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Silicon Valley Singles Are Giving Up On the Algorithms of Love (washingtonpost.com) 243

The Washington Post: Melissa Hobley, an executive at the dating app OkCupid, hears the complaints about the apps [being unable to find good matches] regularly and thinks they get a bad rap. Silicon Valley workers "are in the business of scalable, quick solutions. And that's not what love is," Hobley said. "You can't hurry love. It's reciprocal. You're not ordering an object. You're not getting a delivery in less than seven minutes." Finding love, she added, takes commitment and energy -- and, yes, time, no matter how inefficiently it's spent.

"You have a whole city obsessed with algorithms and data, and they like to say dating apps aren't solving the problem," Hobley said. "But if a city is male-dominant, if a city is known for 16-hour work days, those are issues that dating apps can't solve." One thing distinguishes the Silicon Valley dating pool: The men-to-women ratio for employed, young singles in the San Jose metro area is higher than in any other major area. There were about 150 men for every 100 women, compared with about 125 to 100 nationwide, of never-married young people between 25 and 34 in San Jose, U.S. Census Bureau data from 2016 shows. That ratio permeates the economy here, all the way to the valley's biggest employers, which have struggled for years to bring more women into their ranks. Men make up about 70% of the workforces of Apple, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet, company filings show.

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Silicon Valley Singles Are Giving Up On the Algorithms of Love

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's a big data experiment and the result is exactly as expected. Go figure you can't cheat at this either.

    • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @12:33AM (#56145796)

      I think they screwed up somewhere. From what I understand about half of the male population is gay, so the dating pool should be pretty good no matter which way you swing. Of course, there is the number of lesbians to counteract that, but urandictionary doesn't have any data on that, so I can only guess.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        You're right, but for the wrong reason. The gay population of males is tiny, but the unfit male population is huge, far more than 50%. Remember, half of all men are below average, which pretty much gets them out of the dating pool. The Silicon Valley women are accomplished, so they are only interested in a small percentage of top-tier men. These men who do qualify...what would they want with a driven, programmer wife? Thus do both sides claim there isn't anyone available.
        • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @10:27PM (#56150032)

          In a marriage someone has to marry up and someone has to marry down. Traditionally men have married down as women have not really had real jobs. That has changed. Now women have equally good jobs so now some women need to marry down. But women have been brainwashed that the perfect man will earn more than them, be handsome, a great father and help around the house. The fairytale cannot happen for everyone. Some women computer engineers will have to marry baristas. Its not because there is a shortage of men, its because now women have equally good jobs and given the silicon valley costs and lifestyles 2 bristas getting married cannot afford to live here and 2 engineers getting married would be too busy to run a household.

          • We have not reached true gender equality until it's socially acceptable for a man to reject a woman because she's too poor.
        • These men who do qualify...what would they want with a driven, programmer wife?

          I read that first time as a "programmable wife", and thought - has this man not heard of Galatea [wikipedia.org] (though the name is much more recent than the myth), or the Stepford Wives [wikipedia.org], or modern robotic sex dolls [realbotix.com].

          Ever since the (mass) production of the first (common) condoms (around 1850), sex and reproduction have been two distinct questions. But people still struggle to understand this. Sex robots and teledildonics are just another step a

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @12:55AM (#56145836)

      We're all nerds here, so if technology isn't solving the problem the answer is MORE TECH. In this case the obvious solution is user reviews, which are conspicuously missing from dating sites. I am a solid four-star guy, and I realize that five-star chicks are out of my league, but I also don't want to waste time on two-star and three-star women. It would be great if I could downvote women whose photoshopped pictures don't match reality.

      • In this case what tech could do to solve the problem, given the male to female ratio is robot girlfriends. That would be tech advancement worthy of being seen :)
        • by Rande ( 255599 )

          Or full immersion VR girlfriends - less cleanup afterwards and no embarrassment when you have fleshy friends over.

          • Or just ditch the fleshy friends. Your plastic pals are more fun to be with.

            I for one welcome our new robot girlfriend overlords.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 17, 2018 @09:40PM (#56145318)
    Not surprising. Here I am reading slashdot at 5:30 PM Saturday night.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article summed up the issue quite well.
    On paper, people are far too picky and don't want to just meet/explore. However, given a different setting they relax expectations.

    My advice, break dating rules and do something fun. If the date turns out as a no go at least you had fun.

