationship should be a win-win and not a one-sided victory. Those deals where only one person wins don’t lead to fruitful long-term relationships because the toxic first deal poisons future deals.

Supply & Demand – The Chainsmokers

If you live in an area with high supply like college towns, larger cities, and more technologically advanced places, you’ll have a wealth of diverse, educated, single people to choose from. So if you’re living in the middle of nowhere and you keep coming across the same types of people, it’s time to move. At bars, it’s hard to get to know other potential matches because the competition and thirst from other competitors is strong. At the grocery store, people aren’t expecting to be hit on, so some of their initial barriers and suspicion for meeting new people come down. The roads ahead are paved with good intentions. So when I fall, I’ll fall to you. I just couldn’t resist.

Mitigating Risks – Eminem

Online dating has it’s perks – it’s easy to find people, you can search using keywords and filter out different types of people, and you’ll know people’s relationship intentions ahead of time, usually. However, online dating means you never actually get a vibe of how someone is like in person. So the challenge has become transitioning from an app to meeting in real life. Who knows if your potential match is a serial killer? So take precautions and be safe: meet in a public place, tell your friends where you’re going and who you’re meeting, and don’t meet unless you’ve spent a lot of time evaluating the other person online through their messages, googling them, and assessing their crafted persona. In business as an entrepreneur, you try to mitigate risks and limit the downsides as much as possible. You also never bet the farm – what’s important to you. So in dating, you need to limit how much damage the potential date can create in your life. You need to be safe because you only get one life, one shot, one opportunity – do not miss your chance to blow.

Windows of Opportunity – Linkin Park

Are your palms sweaty, and do you got Mom’s spaghetti on your shirt? Well, try to clean up and present yourself in the best possible fashion every single day. Yes, your looks, self-presentation, and social reputation matter. You never know who you’ll meet. Time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Sometimes life offers you something magical and unreal. When those opportunities come your way, seize it. They don’t come again. So if there’s someone you really like, ask them out before you get old and grey with regret and self-hate.

Value Offers & Benefits – Down with Webster

The more you can bring to the table and offer, the higher price items you can afford and ask for. So work on yourself before you go to the market and see what your market value is. What that means is to continually improve yourself every single day: mentally, physically, and spiritually. The better you are, the better mate you can catch. Every day is go time, lights on, show time. I hope that you’re watching me, I hope that you’re clocking me because every second is go time. Your interview started before you even got into the room. That’s the same with your dating life. At every moment, other people are sizing you up, spitting you out, and evaluating you.

Goodness of Fit – Charlie Puth

If you really like someone and you fall in love with them, but they’ll never like you back, that’s not a good fit for either of you. There’s just some things, unfortunately, that are out of your control in this world. You can’t steal people’s hearts even if they’ve already stolen yours. You can’t make pineapples into softballs. See if you match what they need in a relationship and they match your need in a relationship. Because what was all of it for? We don’t talk anymore like we used to do. I can’t get you out of my brain. Ooh, it’s such a shame. Cause even after all this time, I wonder why I can’t move on. Don’t want to know what kind of dress you’re wearing tonight. You also need to see if both of you have similar intentions: do you not want children, are you always sober, and are you looking for a long-term relationship?

Lead Generation – Marshmello

Dating is like going through a series of interviews. You first need to meet the qualifications of the job description. Do you have the necessary skills like communication, commitment, and trust? Is your background free from jealousy and sleuthing exes? When you make the job transition, what type of baggage do you come with? What would your references say about your dating style and whether or not you’re ready to be in a relationship? What keywords are you looking for? Twenties to mid thirties, located within 25 miles, and single. I’m so alone just trying to find my way back to you. Once you pass the stacks of resume that get passed around, you’re given a chance to interview. If you blow the first date interview, it’s all over until an undefined amount of time. You’ve been passed on. If you do well, you just might get the job offer and the long-term benefits.

