Last year, controversy over Stuyvesant’s annual crush lists spread throughout the New York press like wildfire. Complaints over the “I’d Tap That” portion of the crush lists began with an article in the New York Post. With all of this bad press, the crush lists were perceived to have malicious intent.
What the media forgot to cover, however, is that some good came out of the lists. One such example is CollegeOnly.com, a for-profit Web site created by Stuyvesant alumnus Josh Weinstein (’05). While a student at Stuyvesant, Weinstein served as administrator for Stuycom.net, the popular, student run Web site most known for digitizing crushlists once they’ve been posted on the walls of Stuyvesant. After his graduation from Stuyvesant, Weinstein attended Princeton University, and it was there that the idea for CollegeOnly.com was formed.
During his sophomore year at Princeton, Weinstein came up with the “CrushFinder,” which he admits “subconsciously was an extension of the Stuyvesant crush lists,” Weinstein said.
The CrushFinder, however, is not a carbon copy of the Stuyvesant crush lists. The main difference is that while crush lists are not meant to get people together in a relationship, The CrushFinder is. “The CrushFinder allows you to put in five people who you like. It sends them an email saying that someone [anonymous] has a crush on them,” Weinstein said. “They go onto the site and do the same—if there’s a match, then the identities are revealed.”
The CrushFinder enjoyed instant popularity and was so well received that when launched “on Valentine’s Day of 2007, 30 percent of Princeton’s student body used it,” Weinstein said.
The CrushFinder soon became part of GoodCrush.com, along with a “missed connections” component. This feature allows students who are interested in talking more with someone they met around campus to do so. GoodCrush debuted successfully at schools other than Princeton. The successes of GoodCrush lead Weinstein to begin pursuing the site as a real business opportunity. After graduating from college, and despite being offered a job at a consulting firm, Mr. Weinstein began actively pursuing seed investment to make GoodCrush a real business.
After having unsuccessful meetings with some venture capitalists, Weinstein finally found a firm, FirstMark Capital, ready to invest in his business. His Web site was officially launched on February 8, according to an article written by Weinstein for Huffingtonpost.com.
Weinstein’s story shows that crush lists do have their uses. They inspired Weinstein to launch his Web site and start his own company. It is not very surprising, then, that Mr. Weinstein thinks that the controversy over crush lists is “BS,” he said. “We never had any problems, and it was a tradition everyone was crazy about, in a good way. Definitely a highlight of the year.”