Every so often, in sharing a story about a “Disruptor” catalyst making waves around us, I’ll recommend a story-related stock.
One recent example was IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI), which I recommended in my June 12 report “Today We’re Going to ‘Fix You Up’ With a Winner.“
It’s only been two weeks, but IAC is already following my storyline.
Of course I was trying to be funny with the “Fix You Up” reference in the title, as the story was about online dating in general. But I was quite serious in predicting that Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp would spin its Match Group of properties into a separate company and issue shares to existing IAC stockholders.
Well, it didn’t take long. Sure enough, last week IAC said it was going to do just that, and spin out the Match Group into a separate company.
In my report, I accompanied my recommendation with a specific “Buy” strategy.
I still like the company, but today’s markets are fluid – meaning the strategy I detailed needs refining.
Today I’m going to do just that. And you don’t want to ignore it…
After all, online dating is a $2 billion business…
A “Golden” Game Plan
At the time I penned my report – on account of the market wobbling a bit – I recommended buying IAC – but trying to get it lower if the market dipped and took IAC down with it. In a perfect world, the market would have dipped and IAC would have gone down to the $70 level – where I said to buy it – and gone lower to $65, where I said you should buy more.
But it’s not a perfect world – which is actually a good thing since it means the overall market didn’t tank (at least for now). So we didn’t get to load up on IAC at level much lower than where it was trading when I made the recommendation.
Even so, I’m betting at least some of you folks bought some shares that day – especially since I concluded by saying: “The only thing is, if you wait to pick up shares a lot lower, you may not get a chance. The market could climb the current ‘Wall of Worry’ and go a lot higher before it eventually ‘corrects.’ Barring a Match Group spin-off, smartly buying IAC shares and adding to your position on dips could be a great way for you to fall in love with online dating. And if that happens, just remember: We were the matchmaker that ‘fixed you up’ with this big-profit Disruptor.”
If you listened – and acted – you’re at least a little in love this week.
If you waited until the end of the day (June 12), and bought IAC, you’d own the shares at roughly $75.93. It made a new high of $82.40 last week, and closed at $80.48.
So where’s what you should do now.
If you bought IAC shares, hold onto them to get the Match shares when that company is spun out.
Whether you bought IAC shares or not, I recommend buying more shares (or opening a new position) if IAC dips to $77. I’d buy more if it dips to $75, or $70, and I’d definitely be buying more shares if the stock drops to $65.
On a position that I like, I view “averaging down” like this: By accumulating shares at lower prices, I’m bringing down my average cost. What I do then is take my average cost and figure out from there how much I’m willing to lose – and not cry – if the trade goes against me.
In the case of IAC I’d get out of my shares if the stock falls below $60. It shouldn’t go down there. If it does, something’s really wrong, and I’d take my loss and move on.
Sure, I’d cry a little. I’m pretty good at making money – and I hate losing it.
I don’t expect IAC to dip anywhere near that low on its own. But if the market takes a dive on account of Greece defaulting – which is still a possibility – then all stocks could take a hit.
But just because they take a hit doesn’t mean they won’t rebound.
And IAC/Interactive is one of those shares – that over the long haul – I believe will rebound… a lot.
During that same long-run time frame, a “cheap” (low-stock-price) date with IAC/Interactive and Match Group will turn into a meaningful relationship.
We started today’s visit by talking about “stories.” And the scenario I’ve sketched out for you today will turn into one of those “how we met” tales that will be retold over and over again at family gatherings… for years to come.
One day, in fact, you’ll be telling this story at your “Golden Anniversary” … literally.
[Editor’s Note: My colleague, Michael Robinson, has found a tiny company that could be the next big biotech. For the past year he’s been investigating a new technology that’s based on a Nobel Prize winning discovery. This technology could critically impact the lives of 16.2 million Americans. Here’s the best part, though. It could generate $29.8 billion a year in new revenue for one small company that’s dominating the market. And by getting in right now, you could be positioned to see quadruple-digit gains as this breakthrough takes hold. Click here for details.]
