#84 The Dating Challenges of High Net-Worth Individuals with Amy Andersen
Today we have a double topic. Guys always think that money is a big deal to women; being rich will solve all of your girl problems; it will get you the quality girl you are looking for. But not being rich is basically an excuse of many guys, and it could potentially be yours.
What we're looking at today is the world of high net-worth individuals. What is a high net-worth individual? It's someone who has over $1 million on the side that he can invest in financial assets, or whatever. So, beyond their living expenses - everything like that - they have a $1 million budget on the side. So, we can pretty much say that's rich.
We're also going to be looking at matchmaking, which is another tool for meeting women. We've looked at things like cold approach, we meet girls in bars and clubs, or during the day in coffee shops, absolutely anywhere. We've also looked at warm approaches, which is like social circles (building a social circle and meeting women that way). We've also looked at online dating. We have not looked at matchmaking, which is of course where a service matches you with a person they feel is ideal for you. It's not like online dating, which is kind of like the self-serve matchmaking. It's someone actually working to help you and match you with the ideal person in a database, even searching for people at times. So, we're going to learn about this and maybe you'll figure that's a relevant you can use and will fit with you. Let's see.
Today we have Amy Andersen as a guest. She's the head of Linx Dating. It's a company she founded 12 years ago, which matchmakes eligible and high net-worth individuals in Silicon Valley. Obviously, there's a lot of money in Silicon Valley and that's why she's focused on this area. So she's got 12 years of experience helping rich men meet the women of their dreams or the women they're really looking for serious relationships. She has very specific experience, which is why I asked her to come on the show to talk about these two topics.
In matchmaking, she's arguably has one of the top-end matchmaking services that she runs. She also has a lot of experience helping guys specifically who are rich and with their challenges. So let's see if their challenges are like yours. There really isn't much difference between the challenges of a rich guy and your 'average Joe' with an average income.
Specifically, in this episode you'll learn about:
- Amy's background, her beginnings in Silicon Valley, and discovering her date matchmaking niche (03:53)
- Changes that have taken place in the dating environment over time (06:20)
- How matchmaking works and the difference between matchmaking and using online dating apps (07:50)
- The demographics of Amy's matchmaking clients (11:22)
- The social resource challenges of high net-worth men in dating (13:12)
- Preliminary stages of the matchmaking process (15:58)
- How Amy matches her male clients with women: understanding a man's physical type (20:55)
- The work involved in building a picture of what a client is looking for and wants (22:18)
- The geography of clients that come to Amy and Linx Dating (24:08)
- Using Linx Dating metrics to bring potential matches together: the intuition matching of science meets art (25:05)
- Developing a client's skills and offering preparatory advise before the first Linx date (26:30)
- How does knowing the profile of a potential match change the dynamics of a first date? (31:40)
- Being prepared with topics you passionately want to talk about outside the scope of career (32:51)
- Some of the biggest challenges men encounter in the matchmaking process (35:50)
- Linx Dating services, arrangements, and pricing (36:45)
- What it takes to achieve results: number of dates, mindset, timing, etc. (38:49)
- At what age do men develop a pressured time-window to finding their match? (41:05)
- Amy's anti-BBD (Bigger Better Deal) philosophy (44:17)
- Do men with more dating experience and a higher quality and variety of partners tend to want to settle down less over time? (46:55)
- The downsides to matchmaking versus other approaches (49:20)
- As they go through the matchmaking environment, do men have to worry about meeting women who are "gold diggers"? (52:00)
- The best ways to connect with Amy and Linx Dating (54:28)
- Who besides yourself would you recommend for quality advice in dating, sex, and relationships? (Contact Amy for more information depending on your situation) (54:48)
- The number of matchmaking services in the U.S. (55:30)
- Top three recommendations to help men improve in this area of their life as fast as possible (55:54)
Items Mentioned in this Episode include:
- Linx Dating: Amy's Silicon Valley dating and social network that matches high caliber, relationship-minded professionals in the Bay Area, and beyond.
- Matchmakers Predict the Future of Love: CNN Money article featuring Amy.
- Dating Sites, Apps Working Against Singles in Silicon Valley: NBC News Bay Area article featuring Amy.
- Silicon Valley's Top Matchmaker Tells Us What Techies Should Wear On A Date: Business Insider article in which Amy talks about the importance of style and dressing appropriately when going out on a date.
Full Text Transcript of the Interview
[Angel Donovan]: Amy, thank you so much for coming on the show.
[Amy Andersen]: Thanks so much for having me be here. It's great to talk with you today.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes absolutely, this is the first time looking at a high-net-worth dating. So, it's really great and you're in the perfect place to do that. You're in Silicon Valley, right?
[Amy Andersen]: I am so, I established my business in 2003 in Silicon Valley and I've been going on strong since. So, it's a really unique niche market to be in, for sure.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. So, before we get into that, I'd love to get just a bit of sense of you and where you're at in your life. How old are you? You live in Silicon Valley. How long have you been there? Have you always been based in Silicon Valley?
[Amy Andersen]: Well, I'm born and raised in San Francisco, California and I grew up in the Bay Area. I lived in Texas for a little while. I went to school down in Los Angeles and then ultimately made the move back up to Northern California. So, I've been here since.
I was initial living in Silicon Valley in the 2000 timeframe and that's really where I came up with the idea for Linx after pure observation in the economy here and the market and kind of the social landscape and was just socializing with a lot of geeky guys. I was really perplexed by the fact that these great guys couldn't find any girls.
So, I looked up to San Francisco where I'm from and a lot of my friends are there and know a lot of my girls up in San Francisco were really legitimately trying to find a match. So, that was kind of the genesis of my idea back then and then, I ended up moving back to San Francisco to kind of observe this social dating landscape there and really kind of understand it even more and ultimately, move back to Silicon Valley in 2005. I've been here since.
For a while in San Francisco, I was single and dating and trying to understand the entire thing and really struggling, like my clients were really trying to figure out where are the commitment-minded guys. Are there any? So, really kind of in the thick of it and trying a lot of different things.
