What Can Product Managers Learn From Dating Apps?

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I can only speak for myself, but during the course of my career I have been the product manager for a number of very boring applications. You know, business-to-business stuff. Back in the day as I worked on my product development definition, how I dreamed of being responsible for a product that had millions of users and was associated with something that was more interesting gay dating. It turns out that this dream has now come true for a large number of product managers out there: they are responsible for dating apps. This market is growing and making your app successful has become very hard to do!

The good news about being a product manager who is responsible for a dating program is that the market for your product is currently very, very large. Dating websites are expected to bring in US$12.7B this year and dating programs are expected to bring in US$628.8M. Get this right and you’ll really have something to add to your product manager resume. That would all be great news if it were not for the fact that Apple’s iTunes app store currently has over 500 different dating programs in it.

Dating program product managers are facing two very large and very real problems. The first of these problems is that their customers are very fickle. What this means is that they often subscribe to multiple dating software at the same time and feel no real obligation to use just one. Additionally, when a dating program is successful and matches one of their customers with just the right person, that person stops dating. This means that they no longer need the app and they end up just going away.

None of the firms that offer these dating software are really all that large. Just to make life a bit more challenging for product managers, a lot of these companies are always on the lookout for other companies that they can either purchase or merge with. The uncontested leader in this space is a company called IAC / Interactive Corp. They currently own a number of the dating apps that you probably recognize: OkCupid.com, Match.com, and Tinder. It is estimated that they own roughly 22% of the market.

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