THE YOUNG PROGRAMMER had an idea, and everyone thought it was nuts. Just out of college, he’d gotten a job writing software for YY, a livestreaming company based in the massive city of Guangzhou, in China’s Pearl River Delta. More than 100 million users every month stream themselves, or tune in to broadcasts of others, singing, playing videogames, or hosting talk shows from their Beijing apartments. The audience chats back, prolifically, via voice or text.
The programmer thought YY should try something new: use its proven streaming technology to run a dating service, which would operate kind of like a TV dating show. A host would set up an online lounge, then invite in some lonely singles and coax them to ask each other questions and maybe find a partner.
Company executives were dubious. “The CEO almost killed it,” says Eric Ho, chief financial officer ...Read full article