Taco Baaeeeeee! Out of all of the names my interviewees have chosen for themselves, this one is probably my favourite so far. Taco Bae was in town on business, visiting from another province, and the timing worked out perfectly for a Mexican sit n chow down. Taco Bae (I’d usually shorten it to TB for efficiency, but since that stands for Tuberculosis, I decided against it) is a smart dude, who a couple years back developed a video dating app that was a mix between chat roulette and Tinder, for people who wanted to talk face to face before meeting face to face. He got pretty far with it, but unfortunately it didn’t take off. Obviously, I wanted to know all about it, so I sat his ass down and bought him some tacos.
Me: What was your initial reason for starting the app?
Taco Bae: The big thing was Tinder was super popular at the time, for maybe about three to six months. My female friends were always complaining about how on Tinder guys are so creepy and act so weird, and they would say I don’t know if I actually want to meet this person and see who he is. I was just sitting around talking with a friend one day, and thought what if you could know who they are before you meet them? How would you do that? And then thought, oh! Video seems like a simple solution. That’s kind of how that came about. It wasn’t very ingenious. But if you could talk to the person before you meet them, you’d probably be more comfortable. And then the complaint for guys was like “ugh, these girls won’t meet in person. How do I show her that I’m not creepy”.
Me: Haha yeah! Did you have a lot of personal experience with dating apps before launching yours? Did you have any frustrations with any apps?
Taco Bae: So I’ve used Tinder, and I don’t know if it’s a frustration, but anytime you meet someone that you don’t know it’s going to be kind of awkward. I’m a pretty low-key person though, so I don’t really have any big expectations for a first date, like are we going to fall in love and it’s going to be amazing! Like, meh, let’s grab some food and see if you’re cool.
Me: How did the app die off then? Just not enough people on at the same time?
Taco Bae: Yeah, so the radius could be pretty wide, but at the same time it was only relevant and meaningful if a someone close to you found you attractive. We just couldn’t get enough people to keep coming back to it consistently to find that match. Kind of the same thing with Tinder, I mean people could swipe through a hundred people before saying yes to one. It’s kind of that same thing. Just because you have one conversation, doesn’t mean that conversation is going to be successful. So you’d have to have multiple conversations to have a successful conversation for the app to be useful. A lot of the research that went into it was researching other dating apps and why they were successful and how they were successful, and basically it’s shitty to start a dating app because your goal is to create churn. You’re constantly trying to get people off and on your app. And the people who own Match.com also own Tinder and also own OKcupid, so it’s a big conglomerate. They need to create more churn so they create a different dating app.
Me: So you use Tinder yourself mostly?
Taco Bae: Yeah, Tinder is the only app I’ve met someone off of. I’ve been on multiple dates on Tinder, but I feel like I make more friends, like we’ve been on dates and hung out a few times after that, and now we just send funny snapchats to each other or they live in different cities because they’ve moved. No super strong connections I guess.
Me: Yeah, I’ve met a few friends through dating apps. One of my good friends I met on Match.
Taco Bae: It’s funny that way. One thing that I learned throughout the process of building an app is that it’s like anything that you work on. You have to really really love it. Where I think we loved the idea of it because we thought it was really cool initially, but looking back I’m like I don’t want to work on a dating app for the next five to ten years of my life. I just don’t care that much. I want to work on something I really care about. You’re investing all your time.
We had to pause at this moment because Taco Bae put the habanero sauce all over one of his tacos and almost died. A week later he admitted that his tongue was swollen for 3 days.
Me: Is online your primary source for dating?
Taco Bae: Yeah, I’d say it’s like 50/50. I think when you’re comfortable and hanging out with your friends having fun, you attract a certain vibe even when you’re just doing your own thing. Holy shit that was hot! I’m dying. Umm, yeah usually I just meet people through friends or in different group outings I guess. I’m not like, a pick up artist at the bar saying “heyyy, how’s it going”. Probably that’s why. Because that’s what I would say. Hey, how’s it going.
Me: Worst date you’ve been on?
Taco Bae: Uhh..I can’t remember what I was doing that day, but a Tinder girl that I had talked to a bit messaged me out of the blue, and asked what I was doing tonight, and I said not much. So I head over there and she told me to bring a bottle of wine so I was like alright, this’ll be good. I was like 25 at the time and she was 35, and I get there and she was eating supper at the table. So I’m like, okay I’ll just go watch TV on the couch. It was weird, she didn’t offer me any food or anything. I wasn’t hungry anyways, but it was just kinda weird. I’m just watching something on my phone, I think there was a UFC that night, and she was like what are you doing on your phone? I just said I was checking the UFC fight, and she asked who’s fighting, and I was like oh, are you a big fan? And she just said no, and I’m thinking to myself “what the hell is happening?”. She was just odd. We polished off that bottle of wine, one thing lead to another and yeaahh. And then I went to the washroom and I came back and she was going through my phone. Literally first time meeting. So I said “uhh, why are you going through my phone?”, and she said “were you telling your friends about me?”. I just told her that I feel really uncomfortable, I’m going to go, and she said “you’re just going to leave?”. I was like, yeah, this is getting super awkward, you’re being weird, so I left and while I was on my way home, she was texting me, saying “you’re going to regret this”. I was like, holy shit. I am now.
Me: <laughing> Oh man. That’s so fucked up.
We went to Tacoholic in Langley, which is a fairly new place. It lives in Langley City near the end of the one-way street, where pretty much all the Mexican restaurants in Langley live (I know of four within a couple kilometers of each other). It’s a pretty cool little place, that I had stopped by once before to check out the menu. Since it’s mostly tacos on the menu, I’d say it’s probably better to eat in than take out, as they don’t hold up well when transporting. They had two veggie tacos on the menu, so I tried one of the rajas with crema (peppers in cream) and two frijoles with queso (beans and cheese, my jam). I’m not big on peppers, but both tacos were really good, and pretty filling. Also, super cheap, at $2.50 a taco. Taco Bae gave it an overall rating of 4/5. Two of his tacos were super delicious, but he was not a fan of the chicharron (pork belly). He said it was not very tasty and had a weird texture.