Personal Brand – DNCE

You don’t have to rush, you can leave a toothbrush at my place. We don’t need to keep it hush. I just, I just can’t let you go. What others say about you speaks volume. Who you are at work and what you’re known by is your personal brand. So if you have mutual friends that recommend you, it’s more likely they’ll view you with rose-colored glasses too. With your messed up hair and your feet still bare, does that leave a great impression? Make sure how other perceive you is how you want to be perceived. Make sure your style is consistent. There’s no need to play pretend.

World-Class Cost Structure – Shawn Mendes

What does it take to maintain your relationship? Are you texting, going on enough dates, and trying new things? Are you high maintenance or easy-going? The less it takes to run the show, the longer you can maintain the show. So oil up and enjoy the ride. Cause I know I can treat you better than he can. Invest the adequate resources and do your best to make the relationship consistently great. Build on your past and towards a stronger future. Let your challenges bring you together with rich history rather than break you apart. Promise I’ll never let you down.

What lattices, frameworks, and webs do you use to view the world? I’m sure your background, whatever is in, allows you to see the world with more precision because it brings to light many of the similarities that different parts of the world share. We’re more alike than we are different. Focus on our similarities and be kind to each other, folks. Don’t let hatred or darkness in. Don’t let the angry voices win. You’re better than that and you deserve greatness. You owe it to yourself. One last word from Fifth Harmony – you gotta put in work, work, work, work, work, work, work.

Being Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Down Below

Photo credit: Romain Guy

Those feelings of doubt that we all dread. The endless paranoia in our head. A heart of darkness or the weight of carrying the world on our shoulders. These are all universal feelings that are expected with the unknown. Stop. What if I told you that sometimes that pit in your stomach was an indicator that things were going right in the best of ways?

In this rapidly changing, unpredictable, and hyper-competitive world, there are a few principles we can adopt to make ourselves more robust. You are not helpless. You are not alone. Whatever it is you’re feeling and whichever situation you’ve been thrown in – failing a class, feeling hopeless, feeling lost – I’m sure someone else has been in a similar situation. That line in Fight Club rings true especially in our darkest moments. You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Now I want you to picture a few moments in your head. Think of some of the most gut-wrenching, life-changing moments you’ve experienced. Were they times when things were going flawlessly? Maybe now that you’re looking back, your 20/20 vision is making things look better than they seem in your memories. Now take a moment to write a few of these moments down. Are you done? Alright, good.

I believe that the worst of times also offer the best of opportunities. It’s when there’s turmoil and fire lighting our asses that we rise to meet the challenge. That’s when communities come together, the unheard become heard, and the unfinished becomes a step closer to done. Think about America’s Presidents. Washington fought in the revolution and banded the states together. Lincoln abolished slavery when the nation was divided. At the end of World War I, Wilson crafted Versailles Treaty’s “Fourteen Points”, including a point on creating a League of Nations to ensure world peace.

So if you’re ever at a turning point where you feel like the whole world is conspiring against you, think again. Maybe you’re about to experience something magical. The magic might not appear today or tomorrow or even a few weeks from now. Maybe you have to re-think your decisions, give up things you once thought were important, or change the way you view the world. Keep pushing forward, and put in the work to grow and improve. I know it’s easier said than done. You’ll get stretched to use abilities you didn’t know you had, you’ll slam against the concrete floor and be expected to get back up, and you’ll be made the butt of a joke. But one day, you might just look back on all of it and be grateful that you went through all those trying experiences. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Because all of that will guide you to where you’ve temporarily arrived at. Where you were meant to be at a moment in time. The sum of all your decisions.

So whatever it is, the obstacle or monster ahead, may just be your great blessing in disguise. We’ve all been there, and we’ll be there again. Should you ask someone out? Should you spend two years getting a masters degree? Should you stay on the challenging, fun, and growing assignment? These are all uncomfortable questions you might have to ask yourself.

And if at times you feel weak, that’s what your support system is for. Your friends, your family, faith or spiritual belief if you have any, and your mentors.

Don’t tread lightly. Don’t wait for the world to come to you. Don’t look back with regrets. What I’m saying is to charge towards the unknown without abandon so that you can become the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.