Home » How I Gamed Online Data to Meet My Match: Amy Webb at TEDxMidAtlantic (Transcript)

How I Gamed Online Data to Meet My Match: Amy Webb at TEDxMidAtlantic (Transcript)

And so in my drunken state that’s exactly what I did. I started writing. And I wrote down every single possible thing that I could think of, from height to the amount of body hair that I found acceptable to the kind of musicals that I would agree to listen to and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. And by the end of this exercise I had come up with 72 attributes — things that I was going to demand in any person that I would date from here on out.

Now, 72 seems like a lot and I had a whole bunch of scrawled notes and it was really hard to, sort of figure out you know, who would meet all of those qualifications. I had to parse that list. So I thought about all of the people that I’d ever dated and what things on that list, the good things that they had in common. I thought about the attributes that were important to my family because my family and I are very close and there are lots and lots of them and the last thing I need is any more complaining. And attributes that were important to me.

And once I had all of that figured out I came up with a list of weighted scores so I had my top tier list and my secondary list. And in my top tier list were points that were pretty high, I had lots of different things. So I wanted someone who was Jew-ish, like me. Not religious but very culturally tied, everything. I also wanted somebody who would want to have kids with me so these are pretty normal things.

But I also thought that the stuff on my second tier list was just as important. So I weighted those slightly differently and I was very specific about what I wanted so I was looking for somebody, for example, who liked to travel but not cruise-ship travel that’s not what I would call traveling. I wanted somebody who was ready to strap on a backpack and get out and hike around. I was also looking for somebody who was not fat and not skinny, but would always weight 20 pounds more than I did — regardless of what I weighed at that moment.

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So, anyhow — I had my top tier and my second tier and now that I had all of this figured out still in the same night in my drunken state, I developed a scoring system so for 700 points, I would agree to email the guy for 900 points I would go on a date and for 1500 points I would consider him for a long-term relationship. So I had set some minimum thresholds and I thought, “This is really, really smart.” Right? I am no longer gonna go out with everybody. I’m gonna have to only go out with men who meet these different criteria.

And so when I went back in I found Eric1971. He looked pretty good. I liked the way that his profile sounded, I liked the things that he wrote and as I started scoring him on a scrolled matrix I found that too many of the things from my list fell below the middle line and so as a result of that I saved myself a terrible date. Right, and having to send out a bunch of emails.

Then I found Jewishdoc57 which, I have to tell you, he was really good looking, but he also specifically in his profile said that he liked to travel and not cruise-ship travel, and I thought, “I’ve hit the jackpot”. My system is definitely working. I put him on a matrix and everything was above that middle line. I had created my own sort of algorithm and my own way to personalize these online dating websites so that I could use them as databases for my own individual tastes and needs. There’s one problem with that.

I realized that if I thought Jewishdoc57 was so amazing there were probably some people out there who did too. So, still in my drunken state I decided to take a look. And that’s when I found Smileygirl1978. SmileyGirl was very short and very thin and said that she was silly, nice and friendly and has a “genuine” sense of humor. Who is this horrible woman? And why can’t she spell? Well, SmileyGirl picked my interest, so I went deeper in and found that I had some problems because while all of these women looked pretty much and sounded pretty much the same, when comparing them to the photos that I had posted, I saw that perhaps I had a problem. And that my perfect 1500 point man may not think that I was so perfect back.

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I also looked at the way that they were describing themselves so whereas I had my entire resumé posted they just used aspirational language and sounded like they were really fun to hang out with. At that moment I knew that I needed to be fearless. It was time to join JDate as a man!

True story! So I ran a little experiment. I created 10 male profiles that each fit the archetype of the perfect point man that I had developed And when I say, “Created 10 user profiles”, I didn’t just go in and type in some stuff the way that I did the first time around. I created 10 separate characters with huge amounts of data associated with each. I knew what their favorite foods were, I knew that one was in a battle with his sister and they didn’t get along because of something that happened in a car at a family vacation. I knew these men inside and out and they all scored the minimum threshold of points for me to date them. And my goal here with these 10 men was to learn.

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