The LA Draft Starts Today!

AmandaUncategorizedLeave a Comment

That’s right, same day as the NFL draft. Clever, aren’t we?

And yes, we know it’s been a while since our last city launch. But we weren’t sitting on our hands, let me tell you. We completely rewrote The League to better meet the needs of our users based on feedback from our beta testers in New York and San Francisco. With such an important city as Los Angeles, we couldn’t risk not having an amazing product experience for them!

In addition to building technical infrastructure that could support more users, The League2.0 is much more offline friendly. The League2.0 takes everything that worked with The League1.0: the double authentication with Facebook & LinkedIn, privacy from Facebook friends and Linkedin coworkers and connections, and the same high-quality vetted community of ambitious individuals, and adds awesome community features and group chat allowing our members to easily meet each other offline via events or group activities.

One of the core issues with dating apps today is the activation energy required to get out of your comfort zone and spend 1-2 hours meeting someone new, which more often than not doesn’t pan out. This is part of the reason ‘ghosting’ is such a problem because taking the last step to ‘going offline’ is a big jump for people.

With League2.0 we focused on how to build features and leverage group chat in a way that could allow our users to easily meet potential matches doing what they love to do, whether it’s at the events they are going to with their friends, or engaging in interests and activities that they enjoy doing anyway. This takes the pressure of the whole experience and makes it much more enjoyable way to meet new people. The group chat allows our users to coordinate their own meetups as well, so they aren’t dependent on The League to host the event, or to make the connection.

OFFLINE HANGING > ONLINE DATING, and The League aims to make offline cool again.

Why Dating Apps Make Us Feel Cheap

AmandaUncategorizedLeave a Comment

My first tagline for The League was ‘for people who hate dating apps, by people who hate dating apps’. Let me explain. 

At the ripe age of 31, I have tried pretty much every dating app out there (hey – it’s my job!), so let’s just say I’ve experienced a few digital charms or “super-likes” in my day. Digital charms are something users can buy through their dating site to signal to another user that they are “interested”.  The idea stems from our old 1950’s bar scenario, where a guy offers to buy a woman and her friend a drink and in return for his generosity, they allow him a few minutes to show off his charisma, or ‘peacock’ if you’d like. The trouble is, when adapting this offline courtship behavior for the online world, dating companies chose to make these ‘charms’ extremely cheap ($.10 – $.90) in an effort to maximize revenue across their user-base and essentially force men into a ‘pay to play’ competitive scenario with each other. Most dating sites tend to get nearly all revenue from men, who are often clueless on what to do to get women to match/message with them, so they hope and pray this ‘online charm’ method works. This results in charms losing their charm, if you’ll pardon my pun.

The amount of ‘signals’ being sent clutter up our screens and worsen the experience for women, but even worse, they cheapen the whole ‘meeting’ experience for both parties. As a female, do you really want to meet the love of your life in an environment where dozens of men are throwing dimes and quarters at you aggressively every time you log on? And as a male, do you really want to your ‘how I met your mother’ story to be ‘I threw a dime at her online and she sent me a wink back?’.

Though many of my guy friends have urged us to copy this ‘online charm’ feature to give them better odds when vying for a girl’s attention, I refuse, because even though I know it’s an easy and incredibly scalable revenue stream, with most of my competitors embracing it, I don’t think ‘throwing winks’, or whatever the currency may be, is a good look on anyone. These courtship-inspired gamification elements feel tacky and brothel-like to me, and are a big part of why I think so many men and women STILL hate to admit they met on a dating app. Every dating app I’ve tried makes me feel like I’m sitting at a McDonald’s in the Red Light District with fluorescent lighting, brightly colored walls, bubble letters everywhere, and surreal things like charms, winks, red lips, passports, beans, and bees flying around my head asking me for money, while I’m squinting to read the only menu available, the dollar menu. Not exactly where I want to meet Mr. Right.

Every dating app I’ve tried makes me feel like I’m sitting at a McDonald’s in the Red Light District with fluorescent lighting, brightly colored walls, bubble letters everywhere, and surreal things like charms, winks, passports, beans, and bees flying around my head while I’m squinting to read the only menu available, the dollar menu.

All that being said, I do appreciate the fact that every once in awhile, for someone special, you may want to do something to stand out from the pack and show that person that you’re excited about them. Unfortunately, when you haven’t officially met yet, it’s nearly impossible to do that unless your dating app plays wingman.

