Sporting pick up lines such as “act natural, we can get awkward later” and “I’m hitting on you,” Lori Cheek, founder and CEO of Cheek’d has created something that The New York Times calls “the next generation of online dating” and TechCrunch refers to as “equally creepy and creative.” Forbes calls Cheek’d “a new, sassy and humorous twist to dating.”
So how does Cheek’d work? It’s simple. Head on over to http://www.cheekd.com, create a free profile, order a set of Cheek’d cards (read through to the end of the interview and receive 50% off of your order) and from there, it goes something like this:
It’s clever, right? I had the pleasure of interviewing the genius behind the online dating site and here’s what she had to say.
Craig: Lori, your about.me page states that you are an architect turned entrepreneur/tech startup founder – what inspired you to venture out of your profession into entrepreneurship? Are you involved with architecture at all nowadays?
Lori: Living nearly half of my adult years as a single New Yorker searching for “Mr. Right,” I saw something missing in the seemingly saturated online dating market—a human touch. One in five relationships supposedly start online. What about the other four? Nearly four years ago, I was out to dinner with a friend & architectural colleague and I had excused myself from the table. When I returned, my handsome companion had scribbled on the back of his business card, “want to have dinner?” As we were leaving the restaurant, he slid that card to an attractive woman at a nearby table. [[[LIGHTBULB]]] It had happened to me a thousand times during my NYC commute—spotting that intriguing stranger on a train, in a café, crossing the street, at baggage claim, etc. and nearly 999 of them got away. Handing a business card could have been one answer, but I was entranced by the mysterious gesture of handing it to the object of your affection and removing the personal details included on a typical business card, which is simply too much information to hand to a total stranger. A person’s name on a card, alone, could potentially lead you to their front door in a matter of minutes.
As far as my current involvement in architecture, I tell my parents (for their sanity of me immediately skyrocketing out my profession) “I’m no longer building structures. I’m now building relationships” and it’s a lot more fun.
Craig: What made you think that combining business cards with pick up lines and social networking would be a good idea?
Lori: We were mentioned in an article in The Washington Post titled “Business Cards Thrive in a Digital Age” where they suggested the one paper tool that is thriving is 3.5 inches long and 2 inches tall– Business cards transfer impressions and stories that leave mental imprints. Handing a card to someone is an acceptable gesture. With a Cheek’d card, it’s as close to physically touching a stranger you can get and at the same time practically telling them you want to see them minus the awkward verbal introduction. It’s a little like the cocktail napkin with your phone number (minus the digits). We like to consider it the 2.0 version of “Call Me” yet the cards work all over the world. One can own a set of cards in L.A., hop on a plane to Shanghai and hand someone a card that still leads to their online (privacy protected) profile— there’s no depending on an existing community of users like a typical online dating site. We’re allowing users to leverage technology instead of depending on it.
Craig: I first heard about and signed up for Cheek’d via Klout. How many new member signups can you attribute to your Klout perk and/or how much of an impact did it have on overall awareness of your website?
Lori: Our recent National Klout Campaign was a very exciting opportunity for us. It’s still a bit early to tell definitively but the experience and response has been extremely positive. We have seen a solid spike in traffic and registrations as well as consistent chatter across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Our expectation is that as Klout Perk recipients start using their cards and service that additional activity and sales will follow.
Craig: Are you aware of your social dating site leading to any fairy tale love stories?
Lori: I haven’t heard of any marriages yet, but I know we’ve got some serious social activity being generated throughout the site via member messages. I’ve had some friends with some pretty elaborate stories, but I, personally, could write a book about my own experiences. A deck of cards is numbered like a checkbook so you can track who looks you up. I’ve given cards to Willem Dafoe, Uma Thurman, Stephen Baldwin, Kiefer Sutherland, Mickey Rourke and many others and they’ve all come to Cheek’d and typed in my code. A couple of summers ago, I slid a card in the back pocket of a man at a party in the Hamptons, which he found the next day. We dated for 4 months.
Craig: Has anyone ever Cheek’d you?
Lori: I’ve never received a physical Cheek’d card, but I’ve been handed things with a similar flavor. A few guys have dropped their business cards as they’re leaving a restaurant or bar as the say something like, “Call me.” One guy gave me a postcard from a restaurant with a note on the back that said “Dos Caminos [a NYC bar/ restaurant] in 20” along with his phone number. Recently on a subway commute home, a man who’d been sitting across from me had sketched a photo of me with his name and number written on it. He handed it to me as he exited the train at his stop. Of course each time I wanted to stop them and tell them about a Cheeky alternative to their efforts, but the day I’m presented with one of my little black pickup cards, I’ll know I’ve made it.
Craig: Where do you come up with all of the clever catch phrases found on Cheek’d cards and do you have a favorite?
Lori: Since Cheek’d is my only child, it’s all I really think about… and growing up with a father with a very Letterman-ish sense of humor, it comes relatively easy for me to write these one liners. We currently have a Standard Deck (with 50 different cards), a Doggy Deck (with lines such as “my dog wants to see you again.” and “can i buy your dog a drink?”) and a Wall Street Deck (which includes “my amex is also this color.” or “your jet or mine?”). I’ve mocked up a fitness deck of cards (“you’ll like my downward dog.”) and a NYC Deck with cards such as “i don’t have bed bugs.” and “my season tickets are next to Spike’s.” One afternoon, I was working from NYC’s Soho House (a member’s only club) and Spike Lee walks in. I immediately remembered I was toting that deck of cards and went up and handed it to him. He died laughing and grabbed the rest of the cards wanting to know who else was in the deck. He then introduced himself as “Spike” and I was like, “Uh. I know. Nice to meet you.”
My personal favorites depend on the recipients hopefully having a sense of humor—“i just put all my drinks on your tab.” and “i’m totally cooler than your date.”
Craig: Now that we know a little bit about you and Cheek’d, what’s next for you?
Lori: We’ve got some great things in the pipeline—working on a mobile app where users can send virtual cards to others they find attractive nearby. We’ll also be upgrading the shopping cart on our website to include all sorts of Cheek’d coded items such as T-Shirts, Shoes, Matches, Pins, Stickers, etc. that will lead to your online dating profile. Next on the agenda is to build a business/ networking version of Cheek’d. In my spare time, I’m designing my black and gold Cheek’d Branded Jet and conveniently will have my “your jet or mine?” cards in tow.
I would like to thank Lori for taking the time to answer my questions. In the short time we’ve been in communication, she has been very down to earth and willing to share her story. To show appreciation to my readers, Lori is voluntarily offering a 50% discount on all Cheek’d card orders! Just head on over to Cheek’d, create your free account, visit the shop and at checkout, enter the promo code TECH to receive your discount. Go on, give it a try.
(view original post via Craig Kilgore)