Maybe it’s best if I start with my principles first, then I will talk about why I made a dating app for remote workers and travelers. After all, why anyone does anything in life starts off with their beliefs and world views.
I don’t believe the goal of life is to be happy.
It doesn’t really make sense to optimize for happiness, money, fun, etc. No matter how high you get, you can always get higher. No matter how rich you get, there’s someone richer. The only thing that truly matters at the end of the day is, are you doing what you find meaningful?
Happiness is just a shadow that follows us when we are grateful and have great relationships – I don’t really think about it. Instead, I focus on my values and what gives my life meaning. Because that is what gives me consistent satisfaction and self-fulfillment– there’s nothing better than when your life is consistent with your beliefs.
Chasing meaningfulness is something that may be hard or even painful. But to me, it is much more important than pursuing money or happiness. Fairytrail is meaningful to me.
Here’s why I decided to make it.
1. Our world is beautiful and magical.
Having lived in five countries and countless cities from Winnipeg to London to Shanghai to Berlin to Palo Alto, I am in awe of the world and its people.
Seemingly casual moments like longboarding next to an abandoned church past a crowd of Turkish people and several prostitutes in West Berlin to meet my Chinese-German friends for late-night Turkish tripe soup was truly extraordinary upon reflection.
The world is such a wondrous place. To live in one place all my life feels illogical. Like having a big house but only using one room.
Having walked the streets of Marrakech and lived in Agadir with a Moroccan college student with nothing but two mattresses and a chair in a room next to a goat pen, I learned so much about Muslim people and how their lives can be so vastly different from mine in a beautiful way.
A German girlfriend showed me that in her world, people don’t rinse the detergent off dishes. That also completely blew my mind…
My mission is to help people experience more of the world because it’s the most beautiful thing to me– to see all its wonders, to appreciate all its cultures, and to cherish its fragile moments.
I must say the first time I saw a flying fish from a boat in Greece, I thought it was the most remarkable thing in the world.
Or maybe it was the night stars in the Sahara Desert and how they seemed to shine brighter than any club I’ve been to in London.
Or the fireflies dancing outside the window of our cottage on the Amalfi coast. Life felt magical. That feeling of awe and wonder is a feeling that I constantly chase.
To explore the world and its people brings me so much joy. For a period of my life, I would only date people who spoke a language I didn’t speak. Maybe I’m greedy to want to experience all that life has to offer. To live life to the fullest. To appreciate our awe-inspiring world.
But chasing happiness, it’s a losing game. What is more meaningful is helping people discover the beauty of our world. To help them feel truly alive and connected.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to just suck out all life has to offer and take all the experiences I can get. I want to give back and contribute to it.
The first movie I saw, Lion King, said that “there’s more to see than can ever be seen” and since that day, I have been lucky to see and experience so much. I want to share that feeling of wonder with the world.
Building towards a family and Fairytrail are what gives my life meaning. Exploring the world makes me who I am.
So why build a dating app for remote workers and travelers? Why not just build a travel buddy app, VR travel solution, write a book, or create some travel documentaries?
2. Online dating is a disliked solution to a real human need.
I’ve worked in consumer electronics, social gaming, FinTech, B2B SasS, ride-hailing, marketplaces, on-demand delivery, and health tech. So why something as dirty as dating?
Dating has had a bad reputation. Maybe because like gambling it’s too easy to prey on the needy. So you have all those horrible fake dating apps. Maybe because there’s still this idea you can’t find someone in real life, so you need to turn to the online world.
But that’s fading fast as we turn to online for everything from food to bus schedules to Thai massages, all at a tap or a click.
Online dating is now mainstream. In fact, online is the number one way couples in the USA meet as of 2017. Currently, 39% of new couples first meet online and experts predict that to increase to 70% by 2040.
But dating is still difficult. Ask anyone. Even people who get a bunch of matches need to sift through and find the right person. And the actual dating experience can be emotionally draining, often feeling like a chore.
A loving relationship is a huge human need. Finding the right person isn’t easy. Maybe we’re too picky now in a world with movies from Hollywood, furniture from Scandinavia, songs from Korea, and tomatoes from Spain. Whatever music, food, and goods that we want are available to us. So how can we suddenly be less picky about our partners when we can be so selective about everything else in our lives?
And it’s not a bad thing we have a choice and are pickier.
Because finding a partner is truly an important decision. That person will have more of an impact on your life than any other relationship going forward.
What dating apps do now is great because they expose you to people you otherwise would almost never meet in your city.
But it’s flawed in four painful ways.
