Interview with Tai Lopez: Insight Into the Direction of Social Media
Posted on April 18, 2012
The self-made online millionaire isn’t exactly a shocker these days. There have been plenty of twenty something college dropouts who have made a few million setting up some online hit site or business. However, very few have had repeated success or have changed the landscape in which they do business. Tai Lopez is one of those people.
A self-proclaimed “Renaissance man,” Tai received an early start in the world of entrepreneurship, starting in his early twenties, and hasn’t stopped since. In between achieving Mensa status, visiting 51 countries, and publishing several books, Tai has also managed to start, manage, or invest in multiple successful companies.
My friend recently sat down with Tai to not only ask him a bit about himself, but also the industry in which he is most vested in – social media – in hopes of gaining insight for all other prospective social entrepreneurs.
Who mentored you during your pursuit of the entrepreneurial lifestyle?
The first man that comes to mind is Joel Salatin. When I was 18, I was struggling with deciding whether or not I wanted to go to college, and if so, what college to attend. While trying to figure all this out, my parents had picked up a book by Joel Salatin – a famous sustainable agriculturist and businessman. His ideals stuck, and I choose to become an apprentice for him.
GET YOUR 100 WAYS TO MAKE $100K CHEAT SHEET PDF
(100% FREE DOWNLOAD CHEAT SHEET)
What was supposed to last 6 months lasted for 2 years, and while I was in his company I was surrounded by not only his ideals, but also those of several other successful businessmen throughout the world. So many people came to visit Salatin, and because of it, I got to meet so many different entrepreneurs from many different schools of thought. After Salatin, I had four other mentors who pointed me in the right direction – two of which were billionaires and the others millionaires.
Why did you choose to get into the online dating business?
When I moved back to the West coast, I had a roommate who seemed to have dates all the time. I was from the country, and wondered how he was getting all these dates. When I asked him about it, he told me Yahoo Personals!. Right then and there, I knew that online dating would be big in the future. Online dating seemed like a great bet, and I also felt comfortable with that atmosphere. I owned a couple of nightclubs on the East coast in my twenties, and dating sites are simply like nightclubs online just often with better results.
However, I am not in one particular business per say. Although I have started several companies, I am more of an investor. I used to work for GE Capital, but nearly a decade ago decided to strike it out on my own, and have nearly 50 sites and other ventures that I am currently invested in. Social media is just my predominant focus, along with the software that supports it, and with that simply comes online dating.
How does your service differ from other online dating sites?
The difference between our sites and our competitors; sites is that we believe that love requires specificity. Sites like Match.com, although a great site, are too broad. A beautiful woman can get on a site like that and get 10,000 emails in one day from interested men – most of which she has no interest in dating. This not only exhausts her and deters her from dating, but it also hurts the feelings of those who never receive responses.
We won’t date just anyone, we all have our own types – whether they be tall brunettes, athletic blondes, etc. People are interested in dating people in their socioeconomic status and “looks space.” More and more science is pointing towards that. To handle this need for specificity, we built the first looks based algorithm that can support hundreds of different niches. We give people a score, and we match people with a similar score. We do this so that no one wastes their time. You are actually paired with people you are interested in.
What future trends do you foresee in online dating services?
I had a roommate who was an astrophysicist – brilliant guy. One day he told me that we all have 75 soulmates. While the number he gave wasn’t literal, I knew exactly what he meant. Soulmates are simply people with whom we are incredibly compatible with, and we all have more than just one person. However, finding those people isn’t always easy. I grew up in North Carolina – a state with a population just under 10,000,000. There are 3.5 billion women in the world, and if I have 75 potential soulmates, there is a good chance that I wouldn’t find one in North Carolina. I would have to venture far from my home state.
As people begin to accept our growing connectivity, online dating will become the norm for meeting new people, especially as the younger generations age. The younger generations simply aren’t concerned with privacy, and online dating will become just as ubiquitous as having a profile on Facebook or whatever social media site is reigning supreme at that time. Online dating will be accepted for what it is – a powerful tool that will change how we meet people.
As that occurs, I think mobile dating applications will definitely be big in the future, and we will also see better algorithms and more niche dating sites. In the future, you can expect to see dating sites specifically designed for mountain climbers or nerds or whatever you are interested in.
What’s next for you in terms of business? Any ideas in the pipeline?
I plan to continue working on social media software so that social media sites can be created no matter what the niche is, and my focus won’t just stay on online dating. Although we recently had a major success with our Brazilian dating site, encontreamor.com, I would like to start focusing on creating niche social sites that would be like fragmented Facebooks so that people can connect to others in their niche.