Amy’s TED talk is on fire! It’s been viewed by more than a half-million people since going live 11 days ago, and it’s also been translated into Spanish! TED viewers are calling her talk “ingenious” “funny” and “fascinating.” Take a look!
It was now July, a few weeks since my date with Jim, the weed smoker who refused to split our dinner bill. I knew matching algorithms weren’t perfect, but I kept dating and decided not to cancel my memberships with eHarmony, Match.com, and JDate. The majority of dates I’d been going on weren’t horrible, they just weren’t great. I was an optimist rooted in math and logic…..
This interview may ring true for some of you — those who’ve eventually realized they’re looking for love in all the wrong places.
If that sounds familiar, then you’ll relate to Amy Webb's story, in which she tries and fails in online dating — and tries again. And this time, she does those matching algorithms of those online dating sites one better. Her new book is called “Data: A Love Story.”…
After many epically bad dates, Amy Webb decided to change her approach. She had been set up by family members for so long it seemed that the Internet would be a more successful venue for finding Mr. Right. While it was more efficient, the dates were still awful. She just wasn’t finding her perfect man, which she said was Michael Bluth from Arrested Developmentmeets Larry David. Her findings and process were documented in her book,Data: A Love Story.
Every year at TED, a bookstore is temporarily set up that’s filled with books recommended by TEDsters of note. DATA was one of the books included in the TED store, and we’re so thrilled to say that DATA was named to the TED reading list!
But perhaps the reason why we love her the best is that she recently authored “Data, A Love Story.” After attempting – and failing – to find love via online dating, she took matters into her own hands. Or rather, the hands of her male alter ego. Using digital strategy and sharp intellect, she met her ideal man (now husband!). And for the benefit of her fellow lady geeks, she turned her story into a written memoir… Read more here.
Amy was interviewed by Debbie Millman for the wildly popular Design Matters show. The conversation went well beyond data and dating… The entire epsiode is now available for streaming and download. Click here to listen.
The “tyranny of choice” theory posits that surrounded by too many options, we become paralyzed, overwhelmed, and unable to make a decision. Some of us begin to think that we have infinite opportunities and become lured by the prospect of bigger, better deals. Others just want out, so they’re willing to settle for someone who seems good enough at that moment in time…
We’ve been collecting and analyzing data about Data, A Love Story’s readers, reviewers and buyers. For example, how many of Data’s readers also belong to AARP? What are the two most common words used to describe Amy’s story?
The profit model for dating sites relies on retention, even though our desire as members is exactly the opposite. We want to find true love so we can be finished with dating altogether. Once we’re in relationships, we’re theoretically off the market. We cancel our memberships and spend our money elsewhere. Fresh new crops of daters should cycle through the various dating sites just as current members are leaving, but that’s not always the case. And besides, the more members or page views a site can count, the more money there is to be made.
Data, like diamonds, can be mined. But is data forever? Or, in other words, can you find love by creating a data-based algorithm for online dating sites like match.com? That’s how Amy Webb found her husband. She documents her digital romance in a new book, “Data, a Love Story.” But Christine Rosen is skeptical. The Schwartz Fellow is writing a book that cautions against using too much tech to mediate human experiences– arguing that Yelp and Match.Com may be stealing away the serendipitous experiences that enrich our lives. On this podcast, listen to the two discuss dating psychology, the danger of marketing ourselves as “products” online, and how the “tyranny of choice” impacts finding a mate.
Durante il suo approccio quantitativo alla ricerca del partner, l’autrice di Data. A love story ha fatto scoperte esilaranti: le donne con i capelli ricci, per esempio, vengono scartate più facilmente: “Un giorno scoprirà quanto sono belli i tuoi boccoli – afferma -, ma nel frattempo stirali per le fotografie”. Che gli appassionati del “Give me five” hanno un lessico sgrammaticato e che gli avvocati tendono a controllare il cellulare il 67% di volte in più degli insegnanti. Quelli che bevono tanto scotch durante gli appuntamenti hanno la tendenza a parlare subito di sesso, mentre chi preferisce gli shot mentirebbe sulle questioni lavorative. Quanto c’è di vero? Tutto. Solo che forse è meglio (ancora) affidarsi al fato piuttosto che a un algoritmo.
If anyone could solve the online dating problem it had to be Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia Group, a digital strategy agency that advises clients about technology and digital trends. Forbes calls her “the strategic Svengali behind many blue-chip media companies” and includes her in a list of “Women Changing the World Through Technology.”