It’s true. Starting sometime next year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) – the poster child Wall Street investment bank of the 1% of the 1% of the superrich – is going to lend money to the remaining 99% of consumer borrowers.
Don’t bother getting all suited up with hat in hand for a visit to a local branch of Goldman Sachs Bank USA (with its $73 billion in deposits) – there won’t be one.
And don’t even think about walking into the bank’s office at 200 West Street in New York City – you won’t get passed security.
However, with Goldman’s new lending strategy, that walk-in access won’t be required.
Goldman Sachs, you see, is getting into online banking.
This new venue of borrowing was known as P2P, or peer-to-peer lending – until big money transformed the P2P moniker into “power-to-profit.”
And as we’ve been predicting for some time, P2P lending is creating a big moneymaking opportunity for you…
Just to remind you, in the peer-to-peer arena little folks make loans to other little folks through an intermediary site like LendingClub Corp. (NYSE: LC).
Borrowers seeking money to consolidate credit card debt, pay for a home renovation or pay for school can be funded by creditors like you and me who have some cash to lend and want to collect a higher interest rate than we can get anywhere else.
Of course, as lenders we’d face “repayment risk.”
And that’s where institutions stepped in – in a big, big way big way
All Knowing… and All Powerful
If you or I fund a personal loan and we get stiffed, we’re going to feel the sting. One way to not feel it so much is to have a lot of money to lend, to make lots of loans and to be diversified across a wide spectrum of borrowers. That way, the high interest rates you earn as a lender – across a large loan book – will tend to offset a small-but-expected number of defaults… generating a still high rate of return on your investment.
Goldman Sachs knows that. More importantly, Goldman knows how to assess risk – and is even creating newfangled models that are designed to calculate all the risks of this new lending market. It also has access to enough money to make billions of dollars in new consumer loans. And it has access to the technology needed to create lending platforms in cyberspace.
Add all this together, and it’s clear Goldman Sachs believes it has the muscle to become a serious player in the consumer lending business.
Make no mistake: This isn’t a kinder, gentler Goldman Sachs bending over backward to help little borrowers.
Truth be told, if you want a truly accurate picture, consider what Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone famously wrote about Goldman back in 2009: “The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”
And it’s clear that right here… Goldman Sachs smells money.
Lots of money.
The multitentacled bank recently hired Harit Talwar, the former chief marketing officer of Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS), and bestowed upon him the coveted Goldman Sachs’ “partner” status. Talwar’s mission: Build the investment bank’s online lending business.
While the unit is expected to hire as many as 100 people and be up and running next year, there’s no indication that Goldman will attach its storied-and-disparaged corporate name to the venture.
Getting Your Share
Goldman Sachs has never been a “retail” bank. And achieving meaningful success in a hard-scrabble business that makes personal loans at relatively high interest rates to consumers who are often consolidating numerous credit card bills will be a challenge. The fact that these customers – and the organizations that “protect” them – aren’t afraid to poke their lenders in the eye will make this initiative an even greater challenge.
But thanks to Goldman’s research, the company’s leaders smell money. Of the $843 billion in outstanding consumer loans, Goldman Sachs says about $209 billion worth of personal loans – creating $4.6 billion in profits – is there for the taking by new online lenders.
And Goldman wants its piece.
Goldman Sachs Bank USA will more than likely make loans directly to borrowers through the venture’s online platform. Eventually, the investment-banking firm plans to fund billions’ worth of loans by selling certificates of deposit (CDs) to investors that are backed by Goldman’s balance sheet and overall creditworthiness. Low-interest rate CDs are a cheap means of financing loan growth and will have little impact on the Goldman Sachs’ reserve requirements.
In short order, for fat fees, Goldman will securitize and structure its loans and sell the various “tranches” to institutional investors.
The magic elixir Goldman expects to mix into its new business is its technology and risk-management prowess. If Goldman can create risk measures – in other words, its own proprietary ratings metrics – to accurately assess risk profiles of the borrowers it lends to, it can manage every aspect of financing, lending and collections perhaps better than its competitors and own a big chunk of the online lending business.
