We talked to the Co-Founder of Hater, the dating app for people that hate the same things
“More than anything, people seem to think it’s really fun.”
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In “Modern Romance,” Aziz Ansari argues that the conventional myth of romantic love is a flawed societal construct that has been complicated by technology and, more specifically, the proliferation of choice thanks to texting, social media and—of course—the apps.
It’s a cynical outlook for bright-eyed and bushy-tailed daters, but for realists, this perspective presents breath of fresh air. In a world of constant swiping, matching and un-matching, sometimes the outlook isn’t so sunny. In fact, it’s often quite bleak.
That’s why one Brooklyn-based startup is on a mission to spark love through hate. Aptly called Hater, the newest dating app on the block is approaching the market from a completely different angle. Whereas most existing apps aim to match people on mutual interests and passions, Hater seeks to bring people together over mutual hatreds: slow-walkers, paying extra for guac—and yes, even Donald Trump.
We sat down with Hater co-founder Brendan Alper to learn why he believes the key to finding love is through honesty, even when that candor can be construed as negative, and what the team has been up to ahead of the iOS app’s Feb. 8 launch.
Tell us about your theory that mutual dislikes can bring people closer than shared interests.
The things we hate say a lot about who we are. Sometimes they are petty, or embarrassing, but we’re doing ourselves a disservice by keeping them a secret until a second or third or fourth date. There’s science that says mutual dislikes bring people closer together than mutual interests—but we don’t need science to tell us it’s easier to vibe with someone when you know you both hate chunky peanut butter and Harry Potter. Embracing what we hate, rather than shying away from it, makes for a realer experience.
Hater has been in beta mode for a few months now. What has been the feedback so far?
More than anything, people seem to think it’s really fun. We’ve heard stories of friends sitting around and swiping through topics together for hours. Our goal was to create something that people enjoyed, besides just swiping on people… that was definitely our biggest accomplishment.
So, how does Hater work? Walk us through what a first-timer would experience upon downloading your app.
After downloading Hater, you’re presented with a list of random topics that range from “carbs” to “building the wall.” By swiping in one of four directions, you indicate whether you love, hate, like or dislike a given topic—and this information appears in your profile. As you work your way through the topics, Hater uses the data to find your most compatible matches. You can anonymously swipe through the other Haters at any time, but the more topics you answer, the better your recommendations will be.
Why did you decide to launch your company in Brooklyn?
Brooklyn is where Haters thrive. It’s full of people across all walks of life—and yet, mutually hating the G Train and slow-walking tourists have bound us together. I’ve also been living here for awhile, so I couldn’t imagine starting a company anywhere else.
What do you say to critics who might argue that the dating world is negative enough, without an app devoted to disliking things? What’s Hater’s silver lining?
The online dating world is negative because dating apps suck right now. The process has become so formalized and repetitive. We just want people to laugh and have some fun when they meet online—just like in real life.
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