Online dating is weird as hell. You’d think this wouldn’t be the case. After all, the algorithms that connect people on dating sites aren’t theoretically all that different from the ones that power search engines and generate billions in revenue. So why is online dating still such a thoroughly imperfect experience?
Amy Webb, like so many others, learned just how flawed the science of online dating is by going on a series of comically awkward dates with some pretty unbelievable characters.
Amy shows her results on the Today Show's Today.com
“Online dating sites are excellent places to find casual and serious long-term relationships, but only if you have a plan first,” Webb told TODAY.com. “I don’t advocate crunching numbers like I did, but I do strongly recommend that you start off with a list. What, exactly, are you looking for in a partner? Be extremely specific, even when it feels embarrassing…If having someone who’s three inches taller than you is important, for whatever reason, then write that down. If you absolutely cannot stand cats, write that down, too. Don’t self-edit.”
To be sure, Webb, a self-described feminist, wasn’t thrilled with what her digital sleuthing revealed about the hetero male Jewish psyche. “Would I love it if more men were vocal about liking women who are strong and outspoken? Yes,” she said, relating her JDate struggles to her efforts to make the tech world more gender inclusive...
Join us in a digital photo scavenger hunt game to celebrate today’s book launch! Take photos of activities and events inspired by the book and win some of the quirky items Amy used on her quest to find true love! Full details here…
Modern dating sites all promise top-secret magic algorithms that solve for what’s referred to in the dating industry as the tyranny of choice. With millions of profiles logged in to online databases, there is a glut of choices…
(CNN) — This wasn’t a part of the plan. At age 30, I was still single and had no exciting prospects.
Rebounding from a terrible breakup with my longtime boyfriend, I turned to online dating to find a suitable mate. I joined Match.com, eHarmony and JDate, a website for Jewish singles, and decided I would go out with whomever asked, as long as he didn’t seem terrifying.
The first two dates were comically bad.
Date Number One asked me out to a really nice restaurant, then didn’t offer to pay for (or even split!) the bill. He ordered a very expensive bottle of wine and two appetizers — neither of which I got to enjoy — before moving on to a three-course meal. While walking back to our cars, he suddenly diverted to a public park bench where he asked if I wanted a smoke. He then lit the shaggy end of a large marijuana joint right in front of an assortment of passersby. He mentioned something about his weed habit and impotence, but by then I was already running toward my car…
About halfway through her new memoir, “Data, a Love Story,” Amy Webb pauses to address the reader. Up to this point, the author’s online hunt for a husband has yielded little but farcically bad dates. In frustration she begins an analysis involving scatter plots and word clouds to discern the laws of success in online dating. “I want to reveal what I found,” she tells us, “so that you can improve your own dating profile.” (Spoiler alert: showing skin is a plus; lengthy “About Me” sections are a turnoff.) We then follow Webb as she uses her discoveries to lure Mr. Right. And, presumably, we close the book with a sense of how to do the same…..
What followed was a series of bad dates worthy of a romantic comedy: stupid sexual remarks, too much alcohol consumed (by them). A surprising number of men high-fived me, for reasons that remain unclear.
My profile was obviously attracting the wrong kind of man. After one particularly disastrous date—he casually dropped the fact that he was actually married—I decided to change my approach. Drawing on my background in data analysis, I set out to reverse engineer my profile. I outlined 10 male archetypes and created profiles for each of them on JDate. There was JewishDoc1000, the private-practice cardiologist who hated cruise-ship travel, and LawMan2346, an attorney who was very close to his family and a former national debate champion………..
Absolutely love this review of Data: A Love Story from the Cincinnati Public Library System!
Thinking that online dating was bound to turn up better guys than the men her mother set her up with, journalist Amy Webb gave it a try. When her matches turned out to be nothing like her imagined Mr. Right, she decided to approach it from a strategic angle - with data, spreadsheets, and a point-based system. In order to understand how it all worked, she created several male profiles to see who matched with them and how to re-profile herself to get the results she wanted. Funny and insightful, anyone who has dated online or is contemplating dating online will relate to this book. Oh, and Amy is Mrs. Right now.
