Innovation That Matters

'Social concierge' helps find new friends, not dates

Work & Lifestyle

There are countless dating sites out there for consumers interested in that kind of matchmaking, and Facebook does an excellent job of supplying most users with myriad online “friends.” What can still be a challenge, however, is meeting real people to hang out with on the weekend. Meet Joe is a new, low-tech alternative to Facebook and its ilk that requires no online profile but relies on personal introductions instead. Serving the Chicago area, Meet Joe focuses on introducing people to new friends based on their interests and the kinds of people they want to meet. Users begin by signing up with the service online—that may actually be the last time they use its website. From there, Joe Drake, the company’s founder, will contact them personally via email to set up a confidential meeting over coffee or a drink. Based on their description of who they’re hoping to find, Joe will then coordinate an opportunity for them to meet someone or a small group of people—he’ll even help coordinate schedules and recommend an activity based on everyone’s personalities, interests and preferences. Once the get-together has happened, Joe follows up with the user for feedback and guidance on subsequent recommendations. The site explains: “Joe is like a great tailor or a trusted real estate agent, but he doesn’t have an assistant and he never takes a day off. You’ll be able to reach him by email, phone, text, or instant message within 24 hours unless he is in jail, a coma, or the world is ending.” The price of a personal consultation and one meeting with potential friends is USD 29. Our sister site covers myriad examples of mass mingling in last month’s trend briefing, but Meet Joe is striking for its low-tech simplicity and boutique-like focus on individual attention. The world did make friends before Facebook, after all, and it was generally through personal introductions. One to emulate in other parts of the world…? (Related: Five online services for getting together offlineOnline network for tweens requires offline introductions.)



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