How PlentyOfFish’s “Work Hard, Play Complex” Heritage Generated Their Success

The brief Version: Whether it’s hosting quarterly hack-a-thons, taking company ski retreats, developing intuitive features, or keeping in-office pleased many hours, the people at have found the most wonderful stability between working hard and playing tough — and it’s paid down. Since the 2003 release, this Vancouver-based business went from becoming a one-person start-up and a unique title when you look at the internet dating industry to a group of 75 innovative men and women and something of the most profitable websites of the sort.


It might be fantastic to have a profession enabling you to make revolutionary items that have a real affect some people’s resides, find out new things on a daily basis, plus go bobsledding with co-workers whom’re such as your best friends.

At PlentyOfFish, that is just what actually the group gets to do.

Launched in 2003 and fearlessly led by online entrepreneur Markus Frind, POF features always had a hardworking attitude, dedication to the members, and unique business society. Causing all of that has cemented the site as one of the most useful and largest in the matchmaking space — with 100 million registered users and 50,000 brand-new singles joining day-after-day.

To obtain some special insights and personal stories about existence at PlentyOfFish, we spoke with three veteran staff from three various departments — PR management Shannon Smith, VP of profits Optimization Kim Kaplan, and Director of technology Chris Simpson.

A Diverse & Talented Team of 75 has Different Skills on Table

From marketing to company to tech to HR, the divisions at POF are only since different because men and women. Shannon (which began as an individual solution associate this year and rapidly relocated up to PR supervisor) mentioned while there’s not a typical brand of PlentyOfFish worker, an important situations they will have in common are their own appealing characters and drive to always grasp their work.

“It is an entire mixture of each person, and it is interesting observe how good everybody will get along,” she stated.

It doesn’t matter who you communicate with, if they’ve been there for decade or 10 times, it’s the understanding employees get from interacting with a lot of special people whois the undetectable gem regarding the business.

“you will find things you simply understand because you’ve been around or since you’ve tried it or perhaps you recall a conversation — you can’t show that,” said Kim, VP of income Optimization.

And perhaps that is what Kim provides liked probably the most — understanding from variety of individuals who’ve are available aboard.

“cooperating with Markus and everybody throughout the last many years happens to be the most remarkable encounters,” she said.

The Optimization Folks Interpret Member Behavior to Improve Their Processes

Kim, who’s been making use of the organization for more than seven years, met Markus through shared buddies and joined the POF team when there are only several folks on staff members.

When it comes to day-to-day existence, Kim and her team are go-tos for looking at information, examining fashions, after which determining what’s causing shifts in individual behavior. A large part of their job is actually A/B examination — researching details like web page templates, material, and features observe what is performing better and where there’s space for enhancement.

“that has been the focus in the last a couple of years — split screening product changes and scaling that out, but usually we see our very own numbers and ensure that individuals’re continuously transferring an optimistic direction in regards to our key metrics. Which has been a key to our success,” she stated.

Designers utilize their own Expertise to really make the website Functional & Instinctive

On the technical side of things, Director of technology Chris came on 5 years in the past features played a substantial role in growing your website’s smartphone programs and broadening that particular group to 45 powerful. Each of them have unique areas of expertise (e.g., new iphone vs. Android knowledge) and make use of those abilities to produce a positive affect the user experience each and every day.

“I try to keep a practical method. My time generally features employing people and helping all of them establish features without producing some major fall within income figures or modification for our customers,” he said.

Among techy activities the entire organization becomes associated with that’s outside the box for most of them — but adds a lot to the organization growth — could be the quarterly hack-a-thon. For 2 days workers, if they’re tech-savvy or otherwise not, ought to create prototypes of features and methods they are planning to put into action on the webpage.

“very often those projects get directly into generation or they truly are the inspiration for future characteristics, which allows people enjoy imagination and try some thing out they haven’t attempted prior to,” Chris mentioned. “which is a very important factor that keeps all of our tradition friendly and creative.”

Office-Wide Events develop Camaraderie & Establish the POF Brand

The common 9-5, cubicle work environment is actually slowly passing away out — being replaced by one which boosts productivity, encourages co-workers to get to know each other, and leads to more content men and women. And this refers to another aspect PlentyOfFish excels at.

An Open-Office Concept Creates a Fun & Inviting Atmosphere

The unbeatable company culture at POF is directly shown at the office setup — a giant open plan where everyone shuffles their seating around every couple of weeks being ignite creativity and make use of different departments.