I do appreciate the fact that every once in awhile, for someone special, you may want to do something to stand out from the pack and show someone that you’re excited about them. Unfortunately, when you haven’t officially met yet, it’s nearly impossible to do that unless your dating app plays wingman.

And even if the dating app steps in to help, you’re only as powerful as the tools it provides you (which, as described above, are usually pretty lame).

But what would all of us enjoy receiving from quasi-strangers, that isn’t creepy or awkward? I thought back to my own experiences and remembered when I called the sports bar where my new ‘date’ was watching the baseball game with his guy friends, and had the bartender charge two giant buckets of beers to my credit card. He and his friends practically fell over in lovestruck awe when the bartender announced to everyone that ‘a newly converted Red Sox fan’ had bought the next round for everyone.

I then thought about the time I met a slightly boring and shorter-than-my-ideal man briefly at a party, and the next day he found out where I worked and sent flowers to me with a card asking me on a date. I was so blown away by just how darn sweet of a gesture that was that I decided right then and there I should go on at least two dates with the guy, no matter how serious he might be (or how much I towered over him in heels). And you know what? He was a blast and we dated for three months.

It’s that happy, special, delighted feeling you get when you receive such a spontaneous, public gift that I want to be captured in a #leaguelike. So we’ve partnered with two on-demand mobile startups that know exactly how to deliver on such an idea: BloomThat and MiniBar. Starting on February 9th, just in time for Valentines Day, you can buy a bouquet of flowers or a bucket of beers for your match simply by telling your League concierge their name with the hashtag #leaguelike, and our partners will deliver it to them same-day.

We’re not saying it’s gonna guarantee a match, a first date, or a response to your last string of awkward messages, but it may increase the odds a tiny bit, and sometimes, a tiny bit is all anyone needs!

We’re not saying it’s gonna guarantee a match, a first date, or a response to your last string of awkward messages, but it may increase the odds a tiny bit, and sometimes, a tiny bit is all anyone needs!

I’m Not An Elitist, I’m Just An Alpha Female

AmandaUncategorizedLeave a Comment

In less than a month from today The League turns 1 and I turn 31. As I reflect back on my first year as a single founder (yes, the pun is intended), my biggest regret is that for nearly a year I’ve held my tongue on voicing the mission behind The League, and instead let the press write their own story about a dating app exclusively for good-looking rich kids. I told myself I was just obeying wise adages: ‘ignore the critics’, ‘focus on your users and your product’, and ‘no press is bad press’, but by refusing to respond, I essentially let the media go on to corrupt our concept into one so superficial and optimized for clickbait that it’s nearly unrecognizable to me now.

Why did I hold back? Truthfully, I was worried that if I shared my real vision behind The League I would alienate some of our user base — particularly the men — which a dating app clearly needs to survive. This, in turn, could further segment our already-smaller-than-Tinder addressable market, and could hurt our chances at getting traction and raising funding. But ironically, by downplaying my mission, I was actually suffering from the very same type of complex I am determined to eradicate.

And at 31, it’s time for me to stop worrying about what other people think and start worrying about moving the needle.

So if you’ll bear with me while I get on my soapbox for a few minutes, I’d like to finally explain why I started The League.

When I got an academic scholarship to Carnegie Mellon to study computer science, I never thought twice about how education and career would affect my dating life. I worked incredibly hard to graduate early and build my resume, network, and pedigree working in all-male teams at name-brand tech companies. After finishing it all off with an MBA, I started to realize that with every promotion or degree I collected, I embodied more and more the definition of ‘alpha female’. (The fact that women who are able to compete successfully with men in the workplace warrants us a special label is ludicrous to me, but I embraced it because it meant I was succeeding).

After business school, I entered back into the world of singledom after the end of a 5 year relationship. It became clear that I had effectively qualified out a large pool of guys that were simply not interested in dating an alpha female;

I was an over-educated, career-obsessed wanna-be tech executive with little interest in playing the ‘traditional’ doting girlfriend.

And to be fair, I qualified out guys that didn’t share my same drive to achieve, level of intellect, or desire to be in a relationship where our careers and social lives were of equal importance. It only took me a few dates ‘in the wild’ to realize that the typical online dating sites were a waste of my – and their – time. And when you’re $200,000 in debt after business school, you tend to place a high dollar value on your time.

