As CEO of Plenty of Fish, Malgosia Green is at the helm of a company that has the ability to help positively impact millions of people’s lives every single day. During this time of temporary isolation and social distancing, it is crucial to maintain the connection of community more than ever before.
Prior to joining the dating industry, Malgosia worked for 14 years in education technology, serving as Chief Product Officer at Top Hat – an online teaching platform that motivates students to engage in course content. Malgosia was also Founder and CEO of Savvica, an online marketing company, that focussed on international education and served as Director of Product at Affinity Labs, an online business that builds networking sites for subgroups of the community such as nurses, and police officers.
Today, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Malgosia to talk more about her transition from ed-tech to the dating industry, and how Plenty of Fish is constantly evolving to meet the needs of human connection in this time of uncertainty.
Born in: Poland
Mother of: Two
Lives in: Vancouver
Joined Plenty of Fish as CEO: April 2018
Education: B.Sc. (Honours) in System Design Engineering from University of Waterloo
Featured in: Forbes, Canadian Business Magazine “20 Young Women in Power”, Elle Canada and Toronto Life
Malgosia, you moved from Toronto to Vancouver to join the Plenty of Fish team in April 2018, that’s a big move going from the East to the West Coast, what was your personal reason for joining the team?
The opportunity to lead a consumer facing internet company impacting so many people’s lives in such a profound way was something I couldn’t pass up. As soon as the opportunity came to me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the product and all the things I wanted to do with it.
On a personal level, my husband and I were ready to start a new chapter in our lives. I like change and being challenged; it is when I grow the most. There is nothing like uprooting your family, moving across the country and starting a new job in a new industry to shake things up.
How do you feel Plenty of Fish is disrupting the dating industry?
There is a lot of superficiality in society, especially since the rise of social media where people see the lives of others only through the lens of perfectly curated photo feeds. Singles feel more pressure to conform to these ideals than ever before. At Plenty of Fish, we’re focused on diving deep and listening to member feedback, looking at the data and making better informed product decisions. Our aim is to alleviate the pressure that surrounds dating today.
What is Plenty of Fish doing to help members during this time of social distancing due to COVID-19?
COVID-19 has certainly put a pause on in-person dating, but that doesn’t mean people have to stop dating altogether. I’m very proud of our team at Plenty of Fish who were able to pivot quickly and innovate to meet the heightened demand of digital connection during this time. In the last two weeks, we began rolling out a free livestreaming feature, called Live! to areas in the United States most impacted by Coronavirus. We want to encourage singles to “date from a distance” and maintain their human connections.
The roll out started in New York, Washington and California and was released to 100% app-users in the U.S. just last week. Our goal is to make the feature available to all global app-users before the end of this month. Members can livestream with friends, meet new people, play the dating game NextDate™, and most importantly, create and maintain relationships from afar. We’re excited and proud to introduce a creative way for singles to meet and stay connected.
What changes have you made already to help to alleviate the pressure of online dating?
It’s evident from our *research, that there is a need for more authentic connections and interactions. In fact, 84% of singles say they want more authenticity in dating, and think all face-filters should be banned. We listened and implemented an industry-first face filter ban, committing to an audit of 70 million images and removing face-filtered imagery from Plenty of Fish.
Following this ban, I’m particularly excited about our initiative called The Member Pod, which is an advisory council solely made up of Plenty of Fish members. Our community of members is the heart of our app and The Pod will consist of 6-10 unique people. They will be working closely with our product, design and marketing teams to help drive product innovation and a dating app experience that helps singles find what they’re looking for with less pressure. More specifically, members of The Pod will test and inform product updates and features. When it is safe to do so, I will also be personally sitting down with each of these members along with the rest of the executive team to glean insights and listen to what we, at Plenty of Fish, could be doing better to serve our members.
How are you finding the members for The Member Pod? And when will this council be officially launched?
We’re currently accepting applications for all Plenty of Fish members who are interested in joining The Pod and will be finalizing the council in the next few months.
Malgosia, you hold a Bachelor of Science in System Design Engineering and have held previous roles of Chief Product Officer, and Director of Product – what did you learn from your past experiences in these roles and what have you brought forward with you to Plenty of Fish?
Creating a great product requires synthesizing quantitative and qualitative inputs and my previous experiences have helped me develop these essential skills. My engineering background helped prepare me to understand the quantitative piece. During my time as a product leader, I devoted a lot of time speaking to customers and users, helping me develop deep empathy for people’s experiences and motivations, hence the qualitative input.
What are you most excited about for the future of Plenty of Fish?
We have the ability to profoundly impact millions of people’s lives and help them find meaningful human connections; that to me, is one of the most exciting aspects of the business. Following our updated logo design and modernized registration flow, we have plans to further evolve the app and improve our member experience in 2020.
Working in an industry that is constantly evolving is invigorating for someone like myself who is always in pursuit of a challenge that can make a difference to the community around me.
I’ve heard you are an avid podcast listener and I’m curious as to what your top three podcasts are of all time and what you’re currently listening to?
I don’t think I can pick 3!
I am a huge fan of RadioLab. They have an uncanny ability to bring a different perspective to topics both profound and (at first) seemingly inane. In the last few years I’ve never missed an episode of Masters of Scale with Reid Hoffman. I find every episode inspiring and providing actionable advice. I also enjoy listening to podcasts about psychology such as Invisibilia and Hidden Brain. Lastly, I am an armchair economist, so Planet Money and Freakonomics are often top of the list. Honourable mentions go to This American Life and Making Sense with Sam Harris.
I also love audiobooks, so currently I’m re-listening to The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday. It is about Stoicism, a philosophy originating in ancient Greece, and something we could all use a dose of at this time.
*Plenty of Fish Study of 2,000 singles in the United States