Why else venture down the path of the masses of unwashed borrowers?
Back in April when I wrote about P2P lending and how it’s a better deal for borrowers on those sites than individual lenders, I recommended a couple of high-yielding alternative investments for would-be “mom and pop” lenders.
Both of these profit plays are “business-development corporations,” or BDCs, which I explained in my report to you. One was Apollo Investment Corp. (Nasdaq: AINV), with a 10.2% “pass-through yield.”
And the other was Goldman Sachs BDC Inc. (NYSE: GSBD), with an 8% yield.
Why do I like the Goldman Sachs BDC? Because Goldman knows how to make money.
I have no doubt – whatsoever – that if Goldman brands its online-lending venture properly, and markets it extensively, it will add to Goldman’s revenue, net profits and probably stock price.
And what will a successful Goldman venture do to existing online lending platforms like LendingClub?
Stay tuned: I’m closely watching all the players in the space – and am analyzing their businesses and their stocks – and will let you know which ones are worth your investment dollars and which ones you’re better off borrowing from.
No, we’re not talking about a “kinder, gentler” Goldman Sachs.
But we are talking about the investment bank so good at what it does that it all but prints profits.
And with this foray into online lending, it’s going to print some profits for you.
P.S. I recently sat down with Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon to record a battle plan for the coming big crash in the global bond market. Bill and I discuss the worrisome lack of liquidity in the markets and how that threatens bonds and stocks. Then we detail a profit-making strategy you can use to play this crisis. You can listen to our conversation now. Let me know what you think of it by posting a comment below.
Bond market volatility in the face of serious liquidity issues is making front-page news.
That’s no surprise to us: We’ve been talking about the dangers of low market liquidity for some time. That dwindling liquidity is a “Disruptor,” or catalyst, that will eventually destabilize first bonds – and then stocks.
Suddenly, others are discovering this danger. There’s a rising cautionary chorus from such luminaries as doomsdayer economist Nouriel Roubini; the always-smiling (look and you’ll see that it’s true) Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) president and COO, Gary Cohn; departing (because his bank’s been fined billions) Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE: DB) Co-CEO Anshu Jain; and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) CEO (and self-appointed bank-sector cheerleader) Jamie Dimon.
Those leaders – and others – are openly voicing the same warning: The bond markets are headed for trouble.
And a new “fix” that’s being “worked up” only makes the calamitous scenario I’ve sketched out for you all the more likely.
It also boosts the success probability and the payoff potential of the liquidity-crisis profit opportunities I’ve been sharing with you here…
Let’s take another look at the triggers for this crisis in the making. Then let me show you how a solution that Wall Street is working on even as I write this will shove the bond market even deeper into the danger zone.
The whole U.S Federal Reserve quantitative-easing (QE) push took trillions of dollars of U.S. Treasury securities out of circulation. At the same time, tougher restrictions on the once-swashbuckling trading operations at big banks reduced the number of deep-pocketed bond-trading desks.
Nestled between the mattress of QE and the soft linen of big-time bond traders, high-frequency trading (HFT) desks were like bond-market bed bugs living off the blood of their hosts.
The result, of course, is a serious lack of liquidity. And because less liquidity means greater volatility, we now face a greater likelihood of flash crashes and other disruptions for fair and stable trading.
We’re now at the point, though, where even Wall Street admits there’s a problem.
Prompted by embedded Wall Street “fixers” – I’m talking about the temporarily ex-investment bankers you’ll find at Washington lobbying firms and even within the ranks of regulators overseeing the Street – the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is holding two crucial meetings to tackle the bond market liquidity mess.
The first meeting – a closed-door session at FINRA’s offices in LowerManhattan – was held Thursday and was supposed to address the lack of depth in the $7.8 trillion market for U.S. corporate bonds. The second meeting – set for July 1 – is supposed to be a forum for proposing fixes.
FINRA is a private corporation and a self-regulator, meaning it polices its own. So I predicted the first meeting would be a waste of time – a bunch of self-serving bond blowhards reading canned speeches, whining about their problems and calling for action to save the world.