    • So you're saying match.com and saucey.com should co-brand and cooperate?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Step 1. Meet and see if the person is remotely compatible.
      Step 2. Do something fun on second date (or an extended first).

      First dates should be a quick hit and run.

  • Expectations (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Can apps help you find "love"? No. Can apps help you find sex? Yes.

    The complainers don't understand the difference between love and sex. That's why they fail.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      too true
        you can use an app to date, talk about something in common and fuck for a few years and get married but real love won't be there until you go through some hard times together

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't Tinder originally meant for quick hook-ups, and not for making marriages like some people use it now? Just imagine the conflict when some people send dick pictures with "how-abouts" while others want to find the true, romantic love. It's like somebody didn't read the fucking manual, literally.

  • by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @09:45PM (#56145334)

    Write a heartfelt but rather naive memo explaining that you value diversity but want your company to enhance it in ways that don't 'incentivize illegal discrimination'.

    Get promptly fired by your Ivy League Communist wannabe management.

    Go on the paid speaker circuit and start a Patreon. Sue your company.

    Meet blonde alt right hottie with rich conservative parents on the paid speaker circuit.

    "Value her diversity" HARD. Start a family and write a book.

    It beats slogging away knocking out boilerplate code in a single sex environment.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "You can't hurry love. It's reciprocal. You're not ordering an object. You're not getting a delivery in less than seven minutes."

    Actually, isn't Tinder that?

  • Date out... (Score:1, Troll)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 )
    Not sticking to your own ethnicity opens up a bigger dating pool...
    • by Anonymous Coward

      While you're trying to force people to change their preferences, remember that if you just stop caring about gender it more than doubles your dating pool!

  • OKCupid has long used their userbase for social experimentation. They only match people with those unlikely to work out, because it means they keep coming back and paying while thinking "well, it's matching me with people and I'm getting dates, it must just not be the right one." They're especially fans of social justice matchmaking.
    • OKC lets you search by criteria, and you can essentially select any that you want.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I used a dating service to find my wife. We get along and rarely argue.

      She laid it out for me what women want. Strength to support them when they are balling their eyes out. Not 'oh I am there' but actual sympathy. Not but maybe I can get some if I act interested. But actual strength. The 'bad boys' that most men fail out to women like because those losers project that strength. But women quickly find out it is a facade.

      The service I used laid out the odds. For every 100 people you meet 25 or so you

      • "I want someone who can make me laugh"

        This is not just an expression. If your problem with women is having esoteric interests that they don't share, humor is actually surprisingly good at breaking the ice. And if you're concerned about height, hit the gym. Change those things about you that you CAN change.

      • She laid it out for me what women want. Strength to support them when they are balling their eyes out.

        If someone balled their eyes out, I'd probably call an ambulance then nope the fuck out of there. That sounds seriously unpleasant.

  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @11:00PM (#56145536) Homepage
    None of this is even remotely of the same magnitude as the core issue of online dating: men outnumber women on all these sites by a factor of 10:1, if not worse. Women get overwhelmed by the number of messages they receive and either drop out of the service or become extremely picky. Men end up with an extremely low positive response rate and so turn towards a "shotgun" approach of just sending identical messages to dozens or even hundreds of women, further exacerbating the issue.

    As long as the gender imbalance isn't solved, online dating is going to remain a game of chance and a mess for both genders. Right now, all it's doing is taking the already fairly dated (but still very widespread) social norm that men should be the ones initiating romantic advances (and therefore take on the numerous refusals and the emotional toll that goes along with them) and push it to a ridiculous limit.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Kjella ( 173770 )

      While your description is pretty much spot on you say it's a mess for both genders and I don't really see how. Women certainly can make romantic advances if they like someone, but if they just sit back they get plenty offers and can pick and choose. Sure they complain about not finding Mr. Right and all the guys looking for a one night stand, but if you look at the standards in the lower end of men where the choice is between a girlfriend or no girlfriend... eh. Anything with a pussy and a pulse can get a b

      • It does suck for women. Create a female profile on POF and test it out. Men come across as undesirable on these sites. A woman who doesn't have something seriously wrong with her will get 10 messages a day and probably one every 5 minutes when she is logged in. A guy has to stand out in this noise and keep a woman's attention for 3 or 4 messages over a span of 15 minutes. Stand out to much and she will reject you as not being normal enough. Stand out just the right amount and you seem to needy and too
        • Yes, all of this. I actually think this should be a thing that everyone experiences - very few things expose the difference in gender experience better than what it's like to be a man (ignored) and a woman (inundated) on a dating site.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The problem is people not having enough opportunity to socialize. Online dating is a time saving measure, but it makes the effort required so low that we get the problems you describe.