Back then, I was single, I was doing a lot of online dating and it was a bit pre...kind of early for any apps vis a vis, Tinder, Hinder, anything like. So, those weren't available back then but, I was definitely doing online dating and just really not successful from that experience. So, I ended up moving back to Palo Alto, California in 2005 and I've been here since and loving it.
You asked my age. I'm in my 30s. We'll just say that and yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: Also, are married yet or are you in a relationship?
[Amy Andersen]: Yes, I'm married. So, I ended up finding my match in 2006 and then we ended up getting married in 2008. I just had my first child in December of last year.
[Angel Donovan]: Congratulations.
[Amy Andersen]: Thank you.
[Angel Donovan]: Very great to hear. Have you seen the dating environment change over time because, you've working now like 12 years on this? Has it changed a lot over time in this specific area?
[Amy Andersen]: I think it's changed with respect to the sheer number of choices out there for dating such as with online dating, just so many different websites to jump on and to be part of and participate in. Then, certainly the rise of all the dating apps. It's definitely created a frenetic, just kind of crazy energy with at least people incredibly distracted and constantly wanting more, more, more.
So, it's really challenging for me actually when I start working with a new client who has come out of that and they're transitioning from the online and doing dating apps into something very different, being the world of offline matchmaking, to get them to slow down. So people, especially in different metropolitan areas, certainly San Francisco, are just more, more, more. There's that intensity fueling them with respect to their career and then also matters of the heart in their personal life and it's just really hard for them to focus. So, I have seen a shift in the dating scene because, of this and I think it's very challenging for people.
[Angel Donovan]: For matchmaking, just to explain quickly to everyone, how that works. Basically, it's the exact opposite of Tinder, right? I mean, you can't get more extreme.
[Amy Andersen]: The antithesis, it really actually is. If you want me to tell you a little bit about how the matchmaking works and how it's different from let's say, Tinder. This is an offline business. We do have a website for informational purposes only. Clients are not able to peruse through different client profiles or anything like. So, it's not www.Match.com, not www.eHarmony.com or anything like that.
[Angel Donovan]: It's private, you're saying.
[Amy Andersen]: Exactly, it's completely private. It's offline. We're referral-based. One of the biggest mantra for Linx is that we don't advertise. So, it's really in some respects underground, word-of-mouth, we get our business from former clients, current clients, maybe people who have heard of the network. I like to call this a dating and social network because, that's really what it is versus a service per se.
We start with, one of the initial points when I get somebody's inquiry about joining Linx is sending them out some pre-screening questions. During that time, what I'm trying to really understand is a bit about their background. That's also a very interesting, shall we say, litmus test where, if somebody doesn't want to complete those questions, maybe they want to ask me a ton of questions. That's not how we go about doing this.
So, that's always kind of, you could say maybe, a red flag for me if somebody just refuses to tell me about themselves in the beginning stages like that.
[Angel Donovan]: So, to give people an idea, how many questions? Is this a few pages of a form or how much in depth information are you getting there?
[Amy Andersen]: In the early stages, way before they're our client, when they're purely that prospect, there's about 15 questions. I'm asking date of birth, education, what they do for a living, hobbies, how they spend their free-time outside of work. I really want to work with hash knit, dynamic, interesting people.
I also want to work with people who are living a relatively active and healthy lifestyle. We don't work with smokers. I think California living, generally people are not smokers and so they really seek a healthy match for marriage.
On the marriage topic, one of my questions is, "Are you commitment-minded? Would you consider yourself marriage-minded?" So, when somebody writes me back and they say, "How do you define commitment?" I'm like, "Ooooo yeah, not really sure if that's going to be a good client." It's an honest person and I appreciate that but, I'm really looking for men and women who are legitimately ready for that next transition in their life being, monogamy, entering into that great relationship and then getting engaged and married and planning for their lives together.
[Angel Donovan]: Right so, would you say it's really a service for people who have getting married...they've decided this is the time that they want to get serious and get married, they're looking for a partner they want to get married to?
[Amy Andersen]: Definitely, definitely, this is a service for people who are really ready for the next stage in their life. I would really want to see somebody having dated a lot and had a ton of fun in doing that and having lots of casual encounters and a few serious relationships and maybe even being previously married. I've worked with a lot of divorcees. So, those are all important things.
Sometimes also, part of the screening process is I'm getting to know somebody, finding out maybe they've never been in a relationship and that can be challenging especially because, sometimes that person may not even know what they're looking for. So, that can be part of the process and really trying to see if this is somebody that I could legitimately represent if they're match able.
[Angel Donovan]: What are the demographics of the people? I'm imaging like they're in their 30s or you tell me. I'm not going to put words in your mouth.
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah sure, I represent all ages. I see probably the biggest of concentration for men and women in their 30s and 40s approaching me. Again often, I'd say for women, it's pretty binary. She has either dated in high volume and always has gone for the "perfect on paper" guy. So, she's gone for the six-foot plus guy, chiseled abs, $500,000 plus salary annually, "wants a family" guy, gregarious, just this "perfect on paper" guy and typically dated him...sometimes maybe a couple different relationship with that sort of type and realize that he's just not ready for commitment and gotten emotionally burned and completely taxed from that whole experience.
Or to the complete opposite, I find with the demographic, she just hasn't dated that much because, especially here in Silicon Valley, these women are so career focused and it's just like myopic tunnel-vision, work, work, work, work and very little time for anything else. So, that's kind of the demographic for women.
The demographic for men, I would say in terms of age like late 30s, early 40s, definitely been career focused, has a great group of guy friends and has a few relationships but, just has not found the right one and he's really ready. Surprisingly, a lot of the guys tell me just how burnt out and frustrated they get from the dating scene in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Certainly, for a lot of the Silicon Valley-based guys that I'm working with, they don't have the social resources to meet women in San Francisco. So, that's my market.
