CEO / OkCupid / New York
Problem: An online flirtation is only a partial win for online dating services. To improve matching algorithms, sites need to know who goes on dates with whom and how those dates turn out.
Solution: OkCupid Labs wants to advance its mobile platform to gather new kinds of data on real-world dating behavior. Via the app, users will be encouraged to give instant feedback about their dates with other OkCupiders.
"When people talk about the impact of mobile dating, everyone focuses on real-time meeting—this idea that my pocket will vibrate every time a hot girl walks by. That's important. But it's not transformative. The thing that's underdiscussed is the ability to understand how people are behaving in the real world. Right now, the only way we can measure success on OkCupid is by asking, Did an online conversation occur between these two people? With mobile, we're going to verify who actually went on a date and then ask, How'd the date go? Putting those two data points back into our algorithm will make it that much richer. And no, this won't require a huge shift in consumer behavior. If we can do something like the Pandora thumbs-up/thumbs-down thing, that'd be great!"
Shot on location at District, San Francisco
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Dan Slater is writing a book about the online-dating business and what technology means for the future of relationships, to be published by Penguin (Portfolio) in 2013.
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.