        As well as a lack of time, there is a lack of venues. Lots of places to drink, but that isn't really what you want for a serious relationship.

        This is definitely a cultural problem. For example, in Japan it's going the other way, with some guys deciding they are happy without a girlfriend and women but being able to find a part

        • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
          I'll absolutely agree on the lack of venues and cultural issues, but I disagree it's about an opportunity problem for socialization. If that were the case, men and women should realistically be affected to a similar extent, but that's not the case. The problem is almost exclusively cultural, in that men are expected to court women and thus women tend to have an easier time finding relationships without having to resort to online dating.
    • Men should be strong enough to handle the emotional toll rejection. If you're not good enough to deal with it, maybe that's life trying to teach you a lesson. Don't try to fob this heartbreak off onto women, they have enough problems already.
      • Men should be strong enough to handle the emotional toll rejection. If you're not good enough to deal with it, maybe that's life trying to teach you a lesson. Don't try to fob this heartbreak off onto women, they have enough problems already.

        I don't think anyone's blaming the women - they do have their own problems (constant streams of inappropriate messages being one of them). The system is flawed, that's what's at fault.

        Also, why the hell should men be 'strong enough'. If you are strong enough to handle multiple rejections then you're probably not paying attention, you could well be being an awful person but you wouldn't notice because you're being 'strong' and 'handling it'. This is exactly toxic masculinity - that being affected emotionally

    • Initially I tried to type a long good message... Only to get AT MOST a single 6 word sentence as response, at worst a one word sentence "Yes." (wtf ? Do you want me to continue speaking ? Are you interrested ? Not at all ? WHATTTTT ?). And there there is the scammer. So after a month or so I took the shotgun approach and got a few response (funnily enough I estimated the number of single women in my region using OKCupid for my age : 55. Everybody else is 100 +km, so that service does not seem to be widely u
    • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @08:19AM (#56146588) Homepage

      You are exactly correct. It's a horrendous experience for everyone. The men who have any self-awareness (ie most decent people) get very quickly disillusioned, the repeated effort to make contact and get nothing back eats away at the ego. Rather quickly these men give up and leave. The ones that stick it out are the ones where this treatment doesn't bruise their ego - the ones that don't care and will behave in any manner.

      The women on the site get tens of messages per day, and a good number of those will be from the men who have no shame and will say fairly inappropriate things. Words do matter, and that constant stream of unpleasant things means they don't have a good reason to hang about either.

      It's bizarre that the new technology actually takes us backwards in male-female heterosexual interaction. The social norm that men approach women, in real life is tempered by the fact that women have multiple ways in communicating their interest without doing the main approach - through looks, touch, etc., in a way that is ambiguous and deniable. You can negotiate interest without actually breaking the 'order'. On the internet everything is formalised so much that it is impossible to have any ambiguity. Someone presses the 'like' button first. Someone sends the message first. So that is left for men, who have to do it without any information about whether they will be welcomed. Women have to handle many inappropriate advances, men have to approach without any idea whether it's appropriate.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )

        The social norm that men approach women, in real life is tempered by the fact that women have multiple ways in communicating their interest without doing the main approach - through looks, touch, etc., in a way that is ambiguous and deniable. You can negotiate interest without actually breaking the 'order'.

        I think we're headed straight for a big culture shock in that particular aspect though. As women rightfully rectify the state of things regarding sexual harassment, assault, etc., the expectation that ambiguity in responding to advances is acceptable will also have to vanish. Most men will not attempt an advance if the response could potentially turn into some form of accusation of depravity. Women will have to be more direct and obvious in their responses, or we'll see a sharp decline in relationships as o

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @11:15PM (#56145604) Homepage

    It has nothing to do with love being hard, it's because their algorithms SUCK. Mainly because they look for "desireable" traits rather than excluding 'deal breakers'.

    This a 'one night stand' mindset - you end up finding the desirable/attractive but damaged people, not the acceptable ones.

    Example:
    OKCupid asks people if they have cats or dogs. Then they let you look for someone that already owns a cat or a dog. They do NOT let you exclude people that have cats or dogs.

    That is a one short term relationship system. If you only date people that already have a cat or a dog, you are looking for someone that won't have to change their life style to fit with yours. Perfect if all you want is a couple of months of fun.

