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Las Vegas’ newest dating expert launching app

First dates can be hell. Just ask Sarah Sled. “There was the time I met someone on eHarmony and we arranged a date. Neither of us realized that it was Easter Sunday,” she said. “We met at a coffee place and realized that half the town was closed. So we went to a pub.”

By the way, his name is Justin.

She married the guy.

Love is on the mind of this MIT-educated Ph.D., who studied political science with an emphasis in quantitative methodology. After teaching at Harvard and top research and development jobs at Gallup, Netflix and Facebook, the California native moved to Las Vegas to take on the president and CEO role of new startup dating app Blush.

“It’s deep-level matching,” said Sled, who wants to change the dating space. “This is for people who want relationships and life partners — and not just a hookup.”

Why move to Vegas?

In 2015, my parents moved to Vegas. My husband, son and I came once a month from California to visit them. Every trip was getting a bit longer, plus we saw what life was like in Henderson and we loved it.

How did you become Blush CEO?

I left Facebook last June and intended to take a break. No job. No looking. We went to visit my in-laws in California and they said, ‘Here’s a list of jobs you might like.’ One was the CEO listing for Blush. It was perfect. Blush is now headquartered in Vegas. Our investors come from the Vegas area. We run the company remotely, which is the future.

What is deep-level matching?

We don’t just match on basic compatibility traits or just on background info like religion, education and profession. We match on psychological metrics, which shows a lot of correlation to long-term compatibility. We have a smaller set of strategic questions that are used to produce the best possible matches. We also provide background checking and identity verification to make sure people are truly who they say they are.

How rough is dating in Vegas?

The hard thing is there are always new people coming to Vegas. The great thing is there are always new people. When you meet someone, it’s important for you to ask if they’re here for a year or a weekend.

What’s a good place for a date in Las Vegas?

The District is a great place because you want to take away the idea of a date where you just sit and stare at each other at one place. You could start off at Coffee Bean and then you can go to a movie or out to dinner if it’s going well. There is a place (The Local) in the District for a glass of wine that’s great. Town Square is the same kind of thing.

What topics should you avoid?

Leave your exes out of it. Don’t be too high pressure about the eventual outcome. For instance, do not say, ‘Do you see yourself getting married someday?’ It’s okay to prepare to have things to talk about on a date the same way you would do before a job interview. … With dating, people spend all the time prepping the visual.

What’s a nice way to say it’s not working?

You might say: “I really enjoyed getting to know you. I think you’re really smart, but it’s just not the right match between us. I wish you well and I know you’re going to meet someone who is perfect for you.”

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