1. Diversity: Every city has its own type of people. Do you expect to find the same types of people in Atlanta as Shanghai? They have different world views, beliefs, and values. For example, there are many ethnic groups in New York, yet the vibe of the people tend to be the same. Where can you meet your most compatible partner? Which city would you thrive in? Be the happiest? What if you’re living in the wrong city?
2. Numbers: Did you know that the median population size of the top 300 largest cities in America is only 165,000? The biggest city in Maine only has 66,882 people, which translates to 31 eligible singles (calculation). And only 55% of the world’s population lives in cities. What’s someone who doesn’t even live in a city to do?
3. Experience: Dating apps currently don’t care about your dating experience. They care about getting you matched, not what happens after. They don’t care that guys get stressed about planning dates. Or girls feel like they don’t have a say in what those dates are. And both are frustrated with the laborious coffee date to vet attractiveness, creepiness, and chemistry.
4. Conflict of Interest: Dating apps don’t have your interest in mind. When you want to reply to your potential partner’s messages, you’re shown more matches. An endless queue of beautiful people is waiting to meet you. They want to keep you dating. They want to keep you swiping. Their $6 billion dollars is tied to you being single and using their app. Their interest is keeping you glued to their screens when your interest is to find someone so you can get on with your life and have amazing adventures together.
I want to build a product that addresses these points. Wouldn’t it be better if the dates were more fun and safe? What if you could be exposed to more and different types of people who could show you the world in ways you never knew? What if the dating app’s interest was aligned with yours?
3. People are becoming hyper mobile.
I’ve had long-distance relationships before and many of my friends are currently in healthy long-distance relationships. It always struck me as strange that people do it even though it sucks.
It even seems more common than before. Why is that?
I. Remote and freelance work are on the rise.
“More than one-third (36 percent) of U.S. workers are in the gig economy.”
Think about your Lyft or Uber driver. The designer you hired on Upwork. How easy is it for them to move somewhere else?
If freelancing continues to grow at its current rate, the majority of U.S. workers will be freelancing by 2027.
Then there’s aspirations to be truly remote. MBO Partners found 38% of Americans with traditional jobs have an interest in becoming a digital nomad in the next 3 years. Already more than 4.8 million American workers describe themselves as digital nomads.
Some have estimated there will be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035.
III. Political mobility. Immigration is at record levels. In 2017, the USA has an immigration rate 3 times that of the 1970s. Germany more than doubled its immigration rate since the 1990s.
IV. Peace! The world is actually more interconnected and peaceful than ever. See the nice steep decline? That’s where we are!
There’s a strong need for a dating app for remote workers.
4. People are choosing to date online more. And just more.
A Stanford study shows it’s the number one way couples meet now.
You can see it in the revenue: Match Group is having all-time record high profits. Facebook is getting into dating. Bumble valued at 3 billion.
So this is a huge opportunity as society engages in more online dating and dating in general.
5. People are choosing travel experiences.
As you probably know, people are increasingly opting for travel and adventures. If not, just read this headline from Forbes:
Booming Global Travel And Tourism Is Driving Economies And Job Growth – The travel and tourism sector grew more in 2018 than all other economic sectors but one, adding a record $8.8 trillion to the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product – up from $8.3 trillion in 2017 – as well as 319 million new jobs.
What’s also exciting is Airbnb recently launched Adventures after the immense success of Airbnb Experiences.
That’s why the world needs a dating app for travelers and remote workers.
What does that mean for dating?
We will have more choice in who we date. Just like in almost every industry, we’ve got more choices over the years. Dating won’t be limited to local anymore.
We will have more fun dating. We’ll actually get to explore the world, try new foods, and see new places and cultures– with people who intrigue us.
We will be more interconnected. The world is vastly different but as we meet and date more types of people, people from other cultures, we’ll build bridges to form a more empathetic and unified world.
So that’s why we’re building Fairytrail. We are building an app to help single people meet their partners. We are building an app for people who want to embrace what the world has to offer. We also have a product for couples coming out soon.
Our simple mission is to help people explore the world with someone they like.
Life is short, so we don’t think it should be wasted doing the ordinary. Nothing is better than being on a journey with someone you love. Make life and dating special and memorable.
Choose experiences that make you feel alive.
Life holds amazing possibilities. We’re here to help you discover those through new people and world exploration.
Fairytrail is the future of dating. And if we can unite the world along the way by creating caring relationships across countries, creeds, cultures, races, and classes that is something to truly be excited about.
UPDATE: The Fairytrail app is available for free download here.
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Written by Taige Zhang
Founder of Fairytrail