So my name is Amy Webb, and a few years ago I found myself at the end of yet another fantastic relationship that came burning down in a spectacular fashion. And I thought, what's wrong with me? I don't understand why this keeps happening. So I asked everybody in my life what they thought. I turned to my grandmother, who always had plenty of advice, and she said, "Stop being so picky.
You've got to date how i hacked my online dating. And most importantly, true love will find you when you least expect it. Now as it turns out, I'm somebody who thinks a lot about data, as you'll soon find. I am constantly swimming in numbers, formulas and charts. I also have a very tight-knit family, and I'm very, very close with my sister, and as a result, I wanted to have the same type of family when I grew up. So I'm at the end of this bad breakup, I'm 30 years old, I figure I'm on,ine going to have to date somebody for about six months before I'm ready to get monogamous and before we can sort of cohabitate, and we have to do that for a while before we can get engaged.
And if I want to start having children by the time I'm 35, that meant that I would have had to have been on my way to marriage five years ago. So that wasn't going to work. If my strategy was to least-expect my way into true love, then the variable that I had to deal with was serendipity. In short, I was trying to figure out what's the probability of my finding Mr. Well, at the time I was living in the city of Philadelphia, and it's a big city, and I figured, in this entire place, there are lots of possibilities.
So again, I started doing some math. I figure about half of that are men, so that takes the number down toI'm looking for a guy between the ages of 30 and 36, which was only four how i hacked my online dating of the population, so now I'm dealing with the possibility of 30, men. I was looking for somebody who was Jewish, because I am and that was how i hacked my online dating to me. I figure I'm attracted to maybe one out of 10 of those men, and there was no way I was going to deal with somebody was an avid golfer.
So that basically meant there were 35 men for me that I could possibly date in the entire city of Philadelphia. In the meantime, my very large Jewish family was already all married and well on their way to having lots and lots of children, and I felt like I was under tremendous peer pressure to get my life going already. So I have two possible strategies at this point I'm sort of figuring out. One, I can take my grandmother's advice and sort of least-expect my way into maybe bumping into the one out of 35 possible men in the entire 1.
Now, I like the idea of online dating, because it's predicated on an algorithm, and that's really just a simple way of saying I've got a problem, I'm going to use hacoed data, run it through a system and get to a solution. So online dating is the second most popular way that people now meet each other, but as it turns out, algorithms have been around for thousands of years in almost every culture. In fact, in Judaism, there were matchmakers a long time ago, and though they didn't have an explicit algorithm per se, they definitely were running through formulas in their heads, like, is the girl going to like the boy?
Are the families going to get along? What's the rabbi going to say? Are they going to start having children right away? The matchmaker would sort of think through all of this, put two people together, and that would be the end of it. So in my case, I thought, well, will data and an algorithm lead me to my Prince Charming? So I decided to sign on.
Now, there was one small catch. As I'm signing on to the various dating websites, as it happens, I was really, really busy. But that actually wasn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that I hate filling out questionnaires of any kind, and I certainly don't like questionnaires that are like Cosmo quizzes. So in the descriptive part up top, I said that I was an award-winning journalist and a future thinker.
The algorithm matched us up because vating share a love of gadgets, we share a love of math and data and '80s music, and so I datjng to go out with him. So Steve the I. And we went in, and right off the bat, our conversation really wasn't taking flight, but he was ordering a ojline of food. In fact, he didn't even bother looking at the menu.
So we're nearing the end o our conversation and the end of dinner, and I've decided Steve the I. And listen, I'm a modern woman. I am totally how i hacked my online dating with splitting the bill. But haked Steve the I. So needless to say, I was not having hcaked good night. So I run home, I call my mother, I call my sister, and as I do, at the end of each one of these terrible, terrible dates, I regale them with the details.
And they say to me, haacked complaining. So I said, fine, from here on out I'm only going on dates where I know there's Wi-Fi, and I'm bringing my laptop. I'm going to shove it into my bag, I'm going to have this email template, and I'm going to fill it out and collect information on all these different data points during the date to prove to everybody that empirically, these dates really are terrible. So I started tracking things like really stupid, awkward, sexual remarks; bad vocabulary; the number of times a man forced me to high-five him.
So I started to crunch some numbers, and that allowed me to make some ratings on online dating sites. So as it turns out, for some reason, men who drink Scotch reference kinky sex immediately. Well, it turns out that these probably weren't bad guys. There were just bad for me. And as it happens, the algorithms that were setting us up, they weren't bad either.
See, the real problem here is that, while the algorithms work just fine, you and I don't, when confronted with blank windows where we're supposed to input our information online.
Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating
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