Data-Driven Dating

Feb 1 2013 @ 8:36pm

Amy Webb, fed up with the sub-par recommendations from the dating sites she signed up for, decided to take a more rigorous approach to her selection process. In a review of Webb’s new book, Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match, Maria Popova boils it down:

After a series of bad dates following a major heartbreak, mathematically-driven Amy decided to take a quantitative approach to the playing field and started systematically recording various data points about her dates, revealing some important correlations. After one particularly bad date, she decided to formalize the exercise and wrote down everything that was important to her in a mate — from intellectual overlap to acceptable amount of body hair — eventually coming up with 72 attributes that she was going to demand in any future date. She then broke down these attributes into two tiers and developed a scoring system, assigning specific points to each. For 700 out of a maximum possible 1800, she’d agree to have an email exchange; for 900, she’d go on a date; for 1,500, she’d consider a long-term relationship.

It worked: Webb is now married with a daughter. In an interview with Sam Blum, Webb describes how her data-driven approach went “a little overboard” when it came to raising her kid:

[My husband and I] were tracking all possible data. It went way beyond poop. We were trying to figure out when she was most attentive so that we could occupy her – flash cards, me playing piano with her. By her six month visit, we asked her doctor to give her a grade, so that we knew whether or not we were making good progress. He gave her an A, and he gave us a C-. He told us to put the binder away and to stop making scatter plots of her … well, of her everything.

Previous Dish on online dating here, here, here and here.