    However, let's say you want to get married. If they love you, they will grow to love your cat or dog. It will not be a 'deal killer'. But if you are allergic to a cat or a dog, you NEED to exclude those people. You can't ask them to give up their pet just to date you. If you tried that, your success rate plummets.

    Same thing with many other such factors. If you are a short man WITHOUT a complex, then you are perfectly willing to date women, regardless of their height. You have no problem asking out someone a foot taller than you. That's healthy, non-discriminatory thinking. But if you try to ask out most tall women, you will be wasting your time, because most such women only want to date tall men.a

    The truth is short men do not want to search for short women. Short men want to search for any woman that is willing to date men their size. Guess what - OKCupid knows which women are not willing to date short men but OKCupid will not let you exclude those women from your search..

    The dating web sites are all seriously flawed by their 'show me a 10' mindset, rather than a "no deal breakers" mindset.

    • It has nothing to do with love being hard, it's because their algorithms SUCK. Mainly because they look for "desireable" traits rather than excluding 'deal breakers

      This is laughable, and demonstrates a severe lack of comprehension of interpersonal relationships, even the bare minimum self awareness.

      We all like to believe we know ourselves inside and out, but the fact is we don't know shit. We're just kinda riding these chemical signals. Our bodies are this amazingly complex machine; we can't hope to know a 10th of what's going on, nevermind being fully cognizant of what we like. Your exclusionary list that you seem to fond of would only serve to deprive people of

      • It has nothing to do with love being hard, it's because their algorithms SUCK. Mainly because they look for "desireable" traits rather than excluding 'deal breakers

        We all like to believe we know ourselves inside and out, but the fact is we don't know shit. We're just kinda riding these chemical signals. Our bodies are this amazingly complex machine; we can't hope to know a 10th of what's going on, nevermind being fully cognizant of what we like. Your exclusionary list that you seem to fond of would only serve to deprive people of their choices, virtually guaranteeing misery except for those lucky few.

        Are you seriously suggesting that riding on the love hormones will cure cat/dog allergies? Because that was a good example of a deal breaker, something you cannot change by willpower alone.

        More generally, I agree with your general argument that we people don't really know what we want. If you're looking for the "10" you imagine right now, it's probably not that great for you in the long run. OTOH, from personal life experience of myself and others, I believe it's much easier to know what you don't like t

        • Are you seriously suggesting that riding on the love hormones will cure cat/dog allergies?

          That's not what I said, Ms Newman.

          What I said is we don't know ourselves anywhere near as well as we like to pretend we do. So someone with a cat/dog might realize they'd rather be with an amazing person who has animal allergies ( than have animals ), but only if s|he were looking to find them first ( and visa/versa ). Or perhaps those animal owners are themselves allergic, and so have hypoallergenic animals.

          You are artificially, and inappropriately, limiting your pool of potential matches through hard ex

    • by jvkjvk ( 102057 )

      OKCupid asks people if they have cats or dogs. Then they let you look for someone that already owns a cat or a dog. They do NOT let you exclude people that have cats or dogs.

      That is a one short term relationship system. If you only date people that already have a cat or a dog, you are looking for someone that won't have to change their life style to fit with yours. Perfect if all you want is a couple of months of fun.

      Your words do not back up this assertion.

      Why it it only perfect "if all you want is a couple of months of fun"? Aren't relationships built upon congruencies as well as fascinating differences?

      Regards.

    • That is a one short term relationship system. If you only date people that already have a cat or a dog, you are looking for someone that won't have to change their life style to fit with yours. Perfect if all you want is a couple of months of fun.

      This could be intentional. If you find a permanent relationship, then OKCupid will permanently lose you as a customer. Even if you don't pay them to be a member, they will have one less profile they can use as bait for attracting new members.

  • "You can't hurry love. It's reciprocal. You're not ordering an object. You're not getting a delivery in less than seven minutes." Finding love, she added, takes commitment and energy -- and, yes, time, no matter how inefficiently it's spent.

    The complaint, Ms. Hobley, isn't that your site/app fails at finding a match that a person is already in love with; it's that your site/app fails at even finding a match that a person could fall in love with.

    Yes, your users have to work at making a lasting relationship. I think there are very few people who don't understand that on some level. But if people are finding your site/app less useful than meeting people through their hobbies, you're probably doing something wrong.