[Angel Donovan]: What does that mean because, I want to understand? These high-net-worth men, what kinds of challenges do they have because, when we think of successful people, we think they're social, they have good social contacts and stuff? So, do you mean when they don't have the social resources to meet the women they're looking for?
[Amy Andersen]: Well again, with kind of the demographic for these guys...let's say we're talking about a high-net-worth guy in the Bay Area specifically in Silicon Valley, that can be quite binary too. There's one type of guy I'm working with who is your classic geeky Silicon Valley guy. He definitely doesn't have the social resources or the wherewith all to penetrate the market in San Francisco and understand, "How can I find the right match?"
He either is too introverted and really shy so, he just wouldn't even think to go up to San Francisco to meet women. It's just not in his nature. Or maybe he's not as introverted but doesn't have the right kind of connections in social networks to meet great women who would be interesting to him.
So, there's that kind of guy that I'm working with who's high-net-worth but then, there's also the guy who's much more affable and polished. In that case, that type of guy, the more affable, polished, high-net-worth, Silicon Valley type, typically is just working too much. It's really a product of too much work and also because, he tends to be high-profile, with respect to career he's not going to date his colleagues. So, you have that combined with not wanted to do online dating due to privacy reason and then, really limited hours in the day and not going out to bars to find women. In that case, that would be kind of a lack of social resources.
[Angel Donovan]: I don't know if you do surveys of the needs and like what the guys want from you and how you can serve them better but, is time a big concern for them? So, it's basically like, "I don't have time to deal with this. This is really important to me and I want it to get done." I'm just thinking, I'm an entrepreneur too so, I want it to happen, I want it to get done but, I'm really occupied with all these other projects and I want to pay someone who I can trust to get the job done for me.
[Amy Andersen]: It's so true. Absolutely, time is a critical factor where they just don't want to have to go through a lot of the kind of nitty gritty, do the dirty work. A lot of these guys are outsourcing, having people help with their online profiles, kind of sift through the different profiles because, it's a time-sink.
They're smart with their time-management and this is all about resourcing and outsourcing. I find that kind of a general consensus is that the majority of these guys, who are very successful professionally want the same results that they've had in their career yet, in their personal life. Now, it's a matter of "How do I go about doing that?" So, outsourcing your love life has become very in vogue, I think.
[Angel Donovan]: Excellent, excellent. If we go back to the process, I get you're screening people basically, right? You have the questionnaires, what's the next step?
[Amy Andersen]: So beyond the questionnaire then, I'm getting that into my in box and reviewing the information and if I feel that there are some synergies potentially there, I would suggest an in-person-meet-and-greet. This is again, in the really preliminary stages and it's a time for that prospect to get to know me, have his questions answered and then too, really get into the science behind potential matchmaking. What I mean by that is, going through a lot of the metrics that he looks for in a match.
So, in-person we're really discussing everything from his ideal match's age, physical appearance being a really important factor being how visually you guys are, certainly, her personality, what she might do for a living, goals, deal-breakers, all these important things. What I'm doing there is really understanding his type and then, for me behind the scenes what I'm doing is starting to build an archetype of his dream girl. That's how ultimately I'm basing a lot of the matchmaking off this...I have this archetype for his woman.
Then I'm trying to think, as I'm getting to know him in person, is he match able? Is he trustworthy. A lot of people can put on a very good show and a very good face during a so-called interview with a matchmaker but, I've got to know that when I send him out in the real world on these different introductions, he's going to be a good ambassador of my company, he's going to make Linx look good and certainly be a gentleman.
Also, I'm really wanting to make sure that he likes the idea of our protocol and what I mean by that is, when I put two people together, the general protocol is actually a little old fashioned where he calls her and he asks her out and he takes her to dinner. So again, kind of this getting people away from the online stuff of just these quick 20-minute coffee dates or people have told me they have a glass of water and then, they move on the to next person and it's just an exhausting experience.
I really want to make sure in the preliminary stages that these guys like the idea of doing something different, maybe a little more old-world where chivalry is present. So, if they question that or they say, "You know, I just feel that I don't want to do the dinner date" then, we might have some issues where maybe he's not the best fit.
[Angel Donovan]: Right so, how long does that interview last typically? Is that 15 minutes or an hour?
[Amy Andersen]: The initial meet-and-greet is about 45 to 60 minutes. Then, I tell him, "I want you to go home and think about this. We're not rushing any decisions here. You'll email me if you have any follow-up questions," because I don't want this to be a rushed thing for him or for him to make a rash decision. I really want it to be the right decision for him and for Linx. Typically, he'll think about things for maybe a few days, maybe up to a couple weeks and in some cases, it takes a couple of months or a half a year to ultimately come to terms with if he's going to do this or not because, it's an investment emotionally, financially, all that good stuff.
Once he's ready, then at that point, he has some homework. This is hopefully fun for clients. For some, they view it as maybe a little tedious but, it's really meant to be helpful and this is again, the science behind how I match. He would usually fill out an application and then, I'd work on a bio of him with him.
So, the bio is ultimately a document that the different girls will read about him when a match is made. It is a completely custom rendition of who he is because, we actually don't share last names when a match is made. We don't share photos either.
[Angel Donovan]: Ah, huh.
[Amy Andersen]: Yes so again, we are kind of old world that way.
[Angel Donovan]: So, let's not get ahead of ourselves. You're building out this bio and I guess on the other side, you do that for the girls as well?
[Amy Andersen]: That's correct, the exact same thing.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so this is like...I guess it's a more in-depth...it's similar to the profiles we see online, just so people can visualize but, it's more in-depth?
[Amy Andersen]: It is really much more in-depth because, I'm personally sitting down with each and every prospect and client. That new client then is coming back for another meeting with me. Beyond that initial meet-and-greet, then that's their new-client meeting, their interview which is a really exciting very cathartic time for them because, we're talking about kind of this ideal match. We are talking about their past relationships. We're really projecting face-forward thinking about the present and the future for who they're looking for. So, it's a really exciting time.
