Thursday, March 7, 2019

What two questions should you ask on your first date?

I am reading the book Dataclysm, written by an economist who founded OK Cupid, a dating site.

The book offers lots of dating advice, like if you and your date answer these two questions the same way, you have a much better chance of ending up together:

  • Do you like scary movies? 
  • Have you ever traveled to another country alone?

The book also claims to have a very good predictor of whether you and your partner will last based on the importance each other to your networks of facebook friends (link here, but the web app does not appear to be working. If anyone finds a working link, please post it in the comments!):
...based on counting the number of times a person and her spouse functioned as the bridge between disjointed parts of their network as a couple

I prefer “assimilation” because I think that better captures the upshot: High assimilated people have a unique role as a couple within their mutual network. Highly assimilated couples function – the two people together – as the bond between otherwise unconnected cliques. They are the special glue in a given spread of dots, and furthermore, they’re a glue like epoxy: it takes both ingredients to make the thing hold together.

Another interesting tidbit came from the "Crazy Blind Dating App" (since defunct)
A couple of years ago, ...OKCupid removed all profiles photos from the website for a few hours. ...While the app itself lasted only a few months, it still managed to serve blind dates to about 10,000 people. How did they feel about those blind dates? They loved them! Users, both male and female, reported having a great time, regardless of the other person’s attractiveness. 

Similarly, the success of the blind dates did not depend on political persuasion, or any of the other features selected by users to screen potential dates.  It is almost as if the users don't know what they want, which is disturbing to economists who typically assume otherwise.

BOTTOM LINE:  OK, but not as good as Everybody Lies mostly because Dataclysm spends too much time telling readers how to think, rather than showing them what they found.  Like Everybody Lies, the book was disappointing in that it doesn't explore the hypothesis of statistical discrimination, e.g., like that uncovered by Airbnb and Uber.


  1. Can confirm. Asked girl if she liked scary movies on our first date, and have been dating for seven months.

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