|Born||April 10, 1977|
|Alma mater||Harvard University
|Occupation||Co-founder of OkCupid
Co-founder of SparkNotes
Vice-Chairman of Match.com
CEO of Shoprunner
|Spouse(s)||Jessica Droste Yagan (m. 2003)|
Dr. Haifa Yagan
OKCupid's model is almost entirely based on advertising, which is the way most online media is monetized these days, whether it's the news or whether it's sports, and we think online dating is going to evolve in the exact same way.
I would say the larger the pool you have to select from, the more likely you are to find the most compatible person for you if you have the right algorithms working on your behalf.
Obviously, there's more to aesthetic appearance than just race, but that is going to be the first thing that someone notices when they look at a picture.
When you're thinking about building your own online dating profile, especially on OkCupid, you should go through the same steps you're thinking about when you're going out to meet someone new. You want to put your best foot forward.
The first time you meet someone, the conversation is sort of on life support. You're just trying to live another moment in the life of the conversation.
The sort of the most efficient way for online dating marketplace to evolve and, in fact, any marketplace to evolve is to have one really big market where people can enter and exit as they please, where people have really advanced search, sort, and filtering technology.
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.
There are over a million people running around the United States that were born to parents just on Match.com alone, to say nothing of the other properties we run, so that's a million lives that our company just had a little to do with in bringing their parents together.
We've learned a bunch of things; when you send a message to people, keep those messages short. Imagine walking up to a girl in a bar and going into a four-minute speech about how great you are. No one wants to hear that.
I don't have the looks to compete at a bar, and I'm not that funny. So the last thing I want is to be in a situation where that's what I'm competing on. I'd rather be on OkCupid or Match, where I can write a 300-word essay about myself that's really good.
I'm 34 years old. In most jobs, your early 30s to early 40s are your power years.
Life is just a set of experiences. As long as there are new experiences for me in a corporate job, I don't think I have to be an entrepreneur.
We sold OkCupid to Match in January of 2011. In September of 2012, I became CEO of all of Match, which is the operating segment of IAC that contains all of the dating properties.
In an ideal world, we would charge people a $10,000 success fee when they get married or a $5,000 success fee if they enter into a relationship with someone. Unfortunately, that's a little bit hard to track, although someday maybe we'll get around to that.
I hated meeting people at bars when I was single because it's all about the looks and the funny line.
A lot of times people feel a little apprehensive about suggesting to actually meet in person. One of the reasons that can be hard is people think they have to propose something super novel.
I get to be the nosiest friend or acquaintance that anyone has because it's – my job is to ask you about your dating life all the time.
I like being part of a big company's executive team. It's fun to stretch other parts of my brain, considering questions like, 'How should we think of acquisitions?' I get to be privy to things that would never come up at a small company.
Our entire brand is about transparency. We want that data out there because you know what? If you are only getting one in three messages replied to, you're normal. You're right there in the middle of everything with everyone else.
I remember sitting in on meetings where everyone in the room was twice as old as I was.
About 10,000 people a day go on first dates from Match… We're trying to celebrate that, bring those success stories to the forefront and make it even easier in our product to meet up at Starbucks.
We were intrigued by the fact that we had so much actual behavior among people on our dating site, OKCupid.
One thing matters more than anything else for a dating product, and that is the quantity and quality of the people who use the product. It's really freaking hard to get critical mass.
We did some research that showed that the very first word of your message that you send a girl – when we looked at men sending messages to women – the very first word can have a tremendous… can have a very accurate prediction of whether you're going to get a reply.
I hope that the movie industry will learn from the experiences of the music industry and will be much more constructive in their approach to P2P.
What people don't realize is that Tinder built a brand on more than the experience of the swipe.
New Year's Eve to Valentine's Day is our peak season, and in many ways, Valentine's Day is our Christmas. Everybody in the world makes the same three New Year's resolutions: health, career and money, and love.
My work involves online dating, but I believe almost every behavior exhibited online has an offline corollary. Really, the medium doesn't change human nature.
Dating is a numbers game. What we try to promise is good first dates. Once that first date happens, it's really up to you.
OkCupid has users from 18 to 80 on the site. And we get to observe all of their actions. We get to watch how they use the site, how they interact with other people.
Your goal in an online dating profile and in your first message to somebody is to strike up a conversation.
One thing that we learned that we published on our blog post is that uniformly, men lie about their height by almost exactly two inches. So if you look at a plot of census bureau data on the distribution of men's heights in the U.S. and you plot men's heights on OKCupid, it is exactly shifted two inches to the left.
I run all the brands like cousins. You want your cousins to do well, but you want to do better. All of our brands want to win, but we certainly want to fight fair and coordinate as much as we can behind the scenes. But to the consumer, we want to offer the broadest, most competitive set of products that we can.
My OkCupid co-founders are my best friends. We were in each other's weddings.
I started my first company when I was in my college dorm as a senior with two of my really good friends. We started a company that became SparkNotes.com. You know CliffsNotes? SparkNotes is a modern-day version of that.
We think we have the best matching algorithm, we think we have the best members. So why wouldn't we want to just shine the light onto just how our processes work, what the real data are, and let people come to their own conclusions.
In dating, the question is how many Tinder knockoffs are we going to have, and are any of them going to take off?
I think for marketplace businesses, and when you think about online dating, it's not a social network. It's not a place where you go to talk to people you already know; it's a place you go to interact with someone you've never met before.
I want to see talent and companies and money and entrepreneurs moving to Chicago.
It turns out that if you're a 24-year-old whose only line on their resume says CEO, you are totally unemployable.
There has to be a willingness to constantly accept critical feedback and rapidly iterate to make things better.
My friends and the people I know understand that I'm going to ask them what they're doing, how they're dating, who they're dating, where they're going and what they're doing. I'm constantly asking those questions and making sure I'm in touch with the customer.
We think that there really is racial bias in determining who people want to date.
We can watch every time someone looks at a profile. Do they choose to send that person a message? We can look at every message that's sent, and we can determine, was that message replied to or not.
Because we're able to adjust for compatibility – and what that means is we've already normalized for how well we think each person is going to get along with the other person – the only factor left in determining response rate, really, is the aesthetic appearance of the person who sent you that message.
Something like a quarter of the founders that have gone through Excelerate and Techstars are women. I'm incredibly proud of that.
I'm an off-the-charts introvert. To me, being around groups of strangers is exhausting. I've had to sort of train myself to think about two tactics: finding common ground and invoking humor.
I think of OkCupid as an online bar; a place where singles can go, have fun with each other and in the process hopefully meet new people, some of whom might turn into a romantic relationship.