Meet Sharmistha Dubey, the engineer who reinvented the online dating game in a multi-billion dollar empire

For a matchmaker, a similar education is a litmus test for compatibility. “There’s also a level of personality matching that these aunts do. They’ll never be able to express it well, but it’s kind of like, ‘Oh, she’s super fickle’ or ‘She needs someone. one that’s gentler. “These are the calculations they make and these are the natural signals that people in India have picked up on when they try to trick you. Now I have more appreciation for this institution than growing up, ”she says.

The pandemic pivot

Dubey was named CEO of Dallas-based Match Group in early 2020, weeks before the world went shutdown. As a business leader that relied on two people meeting in person, it was a test by fire. “We’ve seen a pretty steep drop in almost all metrics across all of our platforms. It became clear that people couldn’t go out and meet, and that was going to have to change drastically. One of the first things Dubey did was speed up all video features and products. Dubey has been a big fan of video dating for years, but some early trial and error proved that the technology at the time couldn’t keep up with his vision. Now that there are smartphones in each hand and the Zoom grids are our new meeting rooms, she sees them as an important half-date leading up to an IRL meeting – a chance to have more information beyond that. someone’s photo and biography. Of course, the video features have taken off in a phenomenal way. Plus, with video, geography, which was previously the biggest dating constraint, has blurred and people have started looking for connections all over the world.

Oddly enough, a month after the lockdown began, the company began to see engagement, especially among women, at levels they had never had before. Tinder had the highest level of correspondence and longer conversations, which made Dubey think twice. The pandemic had pushed people to find partners. “It’s a human need – none of us do well with loneliness and the isolation of the pandemic has people saying that I will never isolate on my own again.” COVID-19 has also forced most people to re-prioritize what matters to them. Dubey says their polls have shown honesty has become more prized than physical appearance. It also generated income. Wired reported that Match Group ended its pandemic year with revenues 17% higher than the previous year.

Love, in fact

Dubey appears to have a strong and successful marriage, but says his own romance doesn’t really influence his work. She pulls the curtain back a bit to offer a glimpse into this inner world, when she says she’s driven by a desperate desire for everyone to find that relationship that makes them better versions of themselves. “I met my husband over 25 years ago and I absolutely think my life is better with him than it would be without him. The optimism, happiness and growth that comes with a relationship drives me to help everyone find it, ”she says. Sounds like the archetype of what Match users might hope for when they sign up.

There is no formula for falling in love, but Dubey offers two: “If you are looking for love that lasts, the main absolute criteria are kindness and generosity. Two human beings will never be in sync at all times, from youth to middle age and old age. It is not possible. So the basic thing that we need is to be able to have the kindness and generosity to give them space and show how much we are there for them. If she can figure out how to code that in an app, her title “boss of romance” will need an upgrade.

Sharmistha Dubey won the Tech Leader of the Year award at Vogue Women of the Year 2021.

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