That second meeting is about an hour and then, they sign some paperwork to become a client. That's kind of the legal, the business part behind all of this and then things are official and the matchmaking can begin at that point.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay so, the bio is done at that point? It takes an hour roughly to get that stuff out there?
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, exactly.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay great, once they're in, what happens now? Are you the one who matches them based...like you said you took kind of the physical preferences for the guys for example because, you're saying they don't have the photo? Or do people browse privately the database somehow? How does it work?
[Amy Andersen]: They don't browse anything but, what they do actually...an option that is really popular. Number one, they supply me with photos of exes. So, I want to see photos of your expectations-girlfriends or women that you've dated so, I can really understand your type, just purely physically speaking.
Then, they can also give me photos of women they find really attractive, not celebrities though. I don't want any Selma Hayakes, Uma Thurmans, anything, just don't even show me that because, I'm not interested. I want everyday women that are hot, attractive to you. A good proxy for that can be sometimes jumping on Facebook and finding some friends or friends of friends that are attractive. s
Showing me so I understand his physical type because, one guy's definition of let's say, she's 5'6'' to 5'7'', Burnette, green eyes, slender and "really cute with a yoga body" can be so different from the next guy that I talk to because, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So, getting those cues is really critical and it's fun for them. They're like, "Okay, this is fun homework, Amy."
[Angel Donovan]: So, you find guys know what they want? When you go through this exercise, do most of the guys know what they want or how much work does it take to build this picture of what they're actually looking for?
[Amy Andersen]: I think a lot of guys have an idea of what they're looking for. Certainly, some do because, they know themselves well and they know the type that they're attracted to. On the other hand, quite a few people are just so open that they're not really sure and they're really looking for this kind of this guide to take them through the different criteria and make suggestion for them based on my expertise. So, I'd say it's pretty binary that way.
[Angel Donovan]: When you say, "open minded" are these people who potentially don't have as much experience because, what I find is over time, the more experience you have, the more you tend to know what you like and what you dislike just because you've seen it before, Whereas, when you're 21, you kind of really don't have a clue who fits with you and you're just learning about the world. Would you say that's where that's coming from?
[Amy Andersen]: Definitely, I certainly think it's somebody who does not have as much dating experience and relationship experience who definitely defers to me on what I would suggest that he would like. But, it's really important because I really want to make sure that what I'm saying and suggesting as we're going through some of the metrics are criteria that they will ultimately be interested in.
So yeah, I think compared to your point, somebody's who's had significant relationships and is a more experienced dater typically knowing exactly what is going to work and not work. And a big thing too, people come to me because they often will have dated the same type all the time. So, it's really important for them to say, "Amy, just break me of this cycle because, I tend to always gravitate towards this type of girl and it just doesn't work." So, they're willing to really explore other types. I'm with the hopes that there's something that really sticks.
[Angel Donovan]: I guess something we didn't discuss is everyone who's coming to you to clients, are they all from Silicon Valley, like are the women all from Silicon Valley or is it sometimes broader in geography?
[Amy Andersen]: No, it's definitely significantly broader in geography. I mean, my market is really the San Francisco Bay Area in California but, there are a lot of women that submit their information to the database for consideration for different matches from all over the world. Now, the challenge can be that a lot of the men that I'm working with are based in the Bay Area.
That being said, there's certainly men that I represent that are internationally based but, going back to the women, these women typically know that they'll have to do the heavy lifting usually and if she is based overseas or in a different in the US, typically fly out to meet him for the first date. That's usually the consideration and sometimes the barrier for her especially if money is a factor for her.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay, so what happens next in the process?
[Amy Andersen]: So, in terms of the matchmaking, maybe how I put together the different matches if that's helpful? We have the science behind this. So, being all the metrics that a client would look for but, a big part of this for me is really matching science meets art so, my intuition. The fact that I'm meeting every prospect and client is something so unique compared to an online dating where you don't have that humanistic personalized approach that algorithm can't figure out how somebody's going to feel or into it or what they're like in person but I can. So, that's what I'm doing.
As I start to develop different match ideas, I'm involving both my clients and really presenting ideas to them for a candidate that I have in mind. It's really up to both the male and the female client if they're interested in meeting each other. This process is just a very diligenced thoughtful process. It's not rushed. It's really about the quality of match versus the quantity.
So, I do one at a time because, these matches are what I would call "a match on steroids". They are like super charged. So, when both people go out usually, they hit it off. Because of that, we want to do that one at a time so they can really get to know each other and see if there's some long-term merit there which often there is.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great. Is there anything like...I saw one of the news articles on you that sometimes you do work on the client's skills if that's necessary. You've spoken a little bit about protocol in terms of going for the dinner date. Do you find you ever have to work on things before they get to the actual dinner date step or you advise them on some changes they're going to have to make before they start seeing the women for the dates?
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, I do. I think even the most seasoned daters among us can use that refresher course to the end and outs of dating. It's really important to remember that these date, these Linx dates are not like other dates these guys have in their lives. So, I really want them to kind of prepare for this and to remember that the women are serious about the relationships and getting into that relationship like these guys are too.
So, I do do a lot of preparation and sometimes it can just be giving them some tips over email. Some of these different tips could be, when he makes that initial call, call with a plan. So, instead of kind of calling her and just chatting without any real goal of the call, women like that confident guy, even if he prepares a little checklist on a piece of paper before that call...he'll call her up and when he calls to schedule the date, have two or three restaurants in mind as well as different days and times that works for him. That way, he doesn't get caught up in kind of early planning mishaps and misfires and she will like and appreciate that he's calling with a goal and conviction.
The other thing is I find sometimes in restaurants guys can be maybe be a little clueless about the right wine to ask for or maybe they're not sure about a certain entree and it's fine to admit ignorance. Even if they don't know where something is or what an ingredient is in a dish, it's okay to ask. Actually, the two of them, they can actually maybe learn something together and fake their way through eating and enjoy the date that way versus just kind of maybe all of a sudden being paralyzed because he's not sure about the right wine or whatever it might be.