“Webb’s advice for dating both on and offline is insightful (and data-driven), and her descriptions of meddling family members, bad dates, and worse profiles are hilarious and familiar to anyone who’s tried dating online…The story of her own experiment is funny, brutally honest, and inspirational even to the most hopeless dater.” - Publishers Weekly
Great Review For Data, A Love Story From Booklist!
"Webb’s clever and inventive experiment, as well as her success story, will be inspiring and eye-opening for anyone who has ever turned to one of the many popular online dating sites in search of love." -Booklist
That’s right. There’s a dating site promising to help your Jewish mother find you true love. It’s called TheJMom.com, and their tagline is “Who knows their children better than they know themselves? Their parents!”
Parents sign up and then enter information about their child. They don’t connect with would-be daters themselves, but instead initial communication happens between parents. Eventually, parents can set their children up on a casual date.
If (and only if!) you have the emotional strength, send this link to your Yiddishe Mama.
Amy Webb finds her true love after a search that’s both charmingly romantic and relentlessly data-driven. Anyone who uses online dating sites must read her funny, fascinating book. – Grechen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project
I LOVE THIS BOOK TO DEATH! Amy Webb has literally written the book on online dating. This is online dating for geeks - for women - for men - for anyone who would like to meet their soulmate or just a playmate, and despairs of ever doing so. I’m the world’s biggest ambassador for online dating, and Amy has provided invaluable advice for anyone nervous about or unsure of how to make online dating work for them, as part of a hugely entertaining and extremely frank journey through her own feelings, hopes, desires and experiences. I talk about the need to ‘humanize big data’ as part of my work on the future of business and marketing. ‘Data: A Love Story’ is a wonderful example of that. - Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, TED speaker and former chairman of Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
"Pleasant, geeky fun!" – Kirkus Book Reviews
I hated dating. Really, really loathed it. The disappointments, the rejections, the miscommunications: I didn’t have the stomach (or the heart) for them, and I felt disempowered at every step along the way. But Amy Webb’s engrossing ‘Data: A Love Story’ has me reassessing my sad single years, or at least my approach to them. The book is about pragmatic approaches to partnership, yes, but it’s about much more than that, namely, the freedom that comes from asking for what you want, and the clarity that follows honest assessments of oneself and others. (And it’s brave, funny, and smart to boot.) Don’t tell my husband but: I sorta want a do-over. – Anna Holmes, founder of Jezebel.com and author of Hell Hath No Fury: Women’s Letters from the End of the Affair.
Like Amy Webb herself, “Data, A Love Story” is blunt, witty, charming, informative, smart, and true. Mr. Spock meets Mary Tyler Moore as logical Amy turns her life into an algorithm and finds the formula for love. Is this the future of romance? Buy this book and find out. – Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? and Public Parts.
Amy Webb has turned the wretched bloodsport of online dating into a hilarious, fascinating, meticulous, brutally honest, totally engrossing and utterly delightful book. Part memoir, part non-fiction narrative and all sorts of self-help (both in her organizational mania and mad dating genius), Webb’s color-coded and cross-indexed tale of her quest for exactly what she unapologetically wanted will make you look at data differently - and use it much, much better. Don’t let anyone claim that data is boring. Turns out, data is everything. – Rachel Sklar, co-founder of TheLi.st and Change The Ratio.
Amy’s book meets at least 3 of the 72 criteria she set up for her ideal mate: It’s smart, funny, and very, very, very good in bed. A hysterical, moving, unique story of how a woman’ s intelligence and dedication actually led to real, honest to goodness, true love. If you date online or just want to hear about it all the tricks, this book is for you. – Sam Marks, playwright and author of The Delling Shore and The Old Masters.
The perils of dating while Republican in Washington, DC.
She “broke up with me over an op-ed I wrote,” Tim recently told The Huffington Post. “After that, I just disclosed up front in the profile, and got several ‘Thanks for your note, you seem interesting, but I can’t imagine dating a Republican.’”
Looking for love can be fraught experience. But in the nation’s capital, it seems that being a single straight Republican can be an especially lonely endeavor.
"Part of it is the demographics," says a 41-year old female journalist who describes herself as an opinionated sports-lover and asked to be identified as "Funky Keys Crescent." (It’s her theoretical porn name.)
Crescent is open to cross-party romance, but meeting eligible Dems has also proved problematic — Crescent’s dates are mostly set-up by friends, themselves Republicans. So she’s single, despite what would appear to be perfectly reasonable standards.
