Start-up companies now meet with investors, pregnant couples interact with doulas, and homeless dogs court potential owners, all using the speed-dating format.
Some years ago I caved to my curiosity and tried it out myself. When the little buzzer went off after three minutes, I often found myself still trying to explain to my bedazzled dating partner why my last name has four syllables (it is Dutch).
It sounds simple, but each variable in the design of the event can affect the daters’ outcomes.
In spite of maxims about so many fish in the sea, for example, recent research tells us that the heart prefers a smaller pond.
One speed-dating company in New York City, for example, holds a gathering almost every day.
Last year online coupon company Groupon hosted the world’s largest speed-dating event, with 414 attendees crammed into a restaurant in Chicago.
The authors found that when the available prospects varied more in attributes such as age, height, occupation and educational background, people made fewer dating proposals.