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How Thursday got their first 100,000 sign ups by standing out from the crowdHow Thursday got their first 100,000 sign ups by standing out from the crowd
January 20, 2023

How Thursday got their first 100,000 sign ups by standing out from the crowd

The dating app world is competitive. And building an app that people truly find helpful in achieving their relationship goals is a significant challenge — many have tried and failed.

But it’s not always about winning; sometimes, it’s about playing a different game entirely.

Thursday is an app you’ve probably heard of by now. If you haven’t, it’s a dating app you can only use on Thursdays. But it didn’t start like that.

Here’s how it happened, and more importantly, why 👇

Founders George Rawlings and Matthew McNeill Love (what are the chances?!) first set up an app called Honeypot. The app was based on the idea of using geofencing so that if app users were at a particular bar, they could see who else in that same bar wanted a date that night. “But we quickly realised we’d need a massive pool of users, not to mention a ton of money.” So while it was an interesting idea, it didn’t go well.

This is where it gets exciting…

How could they get attention and get their app working better for people without it having to cost them a fortune?

Honeypot didn’t work as they’d hoped, BUT when they dug into why, they learnt something that changed everything.

George and Matthew noticed that most of Honeypot’s activity occurred on a Thursday. So they made the risky – but genius – decision to only set the app live on Thursdays.

Its mission? To reduce the amount of time spent on dating apps, after Love and Rawlings both grew frustrated with how much effort they spent on stale small talk.

By only making the app available on just one day of the week, users are encouraged to meet up in real life that very evening. After midnight, all matches and messages are lost – everyone has to start from scratch the following Thursday.

People immediately resonated with the frustration around dating apps; since then, their growth has been extraordinary. And after building up a waitlist of about 120,000 people for a floodgate launch, they have now surpassed 400,000 downloads in just a few years.

Most other dating apps compete to get more people onto their apps and use them as much as possible.

Not putting users first.

When people use dating apps, they’re not looking for a good dating app experience — sure, it’s important, but it’s not the end goal. They’re looking for a DATE.

So, the real goal for any dating app should be to get more people on dates.

That’s what Thursday figured out.

They now run hundreds of in-person events (on Thursdays, naturally) and make it their mission to bring people together and meet in real life.


If everyone’s doing it, it’s not that special. Don’t be afraid to play a different game, or at least change the rules.


How to stand out in an industry set in its ways:

  1. Speak to people. Existing customers if you have them, online communities if you don’t. By asking people what they’re actually trying to achieve when they use an app or product you’ll get closer to finding the best solution for them.
  2. Look at the negative reviews your competitors to find common frustrations amongst your audience.
  3. Zig when others zag. What are all your competitors doing that you can do the opposite? What are they all not doing?

Check it out 👉

Keep being an outlier 💪

J + K