Math Genius Hacked OkCupid To Go On Lots of Dates With Women Whom He Was Incompatible With

That’s my admittedly less pithy retitle of Kevin Poulsen’s “How a Math Genius Hacked OkCupid to find True Love.”  The salient points of that article is that an LA Math PhD data-mined the hell out of OkCupid, successfully created a profile which got women to send him messages, and then went on 55 first dates, netting 3 second dates, and 1 third date.  And no fourth dates.

So, I used OkCupid.  It was a while ago and I can’t remember too many specifics, but I went on a lot less than 55 first dates, and a lot more than 3 second dates.  This suggests to me that our eponymous Math Genius went to a lot of trouble to undermine any part of OkCupid that actually worked.  Which may not be exactly what I think of as the point of hacking something.

The description of the women he was targeting (at least for a while) is also, um…  interesting:

But he lingered over a cluster dominated by women in their mid-twenties who looked like indie types, musicians and artists. This was the golden cluster. The haystack in which he’d find his needle. Somewhere within, he’d find true love.

Note that McKinlay (the “Math Genius”) was 35.  Now, there are a lot of successful relationships with a 10 year age gap.  But there are a lot more of really unsuccessful relationships with a 10 year age gap, particularly when the age gap is from 25 to 35, rather than say 35 to 45.  And when you’re a 35 year old math PhD student working on your dissertation, and you think your ideal woman is a 25 year old indie artist, I have to wonder how engaged you ever have been with reality.

Long story short, eventually it sounds like McKinlay stopped trying to pretend that he was still a mid 20’s kid, and after more than 88 first dates, a girl liked him and they seem happy together.  Yay.  But 88 first dates sounds exhausting, and I do wonder if he’d have spent the same amount of effort actually letting whatever institutional wisdom OkCupid has in figuring out who’d actually like him, rather than data-mining and misrepresenting himself, if he’d have found a better match, sooner.


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