How I Hacked Online Dating by Amy Webb (Transcript)
I’m Guy Raz. And our show today – ideas around how we love. So love is instinctive, right. It’s buried deep inside the most primitive part of our brains. But the way it works – why we’re drawn to certain people and not others – it’s still not entirely understood. So this hour, TED speakers who are all exploring love and not just romantic love, but the kind of love you might feel for your dad or your brother or best friend. So our first story is a romantic, love story with help from math, data and algorithms as told on the TED stage.
The Data Lovestory Of Amy Webb
There are currently 54 million single people in the U. After spending plenty of time on a slew of disaster dates with matches found online, Webb decided to get a little sneaky and put her investigative journalism skills to use to game the system. First, she created a list of qualities she needed in a mate, then, she logged back on to JDate.
Subscriber Account active since. One of the problems Webb found with online dating was that she and her matches weren’t filling out their profiles honestly. Where a site would ask her to describe herself, for example, she wrote things like “award-winning journalist” and “future thinker. These answers weren’t matching her up with the types of people she wanted to meet because they didn’t accurately describe her personality.
Instead, they described how she’d want someone interviewing her for a job to see her. But the answer to her dating conundrum wasn’t simply being more honest and taking time to actually answer the questions, she found out. Because even if she decided to be completely frank in her answers, her matches probably wouldn’t be. Research supports her idea. Another study estimated that the average person lies during one in five of his or her daily interactions.
First, she laid out all the things she actually desired in someone else: a sense of humor, an easygoing personality, etc.
Data, a Love Story
This wasn’t a part of the plan. At age 30, I was still single and had no exciting prospects. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. Photos: Why Amy’s online search for love worked. Similar dislikes — Amy and her husband, Brian, have coffee in Baltimore.
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Amy Webb heads the digital strategy house Webbmedia Group, and is a founder of the SparkCamp discussion series. 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. So I asked everybody in my life what they thought.
And most importantly, true love will find you when you least expect it. I am constantly swimming in numbers and formulas and charts. If my strategy was to least-expect my way into true love, then the variable that I had to deal with was serendipity. So again, I started doing some math. Population of Philadelphia: It has 1. I figure about half of that are men, so that takes the number down to , 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 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.
How I Used Algorithms, Data, and Lists To Game Online Dating and Find My Match
lots and lots of men wanted to date me.” Amy Webb – How I Hacked Online Dating. The most interesting part about her approach is that she’d.
Not Cats. Must not like Cats! Next she turned to her own profile. In order to craft the most compelling online presentation, she needed to assess the competition—so she signed on to JDate again, this time as a man. Then began the deluge—dozens of men wanted to meet her, men who actually met her requirements. Among them: her future husband, now the father of her child. Forty million people date online each year. Thanks to Data, a Love Story , their odds just got a whole lot better.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we’ll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer – no Kindle device required. A lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman “gamed” online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid and eHarmony — and met her eventual husband.
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Computer programmers created the systems of quizzes, swipes and algorithms that “Quantitative futurist” Amy Webb, for instance, created a handful of she became the most popular woman on JDate, an online dating site.
These days, we’re promised true love via algorithm. Log on to a website, enter in some data and — voila! Algorithm is really just a fancy name for the step-by-step process and calculations that are used while solving a problem. Think of an algorithm as you would a recipe for croissants. You need a set of ingredients: yeast, water, sugar, salt, flour, milk, oil, butter, and eggs.
And you need a bunch of kitchen equipment: bowls, mixers, knife, baking sheet, oven, and some towels. Depending on how you put everything together, you could wind up with a flaky, delicate pastry or a hard lump of charred dough. Algorithms are a shorthand way of writing out workflows. They’re the step-by-step processes scientists use to think through complex problems, and the instructions that are given to computers to help process the results. In online dating, algorithms are what help sort through all of the data we’re inputting, and they’re what ultimately match us with others using the same service.
In theory, whichever site has the best algorithm should be able to provide the best match. If you asked a Jewish shadchen or a Chinese fortune-teller to write down their matchmaking methods, the resulting diagram would be a kind of algorithm. The shadchen would factor in a number of variables and would weigh each one according to priority.
Love in the Time of Algorithms
When I was in college I joined an online dating site. This is a story about that experience, and how it helped me better understand data analytics. If someone asked me if I based my judgments on first impressions or on physical appearance I would say no, of course not.
Amy Webb says the best way to find success in online dating is by writing our own algorithms for love—not using the ones presented to you.
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Can you find true love using computer engineering? One brave geek has again accepted the challenge, and reported back his results to the internet — yet another brave fool for love. Judging by the screenshots in his essay, he wrote it in Python, and the name of his superhuman program was wingman. Once it identified a phone number, there were more automated texts sent from Twilio — with or without a response.
Tea is a little boring. We should get ice cream! How about the Bi-Rite Creamery? So first wingman. Okay, so far so good — but had this naive geek confidence led our hero to an approach that was clunky, clumsy, and far too impersonal? No, apparently not. There were times when he was genuinely smooth. So what happened next? On our second date, I asked her how her parents were doing.
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Fortunately, Amy Webb has discovered a way to personalize the online dating process that can help all of us. She put her expertise to work on reverse engineering the algorithm that her dating website was based on. Amy realized that the data collected for online dating profiles had two fatal flaws. First, people have trouble being completely honest when filling out questionnaires, and secondly, the type of data that is asked for is typically superficial. The combination of these problems results in people being paired in matchups that have no substance.
Amy Webb has literally written the book on online dating. meets Mary Tyler Moore, as logical Amy turns her life into an algorithm and finds the formula for love.
Look Inside. Jan 31, Minutes Buy. Anyone who uses online dating sites must read her funny, fascinating book. Using her gift for data strategy, she found which keywords were digital-man magnets, analyzed photos, and then adjusted her female profile to make the most of that intel. Then began the deluge—dozens of men who actually met her own stringent requirements wanted to meet her. Among them: her future husband, now the father of her child.
What I Learned about Data Analytics from Online Dating
Ted Talks is easily one of my favourite portals to watching and listening great speakers talk about hugely interesting topics, but in a simple way to explain to those less.. Through a series of lists, prioritising and scoring 72 points to be exact , Amy stated a score of was the minimum at which she would date someone. Oppositely, Webb analysed the opinion people were having on her profile and learnt that the most popular people on dating sites, where those who described themselves in smaller paragraphs, with more optimistic wording and came across more approachable.
Amy Webb didn’t want to just wait for love — so she made her own algorithm for online dating. And it worked.
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