It became clear to me that as far as women have come in redefining our role in the workplace, there is much work left to do in redefining our role in relationships.

In 2015, there are many men who will claim they want a ‘smart, ambitious woman’, but I’ve noticed it often doesn’t play out that way in reality, and there are plenty of studies [1, 2] to corroborate my anecdotal evidence. It also doesn’t mean men expect their ‘ambitious’ wife to stay that way after marriage. An HBR study finds that 50% of millennial men expect their wife’s career to take a back-seat to theirs (vs. equal priority), and nearly 70% expect the wife to be the primary caretaker of their children (vs. equal responsibility). Even more daunting for some men are ‘progressive relationships’ – where the female may have a busier schedule, a more powerful network, and achieve more career success than her male partner. A University of Chicago study shows a woman and man are much less likely to pair up if her income exceeds his. All of this points to why it’s not uncommon for women to feel the need to

‘tone down [our] intelligence, opinions, and career ambition as to not scare guys off’.

This awful, cringeworthy expression is what drove me to create The League. I wanted to build a community where smart, outspoken, high-achieving women are celebrated and encouraged to progress in their career full-time. I wanted to never EVER hear a woman be worried that her educational achievements or career ambition would be a turn-off. As Sheryl Sandberg wisely advised to us:

‘T he most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner.’   – Sheryl Sandberg

I wanted to build a community where this type of relationship is the rule, not the exception.

The media has slammed The League for our ‘exclusive’ model and labeled us an elitist app for trust fund kids and ivy league grads.

My inbox flooded with dozens of reality-show production companies pitching us to create the next Millionaire Matchmaker, type-casting me as the millennial’s Patti Stranger whose goal is to match up rich men with gorgeous women desiring financial security.

These stereotypes make my blood boil and couldn’t be more wrong.

The women in The League have consciously prioritized their education and career trajectory: 98% have college degrees, 8% are pHDs, 30% have advanced degrees, 14% are director-level or higher, 21% are managers, 13% are CEOs, founders, co-founders or owners, and over 39% are estimated to be making six figure salaries. And this is all with an average (and median) female age of 29. These are high-achieving women that are likely to continue working post marriage and post children (if they choose to have them). The men they (we) want to be matched up with on The League are educated, ambitious, accomplished and confident enough in themselves to desire a female partner that has the drive and intellect to reach high levels of professional success, even if it eclipses his own.

What at first glance is easy to label as elitism is actually efficacy of this broader mission.

The League’s heavily scrutinized admissions-based model is our attempt to create a founding community of high-achieving, diverse, and influential members that will serve as trailblazers to help change the conventional gender views still prevalent in our society. Yes, we are selective – we believe in the research that correlates education and professional achievement with ambition, and weigh these data heavily in our screening algorithms. Though it’s currently a slow and far from a perfect admissions process, 

If we open the gates too wide and too fast, we risk becoming like every other dating app out there where the men judge women on their looks and the women struggle to find men who value their intelligence and support their ambition.

And then our mission has failed.

The couples that we create, even if small in absolute numbers right now, ideally will go on to successfully demonstrate that dual-career relationships are not only possible, they are preferable. These power couples will ultimately serve as the role models that our society sorely lacks today.

My hope is that The League promotes higher education, encourages career-ambition, and, most importantly, cultivates the desire for an egalitarian relationship in both sexes.

Our generation has the unique opportunity to weed out the antiquated social norms that stem from decades (if not centuries) ago, yet still manage to profoundly influence how we define a relationship in today’s world. If as a founder I can point to even a small increase in the number of equal partnerships that result from the curated community we’re building, then I’m okay being labeled an elitist, or whatever anyone wants to call me. Because if we can help move the needle of society, even a tiny bit, towards equalism, that is much more important to me than my own google search results.

Amanda Bradford, Founder & CEO

#endofsoapbox #micdrop #getmeoffTinder #neversettle

New York Joins The League!