I think also, it's really important sometimes at that date, I tell these guys, the positioning, like where physically he's sitting. So, I really like the idea if people are at a table of four to move closer to each. Be sure to share a corner rather than to sit across from one another because, that way, what's interesting is not only kind of physically speaking, you're in much closer contact to each other which can lead to a flirtier kind of environment. It's certainly more conducive to see if that spark happens but, also it gives you a shared view of the room. So, you can kind of look out at the other patron's dining and have something to talk about too, just kind of a shared experience which is really important.
A big thing that people can get really caught up on, and this is something we talk a lot about, is their past relationships. I think in the early stages of dating, it's really important, especially if you're newly single or you're divorce, to always kind of face forward. So, to talk to your date about thing that you want to do in your future, giving your date a sense of how she might fit into your life moving forward versus dwelling on the past or your ugly divorce or your breakup or whatever kind of negative frame of mind you might be in. You've got to project face-forward.
That's really critical because then, it gives her a sense of "Okay, hmmm. I can see myself fitting into his life this way" or maybe, "I can't see myself fitting into his life this way" and so it's a mismatch. At least, both people can move on. That's definitely a big one.
Similar thing I tell guys to do is really stay out of quick sand. I think we all have topics we want to avoid in the first-date conversation, literally, all of us. Instead of completely sometimes deflecting them and sounding evasive or I don't know, maybe sharing too much information and allowing the date conversation to take that really difficult turn, to develop a quick sound bite to address a topic and then, move on.
For example, perhaps somebody's dealing with maybe a difficult custody situation with his ex-wife and he might simply say, "You know, I actually spend as much time as I can with my kids currently. We're still negotiating what makes the most sense for everybody but, I'm optimistic that this will have a happy ending." So, something like that is like a really quick sound bite, it's clean, it's concise, it's conveying real factual information that's relevant versus airing the dirty laundry and how just acrimonious the situation is with his ex-wife and how nasty it is. Who wants to hear that, honestly?
[Angel Donovan]: Right, that's so very basic thing that we often brought up in the past. You don't want to talk negatively about anything in the past but, I'm wondering now because, they get quite a bit of information before the date in terms of these bios that are shared. So, it's kind of like a different situation because, you're sitting down in front of someone and you actually already know a lot about them. How do you think that changes the dynamic?
[Amy Andersen]: Well, I think what's nice actually, I've done this sales job. I've done the marketing about her to him and vice versa. So, now that they have a sense of who that person is with respect to career and hobbies and background and where they grew up. They can just be and they can be present on the date and really genuinely focused on that person versus having to kind of worry about selling themselves where that anxiety is kind of fueling them.
Like, "This is what I was doing before my current job," and kind of spewing out that resume which is just such a turn off because, I've already done that. I've done the dirty work for them. They don't have to worry about that.
So, with this notion in mind, I tell people to just be really present. Like, "I've done the work. You don't have to sell yourself. You can just be really focused on each other, get to know each other." Certainly, be prepared though.
Again, going back to those preparation tips and ideas on be prepared with some areas to talk about that you are wildly passionate about outside of the scope of career because, I definitely don't want you talking about work. We do that all day long. Nobody wants to go on a date and just talk about work, work, work. To kind of prepare yourself with these different topics, what I call "expert topics" so, you can be an expert in a particular field that she's going to find really intriguing and be like, "Wow he's so knowledgeable about," whatever it is.
[Angel Donovan]: Can you give an example of that? What would be an expert?
[Amy Andersen]: Sure, it could be anything from some sort of sport down to maybe Frisbee. If he plays Frisbee on the weekend, great. Well, tell her about it and maybe a history of like where the Frisbee was invented. Women will find this intriguing and it's showing that he has hobbies and he's well-rounded and he's exciting and he does a lot of different things and maybe he's a little quirky and maybe she's going to find that sexy about him.
Or it could be wine appreciation. It could be animals, travels a big thing, a huge thing to talk about where maybe he's an expert about a particular country because, he's been to maybe whatever country X number of times and he's done some volunteer work there. Well, talk to her about it. I mean, that's fascinating.
Sometimes people think that whoever they're out with is not going to be interested in them for these different interests that they have because, they believe that maybe they're the only ones that find that fascinating and nobody else will. That's totally untrue.
So, to be confident in yourself and just rock. It could literally be the most esoteric random expert topic ever, woodworking, making boat, bottling water, making beer. Whatever it is literally just to come up with something, a few things you like to do. If you don't like to do something then, find a hobby.
[Angel Donovan]: Right exactly, I'm guessing you may struggle with some types. I want to talk a bit like the more challenging cases you've come across and why they struggle because, this is show like trying to help men overcome the biggest challenges. I guess, you've seen some of the biggest challenges that guys have struggled, even in your structure to make it work for them.
First of all, I want to make clear, the photos, they're given before the date right? It's not part of the bio so, they're meeting for the first time visually.
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, unless I will say (not to confuse things), unless he's a VIP client. So, a VIP client is kind of the top dog in Linx. He's the alpha-client and that type of guy, Linx has the option of getting photos. So, with her permission, I would show photos just for his viewing to see if she's somebody that he'd be interested in potentially meeting. So, that's the fun thing, kind of the icing on the cake for being a VIP client is you do get photos.
[Angel Donovan]: So, what is the difference between a VIP client and a standard client?
[Amy Andersen]: The difference is between VIP and a standard client, VIP is basically somebody who says, "I want you, Amy Andersen, where ever you go in your life to be constantly looking out for me for the perfect match, for that "needle in a haystack" match who might not be in your existing roster of female clients. So, whether I'm in line at a coffee shop, if I'm at a networking event, if I'm at a dinner party, if I'm having a conversation over a casual lunch with a friend, I'm constantly thinking about that guy and putting it out there in the ether that I'm representing this type. If anybody that I know or that I encounter could be that perfect match.
