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Key Idea: Fix Something That Is Broken

Greg Forgatch, co-founder of eHarmony, says that people will pay for products or services that they believe will fix a problem. The bigger the problem, the more they will pay.

Key Question:


Fix a problem that no other product or service in the past has fixed.

Q: What is it that Dr. Warren and Greg are fixing and how has it come to be in such poor repair?

A: They are working to fix the marriage partner selection process. Dr. Warren says it has been badly broken in the US by mobility. One hundred years ago, people married their neighbors. This meant they had a greater chance of marrying a person with similar economic, religious and educational background. Parents would even put their children together with the children of friends as a plot, hoping they would fall in love. Parents, aunts and uncles would also network to find suitable spouses for the younger generation. There were many amateur matchmakers helping the process along, too.

As Americans left farms to work in factories, we were no longer tied to the land. With completion of the transcontinental railroad and then the invention of the automobile, leaving home became more common than staying home. Now there are singles trying to find the right person to marry, as Greg says, "in the wild." The singles no longer have the benefit of extended families to guide and advise them.

Dr. Warren said, "In 2003, 55 million singles got on the Internet and went to dating sites." He also pointed out that 43% of all people over 18 in this country are single. Therefore, the gut feeling that Dr. Warren had when working with couples in his office was that they did not select the right partner in the first place. That gut feeling led him to develop a product that can be of use to millions. This is why you heard him say this has happened, "in the fullness of time." His theology background caused him to speak in Biblical terms about this idea for a business being the right idea at the right time.

Think about it

What can you see around you that is broken that you might have the depth of insight to fix?

Clip from: eHarmony

Pasadena, California:  Meet Dr. Neil Clark Warren. He has always been an excellent marriage counselor;  failures in marriage bothered him.  He decided to look into the broken heart of divorce. He probed and researched 512 couples -- divorce autopsies -- and discovered most of these people married the wrong person. He wrote a book about it and that book was selling well, until Oprah invited him to come on her show. Of course, sales exploded. When his son-in-law challenged him to expand his reach, they took that business to the web and almost lost everything.  That was 2001; the dot.coms had become dot.bombs.

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Neil Clark Warren, Founder

300 N. Lake Ave.
Suite 1111
Pasadena, CA 91101

Visit our web site:

Office: 6267954814

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 2000

Fix Something That Is Broken

GREG FORGATCH: Finding a mate for life is something that most of us really desire, that companionship, but how to go about doing it well is maybe one of the largest unmet consumer needs that was out there today.

NEIL: And the biggest trend right now, 55 million people, singles, from America got on the Internet last year and went to dating sites. It's a hot, hot item. And did we just happen into that? Yes.

HATTIE: Right time, right place.

NEIL: Right time, right place, fullness of time.

GREG FORGATCH: eHarmony really came out of a mission of there's something that's not being done very well. This is a really complex task. How do we do it well? How can we do it better?

NEIL: What our, our research kept saying is if you find somebody who's intelligence is a lot like yours, whose ambition is a lot like yours, whose energy is a lot like yours, whose spirituality is a lot like yours, whose curiosity is a lot like yours. It was a similarity model. That's what we saw all the time. These are the two principles we believe in, emotional health and finding somebody who's a lot like you.

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