Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, we wanted to share an interview with Carla Swiryn. We’ve partnered with Carla for many years while she was a matchmaker, and we’re so excited for her new business, DateSpot!
Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
Tell us about yourself
I'm a Bay Area native, a CU Boulder grad, former Google ads employee, matchmaker for over 5 years, and now an entrepreneur obsessed with bringing people love. I left companies that were doing well because I wanted to follow my heart, which is exactly what we need to do in love, but often don't do enough in work. Pursuing my changing passions have led me to a place where I'm incredibly thankful and happy to be doing what I do now.
I geek out about data analytics and integrate a lot of data into my matching capabilities. Eventually, I'd like to publish data about new, proven measures of compatibility...maybe there's even enough for an interesting book there.
On a personal level, I love singing to my boyfriend's guitar, playing tennis, board games with friends, snowboarding, watching indie films and I admit - any dating reality show!
Why did you get into matchmaking?
I was running my own online ad agency when a friend forwarded me an email about her acquaintance, Talia Goldstein, who had just started the matchmaking company Three Day Rule and was looking for someone to help launch the Bay Area. I thought it would be a fun way to make some extra money. After helping to recruit for them for a few months, I realized I was more excited about that company than my own company, and that my professional interest shifted from marketing to dating. You don't really think about matchmaking as a viable job - it's not something they teach in high school or even college (yet!). When I learned there was a need for a matchmaker at the company, I got really excited about the opportunity. I'm so happy I took that chance to jump into a totally different industry, because the job was incredibly fun, challenging, and rewarding...there's really nothing like knowing that two people are together and happy because of you. When I saw a need in the industry to focus on free matchmaking for people and helping matchmakers do their jobs better, that led me to develop DateSpot.
What is your dating philosophy / what is some dating advice you have for our readers?
I could talk about compatibility for hours, but one of my favorite philosophies is about balance - how you should love yourself, but you don't want to date yourself! It's best to find a partner who shares your goals, worldview, and (enough) interests, but personality-wise is pretty different. This allows you to naturally appreciate and complement each other. About 85% of the time, a couple has a "treble" and "bass" energy that follows this principle.
In terms of dating advice, there's a lot written and discussed that I fully advocate, such as the effectiveness of expressing vulnerability, presenting confidence, having a full and interesting life, getting "out there" at events and joining clubs to meet people, taking the time to create a solid online dating profile and customizing reach out messages. I also believe strongly in putting your intentions out there in the first few dates - express what you want in life, what you really like, and your goals. This serves a couple of purposes - it shows you're a self-assured, self-aware person, and it helps ensure you align with a partner about what's important.
“It's best to find a partner who shares your goals, worldview, and (enough) interests, but personality-wise is pretty different. This allows you to naturally appreciate and complement each other”
Tell us about DateSpot
DateSpot grew out of the idea that there wasn't a popular platform for singles to join that would connect them to clients of matchmaking companies free. It also addressed the needs of matchmakers who are continually searching for greater quantity and quality of matches for their clients. DateSpot saves singles time in finding the right partner by connecting them to matchmaking clients. People appreciate that the clients are naturally relationship-minded, generally successful professionals, there is no need or work involved in messaging or creating a public profile, and it's all based on compatibility well beyond the superficiality of the apps these days.
What is your typical clientele?
Anyone can join DateSpot, which works because anyone could be a good match for a certain client. But typically our members are ages 25 - 65, and professionals. We're focusing on matching in the SF Bay Area first, and will roll out with matchmaking nationwide as members in each region join. It's about equal in the distribution between genders. I appreciate that generally our members are forward-thinking, open-minded and adventurous, because it's a new and unique approach to dating that requires some trust and courage.
"DateSpot members are forward-thinking, open-minded and adventurous, because it's a new and unique approach to dating that requires some trust and courage."
Why are good photos so important?
Considering 1 in 5 committed relationships begin online, and couples who met online report having more satisfying marriages than those who met offline, that's already a pretty compelling case for putting yourself in the online realm to meet someone. There HAS to at least be a baseline level of attraction for a relationship to get off the ground, so photos are key. The apps are designed for making quick, sometimes split-second decisions about whether we want to explore a particular person. 49% of online daters say a prospective date's appearance is the most important factor to them.
But the vast majority of people do not have a great set of photos for their dating profiles. The "too good" kind are often outdated photos of when you were thinner and younger, which don't help you when you meet the person and they're disappointed. And no one wants to feel like they were deceived and that a relationship is starting with a lie. On the flip side, some have photos that don't do them justice -- whether the person can't be clearly seen or identified, or they don't convey the person's personality.
What are your dating photo “do’s” and “don’t’s”?
To start, it's so worth it to spend a little money on a photo shoot, or at least get a friend or family member to do a mini-shoot.
What types of photos should I include?
Have at least one photo where you're smiling big. People are attracted to happy people. I love laughing shots and you'll notice they really pull you in and make you want to know the person. If you don't have any where you're naturally laughing, take some during your shoot...it will probably feel awkward but the results are often amazing.
Always include one full-figure shot and a close-up.
Include variety in how you present yourself to show the breadth and multi-dimensionality of who you are.
Share an interest photo of you doing something you enjoy, doing something interesting or being somewhere interesting.
A social shot with friends or family subconsciously says you have people in your life who you care about and who care about you.
No selfies in the bathroom mirror. Period.
If you're looking for a serious relationship, don't include photos where you're provocatively dressed or posed. Sensuality is just fine, but you don't want to give the wrong visual impression of leading with sex.
What about having pets or other people in my photos?
Don't have a photo with a pet that isn't yours - it's confusing.
In a similar vein, be cautious about including kids in photos if they aren't yours as they can easily look like yours. It great that you love your niece and nephew, but if a caption doesn't clearly explain, better to talk about them in a profile or in person.
Don't include a photo with any friend who appears better looking than you -- you want to be the star here and have viewers be most excited about you!