"Primarily I’m looking for a heterosexual with a good sense of humor," she says. "And preferably not a lot of debt."
Shoshana, a 40-year-old fundraiser for right-leaning think tanks — also open to dating across the aisle but didn’t want to be identified by her real name — says gender is the problem. More specifically, because “you really have to work harder than men in this town,” she says. “I say that as a conservative, not at all as a radical feminist.”
Working hard means having less time for dating. “I think that I have been pickier about who I have been willing to spend my time with,” she says. “I think we use our time differently when you’re a woman working in conservative politics.”
Matt's Whacked View of What a Modern, Smart, Geeky Woman Wants
I want to tell you about one of the awful, horrible dates I went on at the beginning of my online dating experience. You won’t read about this particular date in the book…but it does highlight how disconnected lots of men are from our current realities.
Early on, Match.com emailed me round after round of potential dates. One of the profiles was Matt, a college football player-turned-MBA. His profile seemed interesting, so I clicked through. At that moment, he happened to be online, so we started chatting. I learned that he spoke a little Japanese and wanted to spend time living overseas. He even told me his full name, so as we messaged back and forth, I did a quick background check on him. He had, in fact, played football. He did hold an MBA. His story was accurate, as far as I could tell.
And he was very, very good looking.
In a way, Matt represented the iconic all-American boyfriend dream. He was six feet tall, had brown hair and blue eyes and was gainfully employed. Chatting over IM, he seemed to hold a good conversation — if digital — talking about music he liked and the past few movies he’d seen. We didn’t seem to share much in common beyond an interest in Japan, but I was told to “date everyone.” So when he abruptly asked me out for drinks the next evening, I said yes.
Matt was nice and asked a lot of questions. Did I like Dave Matthews? (Meh.) Did I drink Sam Adams? (Not really.) Did I follow the Bears, since I was from Chicago? (Ugh, football?) And then eventually, did I want to come back to his apartment? (What the hell, why not?) He invited me up, and inside it was also…nice. (Open Pottery Barn catalogue, flip to “Living Room #2.)
He sat down next to me on the couch and draped his arm across the top, stopping to brush some of the curls off of my forehead. “Tell me about the craziest experience you’ve had,” Matt asked, smiling at me.
So I told him the story of how once, while driving the North/ South Korea border on a reporting assignment, I made a wrong turn. My road map was in Chinese, and while I was able to read the characters, I couldn’t even navigate a map in English. Distracted and lost, I accidentally followed a convoy into the demilitarized zone. I was driving straight towards a military checkpoint, when a swarm of soldiers jumped out into the street waving machine guns at my car. I was offered a military escort back through the gate and just barely escaped an international inquiry. That, I told him, was pretty crazy.
“Yeah,” Matt said. “I’m surprised they let a lady go out alone like that, driving in a foreign country. That is crazy.”
Wait… Did you just say what I think you said?!
“Well this one time, I was in a bar with some of my buddies,” he began. “This Asian chick was like… ‘You know what? You should go get your cock pierced!’ Except she said it with a funny accent. ‘Coku pear-sed!’ And I was like… yeah! There’s a tattoo place next door. So we walked over there with two shots of Jägermeister and I just went for it.”
“Went for it?” I repeated, dumbfounded.
“Yeah. I got my ‘coku pear-sed’. Everyone tells me that the warm metal ball feels really good on the tongue, like it’s fun to play with.” Matt said, moving his hand up my thigh.
You can see my dilemma. For one thing, I believe strongly that women should be allowed to drive. Even in Korea. Match.com couldn’t have done a worse job at matching us. But more importantly, how could Matt have gotten this far in life to think that “ladies” like myself shouldn’t be allowed to operate vehicles in other countries? Or that I’d be allured by the promise of some sad, alcohol-fueled penis piercing?
Matt was one of many, many terrible dates. He, like many of the brogrammers you’re probably seeing on OKCupid or former jocks on Match.com, have a whacked view of what a modern, smart, geeky woman wants.
In the next few months leading up to the official launch of my book, I’m assembling a group of women who are interested in correcting Matt’s worldview. Our group is called Team Data, and members will receive one or two fun activities a month along with a digest of helpful info. (Advice for men looking to land someone like you? Strong women you admire, and who Matt’s of the world should know more about? DIY charts and graphs to rate your dates, just like I did…) Much of the action will take place on Tumblr and Facebook. But we’ll make sure our voices are heard everywhere.