Have you ever tried to explain the world of modern dating to your grandparents? Courtship is no longer about wearing somebody’s pin or having your family present you with acceptable suitors, so dating apps are like foreign languages to them.
But how well do really understand what dating is like today?
As a math major at Harvard in the late '90s, Yagan forever altered the market for student cheat sheets, then dominated by the iconic black-and-yellow Cliffs Notes booklets, with his Spark Notes, a free Web-based copycat.
Next, Yagan went after the music business, creating the file-sharing tool e Donkey.
Before the company was litigated out of existence by a record-industry lawsuit, it boasted the world's most popular file-sharing software, bigger even than Napster.
Now Yagan had set out to bring to online dating, a growing market dominated by a number of, as Yagan saw them, expensive and unsatisfactory competitors like IAC's (NYSE: IACI)
The current Ok Cupid Dating Persona Test is still largely identical, in question and text blurb content and order, to the original Match Test.
Among other things, The featured a number of humorous self-quizzes and personality tests, including the four-variable Myers-Briggs style Match Test.
Spark Match debuted as a beta experiment of allowing registered users who had taken the Match Test to search for and contact each other based on their Match Test types.
Yagan figured he could inflict serious damage on Match, the industry giant with 2007 revenue of 9 million, and other big subscription sites such as e Harmony and JDate by using the same strategy he employed with Spark Notes.
"Take an existing business," he explains, "reduce the revenue that industry produces by offering a free product, and then claim the remaining revenue for yourself." He had spent three years building his dating site, Ok Cupid, with partner Chris Coyne and had raised nearly million. The company needed a massive audience to make money.