Then, remarkably, on July 1, a fix will be brought up and everyone will say: “That’s it!”
The “fix is in” because the alleged market fix is already being pushed. To fix the problem of volatility, the biggest players in bond trading want less transparency in trading, not more.
To fix volatility, as they’ve framed the problem, the fixers want to post bond-trading data (the prices bonds are bought and sold for) not right away – and not within the 15-minute “window” current rules give them for disclosing prices on some bonds – but by the next day…
Because, you know, they’re busy.
We’re Getting You Ready
I’m not kidding about the “solution” Wall Street is proposing.
That’s Wall Street’s answer to the volatility and liquidity threat: Don’t report until tomorrow the trades you’ve made today.
As big bond traders see it, that’s the proper fix. In fact, from their self-serving point of view, it’s positively brilliant.
Think about it. Big traders see prices falling. But because they don’t have to post those prices until the next day, they won’t create a panic that would be exacerbated by increasingly illiquid and volatile markets.
So they’ll be able to sell all their inventory to unsuspecting institutions, mutual funds, you and me – indeed, anybody they can sell them to under the guise of a free market that’s actually rigged in Wall Street’s favor.
The panic will come the next day.
If this isn’t the most egregiously vulgar fix to a problem the fixers caused themselves, I don’t know what is. In fact, it’s downright frightening.
And precisely because it’s so frightening where we’re headed, the profit scenarios I’ve shared with you are gaining even greater upsides. I’ve detailed trades (some long and some short) in bonds and in banks. And I’m also looking at big opportunities in certain currencies.
This growing cacophony of concern about low liquidity and how that could hammer the bond market isn’t a surprise to us. When this crash finally happens, most investors – both institutions and individuals – will panic.
But thanks to the preparations we’re making together, you’ll not only be positioned to lessen the personal fallout of the eventual crash… you’ll even be able to cash in.
And I will continue to watch this for you.
[Editor’s Note: Shah recently sat down with Money Morning Executive Editor Bill Patalon to record a battle plan for the coming big crash in the global bond market. Bill and Shah discuss the worrisome lack of liquidity in the markets and how that threatens bonds and stocks. Then they detail a profit-making strategy you can use to play this crisis. You can listen to their conversation now. Let us know if you like it.]
Earlier this week on Fox Business, Stuart Varney grilled Shah about which stocks he would buy – and which ones he won’t touch.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) is one company Shah says he’ll happily avoid. The stock, he says, is hugely overpriced, and increasing difficulties sourcing its organic products will create financial problems for the company. In line with his thinking, Chipotle’s stock price is fading – and Shah’s glad neither he nor his subscribers are shareholders.
Tune in to the video below to find out whether Shah is or isn’t buying Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) as well as several other big names.
Though not many folks know this, the credit crisis-spawned stock market crash of 2007-’09 created a hefty number of millionaires
There’s a reason for this, and that reason sits inside the simple market maxim that every crisis is accompanied by big opportunities.
As I’ve been telling you, thanks to the mess that’s been created in Europe, the global bond market – which dwarfs the stock market – is careening toward a major crash that governments and central bankers will be powerless to stop. And that bond-market collapse will serve as “Ground Zero” for freefalls in stocks and other financial assets.
However, if you act quickly, you won’t need to panic.
Today, I’m talking with Money Map Press Executive Editor William Patalon III about just us what to expect – and about what you should be doing… including specific investments you should be making.
The Moves to Make Now
For a savvy few, this crisis will turn into the greatest wealth creator of our lifetimes.
In this conversation with Bill Patalon, we go into thorough detail on the coming bond market crash – and I give you a personal tour of the moves to make now.
And don’t worry if you can’t catch everything.
After our conversation is over, I’ll deliver to you a free briefing that details my strategy – and even identifies the specific investments to make now.
[Editor’s Note: If you like what Bill Patalon has to say and you’re interested in making a triple-digit return over the next 30 to 60 days, then he has a unique way for you to get updates on this fast-moving situation – and to profit every day. Details here.]
In last week’s report on Social Disruptors, I told you about my foray into online dating.