It's really about exercising a lot of options and casting a super wide net and in some cases, an international net. I have international VIP clients who live in multiple cities and don't want to just limit their search to women in the Bay Area. So, it's being really strategic and smart about things.
[Angel Donovan]: So, I'm guessing that's more like a more personal service? So, it's like a high price point?
[Amy Andersen]: Mm-hmm, it definitely is. They're also getting prep techniques. We're doing sometimes the date coaching (that can be a really big one to prepare them for their different dates), wardrobe consultation, I serve as their romantic concierge, I'm doing all their reservations, bookings, sometimes travel accommodations, making their experience completely effortless so, they don't have to think about anything. They literally show up to the date and hopefully, have a fantastic time and I've done all the logistics in between for them.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, that makes it easier to generate romance. What kind of price-points are we talking about here for the normal service versus the VIP?
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah so, everything is completely customized but, for the normal service, what we're looking at, kind of our standard membership would offer somebody eight introductions over the course of 24 months and that's $25,000 US.
For the VIP type of membership again, completely customized, we might narrow down the number of matches but, usually, we'd be doing about ten introductions over the two years, prep techniques, I'm their romance concierge often. I'm orchestrating a cocktail party on their behalf and bringing in a room of beautiful women for them to meet and mingle with. So, something like that usually is $50,000 US.
[Angel Donovan]: Okay great so, you've got some [inaudible]. Do you do a lot of those cocktail parties or is that kind of like once three times a year?
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, it depends on the client. Usually, I would do that one time for the client as a way for him to just meet and mingle with people. I work with a lot of people who are new to the Bay Area. Let's say, for somebody who's relocated and knows nobody. This can be all of a sudden your ticket to meeting people and filling up your social calendar, romantically but, also meeting some people professionally too through my larger events that I do that are called "Linx and Drinks" and these are great networking events. So, a lot of deal flow happens professionally from these events. It can be very good for people too who have relocated here just to meet people.
[Angel Donovan]: Yeah, excellent. Could you give us any ideas of what kind of stick rates ( I don't know what you call it) but, the people who have been set up together, how often is it that they have to go to eight dates because, I can image that...because there's been so much work put into trying to make the match, it tends work more than say www.Match.com or www.OkCupid.com or more than Tinder for example.
[Amy Andersen]: Right, here's the thing, often when people start this process, they are ready. They don't want to waste time. It's like super, super results-orientated. Usually, on the very first or second, maybe the third introduction, then they're finding those results and they end up in a mini or more significant relationship.
[Angel Donovan]: Yes so, do you think it's the mindset then that makes a big difference there?
[Amy Andersen]: I do. I think timing is everything. Timing is 100% everything. That's another big thing in the prospect stage as I'm doing the meet-and-greet, if I sense that somebody's one foot into the process, one foot out because, it's just not the right timing then, it's just not the right timing and we're not going to work together until it is the right timing. So yes, I do find that timing is kind of everything.
So, when they come in here, they're really ready. They're just done with dating and they just want to meet somebody great. So usually, they do enter into that relationship in the earlier stages.
That being said, this can be a process for some people where they are still learning considerably about themselves. Learning what works. "What is chemistry? How do I feel chemistry? Am I feeling chemistry right now with her? I don't really know." So, I have some clients where they've renewed their membership three times because, we're still trying to figure things out.
[Angel Donovan]: So, that would be potentially six years?
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, potentially six years and that's okay. They get frustrated and I get frustrated for them because, I want them to find that lasting connection but, it can take time. Sometimes, they're not necessarily in the right frame of mind or just maybe they're distracted or they're wanting it (sometimes, many years in like that) so bad that it becomes a forced situation and when a woman senses that it's kind of forced...like "Let's just make this work" situation then, that's not a natural setting. You can't force romance.
[Angel Donovan]: That's a good point. I'm guessing for guys...at what age do you find that they're more in that situation because, with women, they have the biological clock that often determines when it starts to become a bit more forced in the late 30s and so on? Do you find that men have something similar in terms of a time window?
[Amy Andersen]: I kind of do for some of my older clients. Some of the guys I'm working with who are in their 50s, they really get frustrated. I have one client who emailed me this morning and he gave his feedback and he had a lovely first date but, not a romantic spark there. I've probably set him up 40 times, 4-0.
[Angel Donovan]: Oh my gosh.
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah and he just keeps doing the first date thing. It's really hard for him to get to date two but, I also think it can be a lot of his behavior on the date where he acts like this old fogies. These women are like, "What the heck? This guy is my grandpa. Seriously Amy, nice guy and everything but, he's just acting kind of old. He has an older energy about him." I think that's where he's getting tripped up.
So, I guess sometimes the 50s where somebody who has come out of a divorce and they are the type who wants to be back in a relationship, the dating world can be incredibly overwhelming and daunting especially, if they had a long marriage. Maybe they've come out of a 15, 20, 30 year marriage, it's a different game.
So, that type of person definitely can really just have that kind of anxiety fueling them. Like, "Let's make this happen already," and that just doesn't necessarily work because, whoever he's out with is going to be able to pick up on that anxiety driving and just sense that it's not happening as it should be naturally. He's trying to force romance in that relationship.
[Angel Donovan]: I can see that happening. Okay so, have we've covered all of the biggest challenges you come across with men or are there some kind of others that stand out as well that come up, these kind of the patterns, the commonalities where some men are struggling more than other and going on more of these dates versus, one, two or three?
[Amy Andersen]: Exactly and I think everybody is completely different where some are very successful and they literally just have one date and then that's it. They end up marrying her. I'm going to a wedding in October where, it's his very first and her first introduction. So, that worked great and others are definitely a process.
It's a process where then, they're coming into my office and we're chatting and I'm trying to get calibrated and really understand and get into their head and just figure out what is going on and maybe taking a pause. Sometimes, this can be really overwhelming especially, if he was in a relationship through my introduction and it did not end up netting in anything long term. Maybe, she was the one who wanted to break up.
