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He’d hunker down with a huge data set, load up Excel, and, as he puts it, “embrace the darkness.” “I’m very grim when I’m doing this stuff, as I’m sure you could imagine, and it’s just something about the grimness. If I have one talent it’s the ability to sit in front of anything, whether it’s Pro Tools or Excel or some postmodern novel or whatever it is, and just, like, do it.” Sometimes the darkness doesn’t ebb even when Rudder hits publish.In late July, he wrote a post titled “We Experiment On Human Beings!The company had enough money to last until the end of the year, but without further investment that would be it.It was a free, advertising-supported dating site trying to scrape by in a market crowded with dozens of competitors and two hegemons: e Harmony and “Often the deeper you go with it, or the more time you spend with these things, the more you see folk wisdom, or the shit everybody knows, confirmed with numbers.” When Rudder highlights the differences in profile verbiage for those who like gentle or rough sex, it’s a voyeuristic peek into something you can’t even overhear at brunch.When he notes that a person who likes beer is more likely to want to sleep with somebody on a first date, it’s an intriguing question about our own personal correlations and causations.The book arrives on Tuesday, bearing the kind of Gladwellian title — “Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking” — meant to tell readers that a Big Idea lies between the covers.
But in 2009, Rudder said, “It was a different world because no company ever published any of their data about it.
In the back corner of the room, Christian Rudder sat by himself at the bar, nursing Stephen King’s “It.” Rudder, the 39-year-old president and co-founder of the online dating site OKCupid, had come to deliver a distilled version of what he’s been working on for the last five years.
In 2009, Rudder started OKTrends, an in-house blog for OKCupid, as a way to attract new members to a site that was nearly out of money.
Every person coming to OKCupid has the opportunity to answer thousands of questions about what’s important to her and her prospective mate.
The site runs the answers through some calculations to determine a match percentage for any given couple and then shows it to them. Rudder, who lives in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, is married and has never been on an online date.