There are several meeting rooms — all with spectacular views for the Pacific Ocean and hills that surround Vancouver — for larger meetings. Addititionally there is the Aquarium place, which will be a residential area space with bean handbags for folks taking care of their own laptops and all-hands conferences for discussing company targets and business events.

As well as absolutely a fully stocked drink and snack bar plus 4 p.m. delighted several hours every saturday — which permit workers to fairly share what projects they are dealing with, weekend programs, or anything that fosters connections.

“It really is a tremendously team-oriented atmosphere,” Shannon said.

Kim added this sort of setting is particularly good for staffers who happen to be new to Vancouver and alson’t developed a great circle of pals yet.

“making use of the men and women it works with, they’ve created strong bonds, which I think is actually priceless,” she said. “one of the center prices is relationships, and it also goes beyond the connections we create on the website additionally the individuals we link on a day-to-day basis, also into interactions we establish internally among all of our staff.”

Annual Team-Building Outings Turn Colleagues towards Family

To get staff members outside of the workplace and relating to both various other techniques besides work, PlentyOfFish keeps at least two company retreats annually, with activities like ziplining, drink tasting, and scavenger hunts. The most up-to-date one happened at Whistler Mountain, where workers spent two days snowboarding, eating and consuming, and playing team-building games.

Even though these occasions get “notoriously rowdy” and competitive, the camaraderie among everyone else of these vacations together is a vital aspect to building strong and reliable interactions throughout and outside of the workplace.

“i acquired clotheslined by a work colleagues once. You particular sabotage one another but in a fun, lively means,” Kim joked. “i can not show what an improvement it makes to possess that high quality time with your co-workers beyond that day-to-day work scenario.”

Chris went on to state that they think about one another a family group, whilst the firm is growing, with developed a communicative environment that is casual however expert.

“do not have some regulations. We do not have set instances in the future in and leave work, and no person wears a suit. Therefore enjoy it that way,” the guy said. “every person is actually encouraged to inquire. Some ideas may come from any place for the company. That is the part i truly cherish and want to keep.”

This “strive, Enjoy tricky” attitude Fosters Progress

At any organization, you’re usually gonna be faced with challenges, along with the POF staff having those tight-knit ties, they are able to quickly adjust to any circumstance and get over obstacles together.

“I think it’s really important that you discuss bonds to be able to browse and over come any barrier as a group in the place of separately,” Kim stated. “you can get frank discussions and, at the end of a single day, discuss your views with one another.”

From Chris’ point of view, this means everybody, particularly their fellow techies, can alter instructions if need-be without lacking a defeat.

“If someone’s been spending so much time on some feature and we opt to proceed to something else entirely, if everybody’s for a passing fancy team and you are interacting, that’s OK. We are able to react really,” he said. “No one’s extremely defensive by what they are doing in addition to their work, so are there no tips plus it implies we can move rapidly and adapt quickly.”

A People-Centered Focus Leads to significant Milestones for Everyone

While many people have a self-serving mindset at their own office, at PlentyOfFish a triumph for example person or one section is actually a success for the whole business. Shannon, Kim, and Chris were also kind sufficient to discuss the their favorite successes.

For Shannon, it came in 2013, whenever POF astonished a couple who found on the website with $100,000 commit toward their own dream wedding ceremony.

“its great to get results for a niche site that affects globally we live-in much. You never always can notice results your work has on individuals, so having the ability to see this pair enjoy and comprehending that we introduced all of them along was really special,” she stated.

Attaining the 100 million subscribed user level and starting this site’s now-leading smartphone programs are two minutes that will go lower in PlentyOfFish history for Kim.

“We turned into one of the first inside the dating business to improve cellular applications as well as step-up the video game and become among top apps in the software shop for online dating. That has been the unknown therefore effectively navigated that,” she mentioned.

Chris is especially proud of a number of the things people cannot observe that typically, like staff members keeping themselves accountable for their own tasks every day — studying what realy works and how much doesn’t and applying that to future tasks (your development staff in particular, discover TVs that stream this site live and program real-time metrics).

“we could log in to a challenge just it does occur, therefore we can cope with it and forecast issues in some locations and make sure we’re in front of the video game,” he mentioned.

Final Thoughts

With the contemporary features and methods, dedication to its people, and friendly nature, PlentyOfFish is performing huge situations for singles as well as the dating market overall. And it’s fantastic to see individuals behind this site are only as fun and down-to-earth even as we expected. We have showcased just some of their tales right here, but POF features books thoughts to generally share and create, so we are unable to hold off to know them.

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