CecileUncategorizedLeave a Comment

5 Reasons NYC Dating Just Got Better….

  1. 50:50 RATIO: The guy:girl ratio inside The League is always 50:50. Yes, this is unlike the streets of New York (sorry guys!), but better than everywhere else in the world.
  2. NO FIXER UPPERS: We know you’re busy building your empire and you don’t have time to deal with the BS found on those other apps. The girls & guys on The League could all be presented to the ‘rents without flinching, we promise. Our concierges have no qualms about kicking bad apples out either (there are other apps for them).
  3. SKIP THE VETTING: Remember last time you talked to that dude/chick in the bar for a full hour before they told you they were [18/backpacking from Sydney/living on their parent’s couch/commuting from White Plains]? We do all that dirty work for you. Heavy petting > heavy vetting, as we like to say.
  4. ELIMINATE THE SWIPE STRUGGLE: We block you from your coworkers and Facebook friends so you don’t have to face awkward ‘do-I-swipe-right-or-left’ work etiquette dilemmas.
  5. OFFLINE > ONLINE: We’re 100% aware we are a dating app, but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in throwing kick-ass parties regularly for our League Allstars to meet. You claim you’re ‘better offline’? Prove it.

Yes, we’re still beta and no, the app is NOT bug-free by any means, but we want to make sure we are building an app that works for the super-weird-yet-awesome New York dating scene, so we didn’t want to hold out on NYC any longer. We’ll be very slowly drafting people into The League so please be patient, report bugs, and let us know what critical feedback & suggestions you have so we can incorporate it into the next release! Your comments dictate our roadmap, and we know you New Yorkers know how to speak up.

Want to get in faster? Follow our profile tips (e.g. skip the duckface selfies!), invite friends via the button in the app and follow us on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook.

New York, welcome to The League!

#theleague #theleaguenyc #getmeoffTinder

10 Things That Are #SoNotLeague

CecileUncategorizedLeave a Comment

  1. BABY MANIAC: How do you politely tell someone to delete 5 out of 6 photos that show off their kid? We know you have your own identity in there somewhere….
  2. THE HOTTER FRIEND: Get your hotter friend out of your photos. Trust us, it’s for your own good.
  3. OBSESSED WITH EX: We know you don’t take a lot of photos, but you need to get your ex out. Or are you creeping?
  4. MARRIAGE EQUALITY ENTHUSIAST: We ALL put that red image up on Facebook as one of our photos too, so let’s not waste valuable photo real estate preaching to the angels.
  5. TALL WHITE SUNGLASSES DUDE: Just because you’re tall with a fancy education doesn’t mean you aren’t required to show us your face. Benched.
  6. CHILDHOOD STAR: We were all cute as kids. Then you grow up. Get over it and show us what you look like.
  7. PUPPY LOVER: Puppies are cute. Again, nothing to see here unless you’re in it.
  8. THE INSULTING TEXTER: Guy’s opener is to ask girl if she has cats because she seems like the type to have tons of cats. Expire. Now. And yes, she told her concierge. #onwatch
  9. THE GHOSTER: He whines to concierge about always having to send the first message / she whines to concierge that no guys message, then they don’t respond when they get ’em. #SoNotLeague.
  10. THE STRIKEOUT: Guy tells girl he’s single. Turns out he’s newly separated and looking to rebound. Cut to scene where girl storms out and concierge is asked to step in. Yes, real life adventures at The League.

Want to be #SoLeague instead? Check out Chapter 1: Getting Drafted and Chapter 2: Getting off the Bench.

Big Apple here we come!

CecileUncategorizedLeave a Comment

We’re excited to announce that the New York has won the League wait-list battle (and yes, we adjusted for overall population). We wouldn’t expect any less from our type-A city slickers.

When Will NYC Go Live?

The League is for people with high standards, and we all know New Yorkers have the highest of them all. We’re getting everything together so we can give New York the best possible (and bug free!) experience, so stay tuned for launch in Spring 2015.

Not a New Yorker?

Hey, nobody’s perfect (kidding). Your city could be next. Refer friends in your area – we’ll roll out next wherever we’re wanted most. We promise it will be worth the wait!

Live in NYC & Want Early Access?

Apply below to be part of our closed New York beta group and you’ll get early access in the next few weeks. We’ll expect beta users to report bugs, offer feedback and suggestions, try out new features…and not be a hater if things don’t always work as expected. As a founding member of The League NYC, you’ll forever be invited to cool events we throw, and, best of all, you’ll get to help us build an awesome product and a high-caliber community at the same time.

Need Profile Help?

Check out our profile tips to make sure you aren’t making rookie mistakes (hey, we get it – mobile dating is new to most of us!).