Please meet my partner in love, crime and User Manuals: Katia!

We kicked things off last year with a heart-racing whirlwind romance. I signed up for eHarmony on October 10 and they instantly sent me this attractive, interesting, sassy woman–who lived 45 minutes away.

“Would you really date a guy from Oakland?” I asked in my first message.

“No, you’ll have to move,” she responded.

We went out for our first date on October 16. She ordered two rounds of truffle popcorn, made me blind taste test wine samples, and wouldn’t let me kiss her. Our next date was three days later, watching the last presidential debate and sneaking truffle oil into a high-end restaurant. (Our motto: everything’s better with truffles.) Two days after that we went to a Silicon Valley fashion show that featured drones and clothes embedded with LEDs and necklaces that transformed into headphones and–the best part–impromptu group dancing. Later on, she bumped the music in her car to deafening speeds (she’s the first person I’ve ever met who blasts her tunes louder than me) and cruised around San Francisco with the windows down.


Katia used to run The Bachelor TV show in Ukraine and Russia–major, high-pressure jobs where she managed teams of 100+ people, jetted thousands of miles on a text message’s notice and juggled the mercurial personalities of a couple dozen people duking it out for love with cameras stuck in their faces. Then she came to the United States without any help, landed a gig with the United Nations, took five classes at Stanford, and singlehandedly launched a video production company called Feel Good Video to help brands and startups create emotional connections.

She’s hungry. She’s brilliant. She’s spent a lot of time examining complex relationship dynamics. She knows what makes a gripping story. She likes her music on eardrum-popping settings. I think she’s smoking. And, for some reason, she seems to be into me.

I’ve been droning on and on about my User Manual idea since we met, and Katia’s been such a good sport that she’s willing to share her take on the process with me–and the world. We’ve been rolling out the User Manual in drips and drabs since December, and I can think of dozens of moments where the User Manual helped us sidestep our natural responses, which would have been anywhere from ineffective to starting a dumpster fire. Instead, we (mostly) stuck to the script and just did exactly what the other person told us they needed. The jury is in: it works.

Here’s to Katia for being a terrific partner and a thoughtful contributor to this story. Stay tuned–plenty of adventures to come.

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