The oldest advice you'll hear in dating is "Just be yourself" and it's usually given to you by people who have only dated one person in their lives, have several children with this person and thus know exactly what it's like to be forced to filter hundreds of romantic interests/partners who will inevitably betray and disappoint you. If you're anything like me, "being yourself" consists of being a Forever Alone most of the time and then occasionally dating someone only to have it not work out for one out of countless reasons, most of which you'll neurotically blame on yourself for pretty much the rest of your life. All of us have an inner crazy tape playing the same song over and over and success comes from being able to hide it, or conversely, being lucky enough so that somehow your crazy tape becomes a top 10 hit.
Considering the same population of 100 women, I'd say that again about 5 liked me during this period. But, they really liked me. And that was great. I also minimized the time I spent shaving and in general stopped giving a crap. Honey badger doesn't care.
I should note that I was also excelling at "being myself" apart from physical appearance. I was confident, successful (as compared to my peer group and average income in the county where I live) and boasted a relatively high general desirability score.
In case you have not guessed it, I'm still single. Speaking in marketing terms, I've segmented down to my ideal population and I just haven't been able to convince them to buy. A lot of this is because I'm pricing the features of my product (that'd be me) above my competition (the other guys) and the customer-base (that'd be the ladies) just doesn't think my product (ohi, it's me again!) is a good value for the investment. I'm a strict ethical vegetarian who prefers to date other strict ethical vegetarians, so there goes about 95% of the population. This means that out of my original 100 ladies, only 5 would pass the constraints of my date filtering process. Then, of course, you have to consider the likelihood that any of those 5 are attracted to me.
Now, let's use some more accurate data to get an understanding of my market segment. The Research Triangle has a population of 2,726,000, of which around 22% is in an "ideal" dating age range of 23 to 31 (I am 28). K, now we're down to 599,720 people of which 305,046 are female. Of those 305,046 females approximately 5.5% self-identify as vegetarian, and likely around 66% actually are pescetarian (meaning they eat fish) or eat meat occasionally. So, if I'm strict about dating ethical vegetarians who don't eat meat at all this means there are 5,537 eligible women in the 24 county area (within ~2 hours driving). If you are skeptical about online dating I am going to guess that you've never run the statistics on your potential dating pool or that you are really, really ridiculously good looking. If you have run the statistics, I'm going to guess you're still single.
I promise that I'll get to the marketing and strategy design stuff in just a minute. But first I want to drill down even further into my potential market segment and figure out a reasonable estimation for how many potential matches are out there.
OkCupid also allows users to self-identify their ethics, intimacy preferences, religion, lifestyle and dating preferences via hundreds of "match questions." It then cross-references your answers with potential matches' answers and you're able to sort these matches by their match percent and their distance from you, as well as by other "advanced" search features such as whether the person smokes or drinks, their religion, or whether they like cats and dogs.
118 current matches within a 100 mile as-the-crow-flies radius who self-identify as vegetarian or vegan.
31 are below a 60% match.
87 are a 60% match or above.
56 are a 75% match or above.
21 are an 85% match or above.
Of those >60% matches, 31 are ethical "strict" vegetarians. I've exchanged messages with a few of these girls and I've discovered that about 67% of women who self-identify as "strict" vegetarians actually eat fish, chicken, beef, or pork regularly (1-2 times per month). This frustrates me because it is quite difficult to figure out who fits Merriam-Webster's definition of vegetarianism when people incorrectly self-identify. Quick aside: if you do not fit the internationally recognized definition of vegetarianism, please do not self-identify as "strictly vegetarian" on OkCupid. K, thx.
Great, so there are 31 potential matches. Now, let's go through them and select those users I find "attractive," using whatever biases I normally use to determine such things. After using the scientifically proven and sound methodologies, I find 10 of these women attractive. Now, let's back that out and make an assumption about the general population in the 24 counties that are considered the Research Triangle.
I find about 8.5% of the 5,537 female population meets the standards I've expounded upon up to this point. That brings us down to 469 women who I'm attracted to and who are eligible.
Now, to back out even further, this means that I am interested in about 0.017% of women in the Research Triangle.
Lest I feel too optimistic about these numbers, I should remind myself that at best probably 5-10% of this minority will be attracted to me and feel that I am an "acceptable" match. That's about 35 people out of our original 2,726,000. I have around 4,050 high potential matches in the entire United States.
So, this is why I internet date. Since people don't walk around with "I'm an ethical vegetarian who is totally attracted to YOU, Kyle Cyree!" signs, it just makes it statistically more likely that I'll meet one of these elusive 35 if I put myself in as many high-visibility situations as I possibly can. After rigorous scientific experimentation, I have discovered that women tend to lose interest in you if you immediately start grilling them on what they eat and why they eat it.
Now, I bet you're hoping that you aren't like me and that you have more than 4,050 potential matches out there. If you make something or provide a service, chances are that your goal is for your product to become truly ubiquitous, i.e. everyone will use and purchase it. If you make a product like Coca-Cola, you have at least 150,000,000 customers per year in the US alone. However, if you do something with a really specific focus, say you only provide management consulting services to midsize semi-conductor manufacturers in North America, you might only have 10 or 20 customers.
While it is quite nice to have millions of customers, ultimately it isn't completely necessary. It might be even less profitable for you than having a highly focused clientele. The average salary at Coca-Cola is $66,000 while the average management consultant makes around $120,000.
If you're a boutique product manufacturer or supplier, you've got to make sure that you curate your potential customers very carefully. Likewise, once you get a customer in the door you want to work on that relationship because the cost of acquiring a new customer is high (just as the time and emotional toll of finding a new partner is high!). However, if you're blessed with an abundance of good looks and a lack of pigheaded stubbornness about your partner's lifestyle choices, or if you create a product which many people are interested in trying out, you don't need to appeal to such a customized client base. Instead, you'll find that you want to appeal to the average of that population, that way you can retain the greatest number of satisfied customers. Broadly speaking, a highly customized product with a focused market segment will require greater effort from fewer inputs (either consultants in the manufacturing example or "specialty" personal attributes in the dating example) while a product designed for mass appeal will require more distributed effort from a greater number of inputs.