I appreciated all the comments, stories and advice that you shared, and I promised to tell you how my own experience turned out.
The “hot date” I told you about ended up being lukewarm. (The photos she’d posted of herself were about 10 years old – from a “happier” time in her life, she told me.)
But that’s okay… that’s the great thing about online dating – it’s easy to meet other people.
In fact, this reminded me of my days in the trading pits: If a promising opportunity didn’t work out as hoped, you took the loss quickly and moved on – knowing there were lots of other opportunities out there.
In a world where folks are busier than ever, that ability to find new opportunities – to easily meet new people – is the big attraction to online dating. That’s why it’s become a $2 billion business.
And that leads me to an online site that might be a really good investment, Match.com LLC
Barry the Billionaire
When it comes to online dating, Match.com is the biggest player in the game and may be worth a date with some of your investing dollars.
One reason I like Match.com is that the venture has already been matched up itself.
Match.com is part of the Match Group. The Match Group includes the free online dating service OkCupid and Tinder, the newest and hottest dating service in the market.
But you can’t buy shares in the Match Group – at least not yet (I’ll explain that in a minute) – because the Match Group isn’t an independent company.
You can, however, invest in the company that owns the Match Group. That company is billionaire Barry Diller‘s conglomeration of Internet-media assets that goes by the name IAC/InterActiveCorp (Nasdaq: IACI).
IAC/Interactive has a lot of brands you know, including HomeAdvisor, About.com, Ask.com, Investopedia, Dictionary.com, The Daily Beast, Vimeo and lots of others.
But it is IAC’s Match Group that I’m “in like” with. The Match Group within IAC includes Match.com, OkCupid, Chemistry.com and Tinder.
Match.com, on its own, operates in 24 countries and 15 languages. It’s one of the brightest stars in the IAC portfolio. But Tinder is coming up fast and management thinks it’s going to be a huge revenue generator down the road.
A Heck of a Track Record
One reason I like the Match Group is that according to the last 2014 Pew Internet Survey, 59% of respondents considered online dating a “good way” to meet people. That’s up from 44% in 2005.
Another reason I like the Match Group is that it’s the big revenue source at IAC. While IAC’s stock has done well in 2014 and 2015, and is a whisper away from its 52-week highs, it’s the Match Group that interests me. And the fact that the Match Group is set up within the company as an almost self-contained business with its own management leads me to believe it might be in Diller’s best interest to have IAC spin off the Match Group.
Diller’s no stranger to piecing together and splitting up assets. He spun Ticketmaster out of IAC, and it later merged with Live Nation Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: LYV). And he spun Expedia Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) out of IAC, which has and it’s been a grand slam for investors in that stock.
I would love to see the Match Group spun out of IAC and become an independently traded company. If that happens – and the possibility exists for sure – I’d be a big buyer of the stock. If that happens, you might want to pick up some shares, too.
(If you already own shares of IAC, there’s also a chance the Match Group gets spun out to existing IAC shareholders.)
In the meantime, you can buy shares of IAC/Interactive. I like the company, mostly because of the Match Group. But with more than $3.14 billion in revenue and a net profit of more than $440 million, Diller’s company is worth buying.
The Way to Play
While I like buying IAC, I’m nervous about the stock market here. That means I’d study IAC and see where the shares might drop to if the market swoons and takes all stocks down with it.
I’ve talked about that. I hope you’re in tune with what’s going on out there.
Given everything we’ve talked about, here’s what I would recommend.
I’d be looking to pick up some IAC shares if I can get them at $70. But because I think we’re headed for a rough few months ahead, I’d recommend buying more IAC if it drops to $65 – and loading up if the stock drops to $60, which it could do if the market takes a hit.
The only thing is, if you wait to pick up shares a lot lower, you may not get a chance. The market could climb the current “wall of worry” and go a lot higher before it eventually “corrects.”
Barring a Match Group spinoff, smartly buying IAC shares and adding to your position on dips could be a great way for you to fall in love with online dating.
And if that happens, just remember: We were the matchmaker that “fixed you up” with this big-profit Disruptor.
