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“People increase their bar because there’s this artificial belief of endless options.” Sterling-Angus, who was an economics major, and Mc Gregor, who studied computer science, had an idea: What if, rather than presenting people with a limitless array of attractive photos, they radically shrank the dating pool?What if they gave people one match based on core values, rather than many matches based on interests (which can change) or physical attraction (which can fade)?Seventeen years later, two Stanford classmates, Sophia Sterling-Angus and Liam Mc Gregor, landed on a similar concept while taking an economics class on market design.They’d seen how overwhelming choice impacted their classmates’ love lives and felt certain it led to “worse outcomes.” “Tinder’s huge innovation was that they eliminated rejection, but they introduced massive search costs,” Mc Gregor explained.
“As you turn that dial and look at five-month, five-year, or five-decade relationships, what matters really, really changes.
If you’re spending 50 years with someone, I think you get past their height.” The pair quickly realized that selling long-term partnership to college students wouldn’t work.
So they focused instead on matching people with their perfect “backup plan” — the person they could marry later on if they didn’t meet anyone else.
The idea was to match people not based solely on similarities (unless that’s what a participant values in a relationship), but on complex compatibility questions.
Each person would fill out a detailed survey, and the algorithm would compare their responses to everyone else’s, using a learned compatibility model to assign a “compatibility score.” It then made the best one-to-one pairings possible — giving each person the best match it could — while also doing the same for everyone else.