Why I created a matchmaking program…for myself

“So, why are you single?”
Supply chain issues

I recently launched my own matchmaking program, which you can find here: ozchen.com/matchmaker.

The tl;dr: if you introduce me to my future wife, then you will be paid a matchmaker’s reward. I’m just cutting out the middle man.


This idea is not original. One of my friends told us she’d pay a reward to find her husband. I noticed how this “activated” my group of friends. Suddenly there was a buzz, an excitement in the air about the prospect of playing matchmaker.

There are also more extreme and creative measures like the dating app featuring only 1 guy, or the Facebook ads as a dating profile.

I love a good pun, and my new CampFi friend Michelle Varghese had put together a “Re-arranged marriage” program for herself.

What we’re all doing are just personal twists on the OG classifieds ad.

What I learned asking friends for help

Online dating has eclipsed all other ways that heterosexual couples have met (Stanford study), in recent years displacing “meeting through friends” as the reigning champ.

But that doesn’t mean these efforts are mutually exclusive. I continue online dating, as well as meet through friends.

I’m a strong believer that asking is free, so I asked friends if they knew people who might suit me.
The conversation would usually fade into the background.
“I’ll let you know if I think of someone!”

Once I created the matchmaker program and told friends they’ll get paid for helping me meet my future wife, something unexpected happened.

They immediately pulled out their phones and started thinking of contacts who might be a good match.

My take: it’s less about the money, and more about the immediacy and clarity of my ask.

It’s like the difference between knowing your friend cares about a cause, versus them starting a fundraiser for that cause.

But…why create a matchmaking program?

I started with a Google doc outlining basics of what’s expected out of matchmaking.

The more I told my friends about this challenge, the more excitement—and questions—I got.

How much is the reward again? Who can I refer you? Do I just text you if I know someone?

So I decided to design things a bit and created the following assets:

If nothing else, putting together the following was a good personal exercise that helped me define what I’m looking for. I had to get clearer not only about my relationship goals, but also how to best empower my friends to help.

Why share this online with strangers?

Mainly because I like community-driven experiments that get a wider surface area via blogging. In the past I’ve met new friends through second-degree dinners and 2 hour cocktail parties. I like musing about the people who connect us all.

There’s also the strength of weak ties, a social phenomenon in which “People with whom you have weaker ties are more likely to have information or connections that are useful and relevant.”

Extending the invitation for anyone who finds my matchmaking program online increases the likelihood of meeting someone I otherwise wouldn’t have met. Especially if your referral is not on dating apps or wasn’t actively looking.

Case in point: I even met one of my closest friends online.

Aside: I like to document things in a way that can scale, versus repeating things. That’s how I started my design blog (which led to side income and being a digital nomad). Then, writing about content design arguably led me to the last 5 years of my career. So I’m very biased towards “put this online and see what happens.”

The response thus far

The experiment is live and working! Long after telling my friends about the matchmaking…it’s still taking up real estate in their minds!

They’ve been sending me potential matches and setting up introductions. An unexpected surprise is that this has been a fun way to connect with friends, and even seeing friends connect over a common goal (for which I am the lucky recipient). I’m grateful for my friends and community. Really, thank you.

If you’re interested in setting up something like this yourself, reach out to me via my newsletter and I’ll hook you up with a copy-able template.

If you’re interested in becoming a matchmaker for me, check out my project here:

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