[Editor’s Note: Shah wants to hear from you. Whether we’re talking about comments, questions or suggestions, Shah sees everything. Feel free to post your submissions below.]
How far can this stock go? That’s what Shah wants to know. Between rising costs, great momentum and controversial growth, Shah says Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) may have finally reached its peak.
That’s not the only topic Shah dug into on Fox Business today. Before he left, Shah forecast just how high Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) stock is going to go – and let us know what he thinks the latest announcement from Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) means for stockholders.
For that and more, just check out the video below.
A week ago, in a strategy piece detailing ways to handle the looming bond-market crash, I recommended shorting the iShares PLC Markit iBoxx Euro High Yield Bond ETF (LON: IHYG).
Several readers wrote in to say that “not every brokerage lets you buy this.” Some do, in fact: In this day and age, many brokerages let you buy any shares, anywhere. But for those of you whose brokerages won’t let you, I wanted to give you an alternative.
We want a trade that gives us the exposure we want, which is a bet on falling bond prices – both sovereign and corporate – across Europe.
It’s hard to find an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that gives us this type of exposure. Some of the instruments that come close don’t have the liquidity we need to be able to get in and out easily.
And the rest don’t fit the trade profile we want.
However, there’s another way to play falling bond prices across Europe…
If bond prices fall, banks and financial institutions holding them will take a tumble, too.
So, if you want exposure to falling European bond prices, I recommend shorting the iShares Trust iShares MSCI Europe Financials ETF (Nasdaq: EUFN).
My recommendation would be to short EUFN here at $23.25 or higher. Personally, I have a high tolerance for risk (that’s because I have the capital to risk), so I would short an equal additional amount at $24.50, more at $25.50 and more at $26.50, which is the ETF’s 52-week high.
If you “average up” on this short, you’d be short at an average price of $25. I’d cover my shares at $27.50 if the ETF makes a new high there. I’d accept a 10% loss – with a frown, for sure. But a 10% loss is acceptable to me.
Another way to play a drop in this ETF would be to buy the October $21 Puts options. I’d pay 50 cents apiece for them. However, because timing is a lot tougher with options – and because if the puts expire worthless you’ll lose everything you invest in this trade – I’d risk a lot less than what I’d be willing to put down to short the stock.
Of course, if EUFN drops like a stone and ends up below $20 by expiration, the put options will have a much higher return.
You also don’t have to wait until expiration to sell your puts. If you want to cut your loss in the case the trade goes against you, you can sell them at any time. And you can sell them before expiration to potentially make a killing if EUFN drops a lot before expiration.
Have at it – and good luck to us!
[Editor’s Note: Today’s column was a response to a reader question. Shah likes to hear from you, and welcomes your questions and comments.]
Even though I’m technically “semiretired,” I work all the time.
I write, which I love, invest, which I love, am starting up a new venture, which I love doing, and I have lots of friends, all of whom I love.
So my life is busy – very busy – but it isn’t completely full.
I don’t make time to go out and find someone. And – no surprise to anyone – no one comes knocking at my door saying, “Hi there, I’ve wanted to meet you.”
I’m betting that lots of you are in a similar situation.
My good friend Bill told me I was “antediluvian” (which I had to look up) and that I should join this century and go online. So, I did.
Without going into which service I’m on, I’m only on one, all I’ll say about it is… it’s great.
Now let me tell you why – as investors – you need to pay attention to it…
The Fabulous ’60s
Online dating is a phenomenal Disruptor of Disruptors. It’s a “Social Disruptor” – and it underscores that these agents of change don’t have to relate to technology or finance to still have a major impact on the world.
And to create opportunities for massive investing profits…
So-called “computer dating” has been around since the 1960s. In fact, there’s an interesting story about that.
A student project at Stanford University (big surprise there) became the first-known computer-dating service when an IBM 650 determined similarities between 98 subjects based on a 30-question profile.
There was little romance in the punch cards for participants, but the students received an “A.”
In 1966, an Indiana University graduate created “Project Flame,” which was pitched as another of the “computer-dating services” that were becoming popular then.
