WALL STREET JOURNAL - Aug 13 - After being named CEO of OkCupid in May 2016, Elie Seidman revamped the design of the app to include in-depth info about users and requiring them to answer questions about political beliefs.
Q: What has been the most difficult part about transitioning to CEO of an online dating site?
A: The real question when I started was, what is the core of this brand? The challenge that I saw was how consumers and customers conceptualize the category. We put our focus into "substance over selfies" - connecting based on shared sensibilities.
Q: Could you explain the "substance over selfies" focus?
A: We want people to meet someone based on who they are, not what they look like. We let users create their profiles by answering 15 iconic OkCupid questions.
Q: What is the biggest change happening in online dating right now?
A: Swiping apps went through a novelty phase. We're no longer in that phase.
Q: What does OkCupid do about harassment?
A: We have a very large and effective moderation team in the U.S. It combines artificial intelligence and machine learning to look at data points to see what's happening. If there is something a machine can't make a decision on, it gets kicked over to human moderators.
Q: What has been the most surprising online dating behavior you've learned about your users?
A: Dating habits do vary by city. For example, New York is the very worst U.S. city for guys messaging women, who reply to men's messages only 10% of the time.
Q: What is the biggest difference between meeting people online and meeting people in person?
A: There is an ineffable element of chemistry which you can't tell easily online.
Q: Where do big data and algorithms fall short when it comes to love?
A: The thing that we at OkCupid have going for us is that while we cannot replace chemistry, what we can do is find a lot of people with shared sensibility.