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It's from Video Egg, a San Francisco company that is paying Frind to run a series of Budweiser commercials in Canada. with more than that." Five years ago, he started Plenty of Fish with no money, no plan, and scant knowledge of how to build a Web business. Its traffic is four times that of dating pioneer Match, which has annual revenue of 0 million and a staff that numbers in the hundreds. Today, he employs just three customer service workers, who check for spam and delete nude images from the Plenty of Fish website while Frind handles everything else.

Like most of his advertising deals, this one found Frind. Today, according to the research firm Hitwise, his creation is the largest dating website in the U. Amazingly, Frind has set up his company so that doing everything else amounts to doing almost nothing at all.

When I ask him to talk about what he does with the 23 hours a day in which he doesn't work, Frind struggles to answer and then looks helplessly at Kanciar.

"Markus is one of those engineers who is just more comfortable sitting in front of a computer than he is talking to someone face to face," says Noel Biderman, the co-founder of Avid Life Media, a Toronto-based company that owns several dating sites.

When he does engage in conversation, Frind can be disarmingly frank, delivering vitriolic quips with a self-assured cheerfulness that feels almost mean.

Frind will spend hours hiding in the three-bedroom apartment he and Kanciar share, furtively flipping light switches, tapping on doors, and ducking into rooms to play on his girlfriend's fear of ghosts.

Another memorable valentine involved the secret consumption of a massive quantity of hot peppers.

A year ago, they relaxed for a couple of weeks in Mexico with a yacht, a captain, and four of Kanciar's friends. "Rough life." As Frind gets up to leave, I ask him what he has planned for the rest of the day. "Maybe I'll take a nap." t's a 21st-century fairy tale: A young man starts a website in his spare time. He hasn't gone to MIT, Stanford, or any other four-year college for that matter, yet he is deceptively brilliant.

He has been bouncing aimlessly from job to job, but he is secretly ambitious.

"Once in a while, from the middle of nowhere, he'll say, 'Why is that girl doing that? ' He'll check people out in restaurants and watch how they interact.

In a way, he's thinking about the company all the time." rind spent his formative years on a grain farm in the northern hinterlands of British Columbia -- "the bush," in local parlance.

The gleaming space could easily house 30 employees, but as Frind strides in, it is eerily quiet -- just a room with new carpets, freshly painted walls, and eight flat-screen computer monitors.

Frind drops his bag and plops himself down in front of one of them. There's a 0,000 order waiting for his signature.

Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), he says, is "a complete joke," Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is "a cult," and Match is "dying." Says Mark Brooks, a marketing consultant who has advised Frind since 2006, "I've never known anybody so competitive.