Students again filled out punch-card questionnaires, but were not actually matched using a computer. Instead, the Indiana grad and his friends randomly shuffled the cards together – providing the “illusion” of a computerized expertise.
A realer experience was created that same year by two Harvard University undergraduates, Jeff Tarr and Vaughn Morrill. Within months of being launched, this computerized dating system – known as Operation Match – received 8,000 applicants (52% of them women) from nearby universities and colleges.
Kind of like the early version of Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) – a massive Social Disruptor, itself, and one that underscores the profit potential of this people-focused agent of change – the target audience for Operation Match was Ivy League-type schools like Harvard, Yale, Vassar, Amherst, Williams and Mount Holyoke. Within nine months, and using rented time on mainframe computers, Morrill and Tarr attracted 90,000 applicants and grossed $270,000.
In a famous statement, Tarr told an interviewer that “we’re not trying to take the love out of love. We’re just trying to make it more efficient.”
Computer dating has morphed into online dating. And it’s gone from being a bit of frivolity focused on college kids to a mainstream business worth more than $2 billion a year – and with incredible “ripple effect” potential.
If you have any doubt, start paying attention to TV commercials. There are those serial messages from eHarmony.com, others from Match.com and the spots from CougarLife.com that are definite attention-getters. And those are just a few of the ones you’ll see if you watch carefully.
The Survey Says…
Say what you want about all those TV spots, one thing is clear: Online dating is changing the world.
The world is changing because people are changing. I’m talking about people being born, growing up, moving, getting married, staying single, and getting old and dying.
I’m talking about the cycle of life. But I’m also talking about demographics: the statistical study of human populations.
Demographics are changing… rapidly. And those changes are disrupting everything.
The biggest demographic change the world is experiencing right now is its aging population and low birth rates, both of which are problems in terms of economics.
Within that dynamic there are the married and single demographics. And that, in turn, pretty much determines the planet’s birth rate.
I’m smack dab in the middle of that dynamic.
I’m aging, and I also don’t have kids – meaning I’m part of the low-birth-rate issue.
While I don’t think I’m a problem, nor do I think being single is a problem, being single is a Social Disruptor phenomenon.
I’ll cover the single economy and all the disruptions that stem from that new paradigm, but today I want to talk about being single.
I’m doing my part, thanks to new disruptor options for singles, to not be single, and who knows, maybe one day I’ll do my part for population growth. But I’ll get to that.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS), 50.2% of America’s 248.2 million people are single. The most recent statistics say that 30.4% of those singles have never been married (I checked that box) and 19.8% are divorced.
Sixty percent of singles in the U.S. have been single for five years or more. I easily fall into the “more” category.
One poll I read (I’ve been doing my own polling of singles lately, but I’ll get to that) found that 38% of single women surveyed felt stigmatized by being single, while only 29% of men felt there was a stigma attached to “being single.” I’m not in that polled group.
What I want to talk about is dating in the single world we live in today. You know, that thing that comes, sometimes, before getting married, which sometimes leads to kids.
While dating is the same as it ever was – you know how it works – how you get a date has completely changed.
Sure, the old tried-and-true methods of meeting other people are still being used – or, at least, most of them are. (Trust me on that.)
But the Disruptor of Disruptors for me being single and wanting to meet “available” women is online dating.
It’s brilliant. It’s changed my life. I actually had a date a couple of weeks ago.
That’s all I have time to talk about today. That’s because I have a hot date – and I’m not kidding.
Are any of you dating through an online dating service? If you have any PG-rated stories (PG 13 is okay, too) – and hopefully there are lots of happy endings – leave them in the comment box below.
Then I can show you how big a Social Disruptor online dating actually is.
After that, I’ll come back and show you how we can make money on this massive agent of social change – both directly and through the “spin-off” benefits it is creating.
Have a great weekend.
[Editor’s Note: We encourage you all to “like” and “follow” Shah on Facebook and Twitter. Once you’re there, we’ll work together to uncover the biggest Disruptors – and then bank some sky-high profits.]