How Online Dating Cherishes the Notion That "The One" Is Out There For You

It may surprise you to learn that the entrepreneur behind dating sites like OKCupid and Match.com got his start by creating SparkNotes.com and Edonkey, a video-sharing site.

It may surprise you to learn that the entrepreneur behind OKCupid and current CEO of Match.com got his start by creating SparkNotes.com and Edonkey, a video-sharing site. Indeed Sam Yagan is more a doctor of business than a doctor of love, though that doesn't stop him from seeing romance through the lens of his company. Before OKCupid existed, Yagan knew that Match.com ruled the roost:


"If you play the incumbent’s game, you’re usually going to lose. The phrase I always said, you can't out-Match.com Match.com. ... But if you can change the game—not make it about doing beautiful TV campaigns and charging people $20 a month for a subscription—and create a new game, that game being one of 'get customers to talk about you by word of mouth,' use viral tactics, make it free. All of a sudden you have an advantage."

While social scientists have suggested that having too many choices may be paralyzing, especially when it comes to love, Yagan turns into a surprising romantic. His explanation of the high divorce rate is that people have too few choices and can only select from their immediate surroundings. By expanding the number of choices you have, you increase the likelihood of finding the person who is *truly* compatible with you. It's beginning to sound as if, despite the innumerable choices, online dating can help you find The One.

In his Big Think interview, OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder voices his concern over who owns online data and how a right to privacy might become a privilege of the wealthy:

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