Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me A Spreadsheet

OkCupid and Dataclysm: “In the age of Big Data, the empirical has deciphered the intimate”

In mid-August, couples and lonely hearts packed a Brooklyn basement to hear scientists make sense of something the crowd could not: love. It was the 11th meeting of the Empiricist League, a kind of ad-hoc, small-scale TED Talks for scientists and the New Yorkers who adore them. In the back corner of the room, Christian Rudder sat by himself at the bar, nursing Stephen King’s “It.”

Rudder, the 39-year-old president and co-founder of the online dating site OKCupid, had come to deliver a distilled version of what he’s been working on for the last five years. In 2009, Rudder started OKTrends, an in-house blog for OKCupid, as a way to attract new members to a site that was nearly out of money. The posts covered such topics as the best camera angle for a profile picture and how people lie on their profiles — the mysteries online daters wonder about.

Soon, Rudder’s insights and wry wit were attracting millions of views. All of a sudden, Rudder, a one-time indie actor and rock star, had transformed himself into a dating laureate for the data age. By assembling users’ clicks and keystrokes into one place and spending hours inside Excel, Rudder had found a way to articulate our humanity.

 

Read the complete article here: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/christian-rudder-dataclysm-okcupid/

 
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