Sometimes, it can just be very overwhelming emotionally in that case so, I tell them, “Let’s take some time off. Let's take a pause on this. Let's freeze your membership." So, that's something, a really nice option a lot of clients do, just take some reflective time, just have some breathing time. Take a step back and then get back into the game when he feels reenergized and vibrant again, ready to meet somebody new.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you for that. Okay so, I've heard about this philosophy you have, NTBBD. What is that?
[Amy Andersen]: Okay, there's something that's very prominent in the Bay Area that's the BBD, the Bigger, Better Deal. The grass is always greener and I had no idea what the BBD until I was on a date with a guy that I really had a huge crush on and I was totally smitten and staring at him. Like, "Oh my gosh, could he be the one, hopefully amongst all these guys I've had first dates with?"
I was really into this guy and we're at a little wine bar/restaurant place having a...I think it was maybe our sixth date or something. So, it was going pretty well and all of a sudden, he was looking over my shoulder and not even looking at me. I said, "Do you see somebody here?" and then, I kind of turned around like, maybe he sees a friend, his neighbor, something like that.
He said, "No, just the BBD." I said, "The what?" He said, "The Bigger, Better Deal." I'm like, "I'm sorry, you completely confused me. What are you talking about the BBD?" He's like, "You know the BBD, like the woman who could be a bit taller, pretty, skinnier, whatever." I was like, "Oh my gosh." I was, in that moment, completely mortified and horrified and just so sad that he was that honest with me, I guess or that that existed. I just couldn't believe it.
So, I am anti-bigger-better-deal but, the thing is, it happens all the time especially in the Bay Area where there's just so many choices. I liken to a kid in a candy store where it's like, the kid goes in there and they are already on sugar high and they want M&M's. Then, they want Tootsie Rolls. Then, they want a Milky Way bar and just want more, more, more because, they just can't make up their mind and there's just so much of a variety and sometimes, too much variety which confuses people.
Many people, a lot of my clients tell me just this terrible date stories that they go on and usually they will have experienced a lot of that visa vi online dating or just meeting people at parties or bars or what not and have that same experience that just really bums them out. Then, they're like, "I need a change in my life, Amy." That's when they become my client because, they know that we're working with individuals who are focused, they know what they want and they're not pulling the BBD on their dates.
[Angel Donovan]: Right, right, I'm guessing that's something that you screen out in your questionnaires and interviews pretty early. Maybe it fits with something that I've seen over time is that, the more experience that men have, the higher quantity and the variety of partners they've had in the past, I find that they want to settle down less over time. I don't know if that's something that you've seen also?
[Amy Andersen]: I don't know. I think that sometimes the guy who's dated a lot and had a lot of partners, at some point, he gets burned out at the game. He's just kind of ready. He's like, "Okay, I've had X number of partners and I've dated a ton. I've been kind of the playboy." Eventually, the playboy, often I find at least around here, ends up getting married.
Nobody can predict when this happens because, he has to be ready but, it does happen. There's some girl that just completely captures his attention and he's smitten and he's over the mood and he's done. He's just like, "Okay" he's off the market but, there's that very uncertain opening in his life that window is open and whoever is in front of him who's captured his attention then, that window closes very quickly.
I find that because, I have a lot of these great clients of mine. I mean, major catches who were dating a bunch, and a lot of people questioned, "Is he ever going to settle down?" Then, they end up getting married because, they get sick up of it.
They're like, "Okay, now I'm in my mid-40s, late-40s. I'm high-net-worth. I have basically everything I want in my life. I have the job. I have the cars. I have the vacation house. I've shagged every hot girl there is but, I want something more." Often they have just gone for appearance when it's been very shallow up until that point.
They're looking for some more substance. Maybe he wants to be a dad and he's like, "Okay, a lot of my buddies are settling down" and all of a sudden the light goes off in his head and these things become really attractive. He's like, "Hmm, I kind of want this for this phase, this new chapter in my life, the sequel to my previous party days." He's just ready for something different. He doesn't want to be alone when he's in his 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, however long he's going to live for.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, thanks for that. It's good to hear a counter-point. I'm glad to see some guys settling down. It's one of the things I've seen also, even if they settle down, I think sometimes the marriage doesn't work out. He has difficulties with being faithful. Those kinds of situations even when he's decided that he's decided that it's time for the marriage. Just something I've kind of noticed over time.
Have you come across any downsides to matchmaking versus other approaches or potentially situations, people it's not right for? Of course, you've already talked about the specific people you try to screen out but, are there any other downsides that people should be aware of? They're like, "Oh, this might be interesting for me. It might be a good fight for me." Are there any other things we haven't spoken about where you'd be like, "Well, it might not be right for you if..."
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah, maybe it's not right for you if all you do is work, work, work. I think, I would probably screen somebody out to not work with somebody if that person's a complete workaholic and has no balance in their life because, I think they get very frustrated and working with Linx because, this certainly is a service for people that are looking for that marriage and that next major life step, being a relationship.
Somebody might not want to work with Linx if maybe they don't like working with people. I don't know. The fact that you work with a team of people and it's a very humanistic approach. You're dealing with people on the backend versus a computer. Maybe somebody who is just...they don't...
[Angel Donovan]: I guess people have to be pretty open with you.
[Amy Andersen]: Yeah.
[Angel Donovan]: How much depth does the questioning go into because, I think a lot of things people put in online dating profiles can be relatively shallow. If I look a lot of dating profiles, they're very shallow. Your process is something more like psycho-therapy, right? You walk in and you're supposed to say, "Really, this is what's going on with me."
[Amy Andersen]: Certainly, somebody who is not comfortable being open because, they're just incredibility guarded or private or just ashamed to open up about their past or what they're looking for or whatever it is or the skeletons in their closet, whatever it is.
