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Kanciar, a freelance Web designer who also helps out around Plenty of Fish, is a lanky blonde with an easy smile and a hearty laugh, which she often uses to try to get Frind to open up.
When I ask him to talk about what he does with the 23 hours a day in which he doesn't work, Frind struggles to answer and then looks helplessly at Kanciar.
He has been bouncing aimlessly from job to job, but he is secretly ambitious.
He builds his company by himself and from his apartment.
When he does engage in conversation, Frind can be disarmingly frank, delivering vitriolic quips with a self-assured cheerfulness that feels almost mean.
Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO), he says, is "a complete joke," Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is "a cult," and Match is "dying." Says Mark Brooks, a marketing consultant who has advised Frind since 2006, "I've never known anybody so competitive.
The family's closest neighbors were a mile and a half away, and, apart from a younger brother, Frind had few friends.Those who know Frind describe him as introverted, smart, and a little awkward."Markus is one of those engineers who is just more comfortable sitting in front of a computer than he is talking to someone face to face," says Noel Biderman, the co-founder of Avid Life Media, a Toronto-based company that owns several dating sites.Like most of his advertising deals, this one found Frind.He hadn't even heard of Video Egg until a week ago. with more than that." Five years ago, he started Plenty of Fish with no money, no plan, and scant knowledge of how to build a Web business. Its traffic is four times that of dating pioneer Match, which has annual revenue of 0 million and a staff that numbers in the hundreds. Today, he employs just three customer service workers, who check for spam and delete nude images from the Plenty of Fish website while Frind handles everything else."Actually, in the first 10 or 15 minutes."To demonstrate, Frind turns to his computer and begins fiddling with a free software program that he uses to manage his advertising inventory.While he is doing this, he carps about Canada's high income taxes, a serious problem considering that Plenty of Fish is on track to book revenue of million for 2008, with profit margins in excess of 50 percent. "Most of the time, I just sit on my ass and watch it." There's so little to do that he and his girlfriend, Annie Kanciar, spent the better part of last summer sunning themselves on the French Riviera.In a way, he's thinking about the company all the time."rind spent his formative years on a grain farm in the northern hinterlands of British Columbia -- "the bush," in local parlance.His hometown, Hudson's Hope, is a cold, isolated place not far from the starting point of the Alaska Highway.She offers a few suggestions -- video games, ski trips, walks -- then tries to focus his energies."We're trying to convince Max that we're interesting," she says sweetly.