You don't know Roger Dickey's name, but you know his creation: Mafia Wars, that incredibly popular, spammy hybrid of virus and video game once played by millions, that polluted your Facebook feed some years back. Now, he's got a new project on the way -- a vague "dating coach" service -- and it's already annoying people: its own employees.
It's not clear what DateCoach is, beyond another attempt at mixing the online dating technologist with an old school yenta human touch. As far as I can tell, the site will (someday) give you what amounts to tech support for sex, a "coach" that will help you talk with other humans.
It sort of worked for Tawkify, so, alright, why not try to do it too? We live in a time when cloning another company is a perfectly acceptable business model. Still, it's all pretty ho-hum, which is exactly why the secret startup needs to bombard its unpaid employees with manic emails like these, leaked to us by one of the potential "date coaches." Give them a reason to keep believing, a reason to think this site might turn into something more than an unpaid gig you might find trawling Craigslist. Which is exactly what it is:
I answered on ad on craigslist which led to what was maybe a 7-minute phone conversation with [DateCoach manager] Amber [Hogan]. My relationship with DateCoach so far has been entirely based on getting these emails. I have yet to even see the test sites Amber writes about.
Without any track record as a matchmaker (our source says DateCoach is just looking for "'fun personalities' including 'bartenders'") or commitment to the company, she found herself stuck in an unrelenting internal email chain. No pay, no contract, no helpful direction, no real information of any kind -- just a barrage of saccharine memos and boosterism, straight from the managerial hive mind. These are just a sample of Amber Hogan's pre-launch spirit fingers, combining the motivational methods of Michael Scott and a punch-bowl filled with amphetamines.
"With so much elation" really sums it up. So, so much elation, despite a slipping launch date and a nebulous site to launch.
Hiring is an interesting thing at DateCoach, we're told: "There has been no payment and I haven't filled out a w-4 or anything. I've been told by email that I am an 'employee' but there is really nothing official about it."
"I am telling the press that everyone on the site has some sort of online dating experience."
BIRTHDAYS! But what about the actual company? She promises it'll all make sense... eventually. But for now, here are some pictures:
The emails don't stop.
Another launch date promised:
Thanks for being "uber patient," but the debut misses again. "Respond to this email letting me know that you are still with the datecoach team."
Our source doesn't know if this latest date will stick -- and she doesn't really seem to care, at this point. "I have my doubts that it will launch or, if it does, that it will be successful." But she can at least have faith in the unending stream of optimism, against all odds, dollars, or merit. That's the startup way. Keep hustling. Keep hacking. Never give up, no matter how much you probably should. With so much elation -- that grinning hope that undergirds so much of the startup economy.
Image by Devin Rochford