So, that person might be just too fearful of the process. I mean, just really having to be open because, at the end of the day, the more vulnerable and open my client is with me, the better I can do for him. If he's kind of hedging, guarding, if he's just too private and just not allowing me to peel back those layers then, I'm never going to get to know him and I ultimately can't figure out who he's going to click with.
When somebody just kicks back on my couch as I encourage them to do and just have a conversation with me and know that this process is not like an interview. It's really an enjoyable relaxing conversation. I'll pour him a glass of wine. He can just chill out and just talk to me about what he's looking for and we can have a laugh about it and talk about the deal breakers.
He doesn't have to be worried about this but, it's not for everybody. He has to make sure he's comfortable opening up and he's willing to divulge things about his personal life so we can best help him.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, great thank you. One of the concerns I was thinking some guys might have is that they'd be worried about gold diggers, basically. Women specific are looking for money and it's not the romance and that kind thing. Is that a concern guys bring up with you and has that situation come up before or are there specific ways you make sure that that kind of thing doesn't happen?
[Amy Andersen]: Well, a lot of guys will be very concerned about that when they're dating on their own, especially a lot of these techie guys who have just made a killing in their careers, sometimes at a very young age and its found wealth and it's all overwhelming and exciting and daunting. Often in social situations, you may be there going to the bar or to a club one night with a bunch of guys and so they do bottle service and they have like great fancy bottles of vodka and champagne and all that and attract a certain group of women through that setting.
Usually, those types of women are not going to be the ones who are with him for the right reasons. Those ones are going to be the gold digger types who are kind of really attracted to the excess and the spending and the lavishness but. because this is new for him and he's now feeling sexy about himself and wanted and desirous and desirable, he will do that for a while.
Maybe about a year or so and then get pretty burnt out on that and then come to me saying, "I'm tending to attract these women" and I'm asking him, "Well, where are you finding those women?" He'll tell me and it all makes sense.
So, he's really looking for a way to meet high-caliber women who often are kind of like him, not only high-net-worth too but somebody who's going to have a really strong foundation, like a good background, somebody education, somebody who has good values and frankly, it's not going to be mesmerized by, in some cases, the world that he lives in. Because, for a lot of people, it's like, "Wow, you have a private plane. Oh my gosh."
It takes all the romance out of it for these guys. So, they definitely come to me saying, "Amy, I'm hiring you because of the feting and because you can filter out the wrong type and really align values from the beginning for me and protect me." They want to be protected that way.
[Angel Donovan]: That makes sense because, they do the same in business. They protect their time from people or everyone's always trying to get their attention and so on. Amy, thank you. It's really interesting to visit this matchmaking concept. We haven't done it before and obviously, you're doing it in a very special situation which makes it even more interesting. What are the best ways for people to connect with you and to learn more about you and your work?
[Amy Andersen]: Absolutely, we have a website www.LinxDating.com or send me an email [email protected] I'd love to hear from you.
[Angel Donovan]: Awesome, is there anyone beside yourself which you would recommend for quality advice in dating, sexual relationships, maybe in different areas where Linx Dating doesn't work or anyone you've come across in your travels in your 12 years.
[Amy Andersen]: No absolutely, there's a ton different resources if anybody's listening who has a specific type of situation or case, just email me and I can kind of best match you that way because, there's a lot of different people that I talk to and work with in California, even other services. Sometimes, I refer people to other services where I feel that maybe they're may not be the right fit for Linx but, they could be good elsewhere. So, I have to get to know that individual first and then, I could refer them, for sure.
[Angel Donovan]: Are there a lot of matchmaking services in the US, still?
[Amy Andersen]: There are a ton of them and a lot very niche-focused. So, it could be matchmaking for a particular religion, a particular ethnicity, particular background, certainly age demographic, that's a big one but, nobody who's doing this Silicon Valley, Bay Area, techie and very entrepreneurial crowd.
[Angel Donovan]: Cool, cool. Okay, last question we ask everyone this same question. What are your top three recommendation to guys who are starting from scratch and want to change this part of their life as fast as possible?
[Amy Andersen]: So, I would say, put it out there. Announce to your circle of friends, to your colleagues that you are ready for change and really enlist a team, like your own little army of guy friends to help you and it could be female friends too, that you're really ready for that relationship. Where you're putting it out there, you're communicating, you're getting that off your chest, you're not afraid to admit that you need help and you're willing to take advice and ask your guy friends if they have anybody to set you up with or any ideas for meeting women.
I would then jump on line. If you have not been practicing dating in a while, get on line because, it's cheap, it's easy and in some cases it's free. It's a great way to get out there and meet women and practice those skills that you've hopefully already been practicing a little bit. To remember that dating is a skill and practice makes perfect.
The next thing is definitely to make sure...back to those ideas of expert topics. If you find yourself working all the time and after work you're going home, you're playing computer games, you're reading a book, whatever it is, to get out there and find some hobby that you're going to be really passionate about because, ultimately, that can be a way to hook the woman and to have her be really intrigued by all of a sudden this interesting life that you're leading. So, to do something that you're finding fulfillment out of I think will give yourself a lot of confidence but also, really intrigue this potential new woman in your life.
[Angel Donovan]: Excellent, that was some very grounded tips there to take away for the guys and the first one we've haven't come across before, telling your friends and your network which makes sense. Just making it clear to them, "I'm looking for someone and someone special" or whatever. That makes a lot of sense.
Thanks for your time so much today. It's been really great talking to you and it's been really great learning about your service and how it works.
[Amy Andersen]: Well, thank you so much for the opportunity and I look forward to hopefully chatting with you in the future.
[Angel Donovan]: Great, take care.
[Amy Andersen]: Okay, take care. Have a great day.
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DSR Podcast is a weekly podcast where Angel Donovan seeks out and interviews the best experts he can find from bestselling authors, to the most experienced people with extreme dating lifestyles. The interviews were created by Angel Donovan to help you improve yourself as men - by mastering dating, sex and relationships skills and get the dating life you aspire to.
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