Six and a half years ago, my phone rings. Patrick is calling from his station near a Marine base in Hawaii.
“You said you could make a dating site for gamers right?” I didn’t tell you that this call came in late on a Tuesday night.
“Yeah. I’ll need your help, but yes – we can do it.” Why is he calling me on a Tuesday night? What time is it in Hawaii? Why did I even pick up the phone when I have to work in a few hours?
“Alright – we’re doing it then.” I’m paraphrasing here for effect, but this is how LFGdating came to be. LFGdating began because Patrick and I learned early in our 20’s that searching online dating site profiles can get tiresome, especially when you’re looking for someone who falls somewhere between tolerant and nurturing when it comes to gaming.
LFGdating organically sprouted from our want to provide others with something neither of us had back then: a clean, tasteful dating site for mature gamers.
I will never forget that phone call.
As a public high school English teacher, I was typically asked to coach a sport or supervise a club; at the very least I was asked to run security at football/basketball games or work the score board. Fun Frommer’s fact: I was my high school’s first ever Varsity Basketball (boys and girls) announcer.
Once Patrick called that Tuesday night, I turned down two coaching opportunities (one as varsity boys basketball head coach). I scaled back my after-school duties. I even turned down teaching a higher-level curriculum that first year, and if you’re outside of the education sphere, that’s damn-near career suicide as a young, non-tenured teacher. Sorry boss, I have other work to do…
For the next year or so, Patrick and I worked on the bones of LFGdating. Even though we were about 4,200 miles away from each other, we scheduled regular phone calls and work sessions. We worked late into the night and early into the morning. We worked on weekends. We worked on holidays. Thank goodness I lived next to a Starbucks, especially when they had that special where if you brought in your receipt from earlier in the day, you could have any size cold drink for $2. I should have bought stock in Starbucks.
By 2011, I was spending 3-4 hours a night working on our algorithm, site navigation, page text, and the overall feel of LFGdating. Wake up at 5:30 A.M., workout until 6:15, shower, dress, eat, and out the door by 7:15 to get to school by 7:30. Then, home by 4:30 or 5, eat an early dinner and grade papers or prep classes until about 7. Then I went LFGdating creation mode until 11 or midnight. At some point after I got home, I’d play some Red Dead Redemption or Mass Effect 2 for stress release. Ah Shepard.
By 2012, I moved into a new apartment in downtown Woodstock (which is an oxymoron). Patrick was home in Woodstock from his service too. We’d meet weekly at least, if not 3-4 days in a row. We’d grab coffee and some Jimmy Johns (Tuna ftw) and get to work. We hammered out roles, timelines, and projections. The LFGdating work ethic was in full swing.
Then we launched our beta.
The following day, I was celebrating my last day of first semester finals with a 30 minute sprint on the elliptical machine (nerdy and motivated, amiright?). My phone hits me with an alert: Congratulations! You have successfully created a profile on LFGdating! Wait, I didn’t create a profile. Oh someone else did…We have our first ever LFGdating member! I about fell off the elliptical. My principal’s voice booms over the whole-school intercom. “Attention all staff and students, due to the inclement weather conditions, all staff and students must leave the school immediately. A blizzard will be here shortly, and we are advising you to leave now before it arrives. Again, due to…”
You don’t have to tell me twice.
Finally home and with coffee in hand, I sit at my desk to continuing working on the site.
Wait until you hear what Patrick was doing the whole time.