    Although, to be fair, I do wonder

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Yes, your users have to work at making a lasting relationship. I think there are very few people who don't understand that on some level. But if people are finding your site/app less useful than meeting people through their hobbies, you're probably doing something wrong.

      Actually, that's a pretty high bar. People you meet through your hobbies are more likely to have common interests, which makes them much more compatible than randomly selected people using almost any other metric.

      One big problem is that the

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday February 17, 2018 @11:44PM (#56145694)

    Lonely Silicon Valley men:

    How long must I wait
    How much more can I take
    Before loneliness will cause my heart
    Heart to break?

    No I can't bear to live my life alone
    I grow impatient for a love to call my own
    But when I feel that I, I can't go on
    These precious words keeps me hangin' on

    Melissa Hobley:

    You can't hurry love
    No, you just have to wait
    She said love don't come easy
    It's a game of give and take

    You can't hurry love
    No, you just have to wait
    You got to trust, give it time
    No matter how long it takes

    (Apologies to the Supremes and/or Phil Collins)

    • First thing I thought of when I saw this quote in the article summary:

      "You can't hurry love. It's reciprocal. You're not ordering an object. You're not getting a delivery in less than seven minutes." Finding love, she added, takes commitment and energy -- and, yes, time, no matter how inefficiently it's spent.

  • My mama said you can't hurry love

    No, you'll just have to wait

    She said "love don't come easy

    But it's a game of give and take"

    You can't hurry love

    No, you'll just have to wait

    She said "love don't come easy

    But it's a game of give and take"

    You can't hurry love, no you'll just have to wait

  • "Giving Up On the Algorithms of Love" just tells me the kids are pretty smart! ;)

    Just my 2 cents ;)
  • Lots of people seem to misunderstand what Silicon Valley is.

    Silicon Valley is not much different than North Dakota and the oil/gas industry, where lots of young men go to earn big bucks for jobs that need some certain skills and are in demand compared to the average population. The housing prices are ridiculous there too and the aren't many women in oil/gas fields because they're sensible enough not to want to do that kind of work.

    Silicon valley just looks a little bit nicer and appears like a place
  • by Organic Brain Damage ( 863655 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @02:01AM (#56145982)
    You make love.
  • Compared with the Indian engineers (male or female) who are expecting an arranged marriage and are not in the dating pool, the non-Indians (mostly Anglo-Americans) are not happy. Suggest the lonely Anglo-American men to try switching over to the Indian system. Some of your Indian friends might even help you.

    • by Average ( 648 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @01:18PM (#56147490)

      At one level you might think it. But, I've talked about it with a number of Indian co-workers. At least, of the castes that end up working in America, there's some *stupidly* expensive wedding expectations, *stupidly* expensive rings and gold, and you'd f-ing well better have the house and car figured out before the wedding. Because your mother-in-law is moving in. These nice cricket-playing engineers were all working themselves silly over this stuff.

      When I suggest to them that they just elope and have a $50 civil wedding (like I did), they just don't even fathom how that's a possibility. Trust me, the Indian system sucks, just in different ways.

    • I've known several Indian colleagues that gave up on the American dating scene and had their parents arrange a marriage. However, I know some that have been very successful with the American way of courtship (mostly women). However, one colleague of mine had quite a bit of drama in his family when he married a girl he met from another caste.

      They all seem happy regardless of how they met.
  • by HuskyDog ( 143220 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @05:58AM (#56146374) Homepage
    So, there are a lot more men than women in Silicon Valley. OK, but since babies are born in almost exactly a 50:50 ratio that means that some places in the US must have more available women than men? I presume single men in Silicon Valley can't move to these places since there are no suitable jobs, but perhaps they could at least vacation there. Ahh, perhaps people in Silicon Valley don't get vacations either.

    Notes:
    1: Since I am in the UK and married I am asking where all the single women are purely out of curiosity.
    2: My wife is from a different European country, so I don't see that there is a problem with dating someone in a different US state.
    • by Average ( 648 ) on Sunday February 18, 2018 @11:29AM (#56147090)

      The key words in the story were "singles 25-35".

      There are a statistically significant surplus of single men 25-35. There is also a statistically significant surplus of single women 55-65.

      This visualization is fascintating. http://jonathansoma.com/single... [jonathansoma.com]

      Underlying factor--there are quite a lot of 25 year old women (especially those who are single moms already) willing to become a 45-year-old middle manager's second wife. There are exceedingly few 25 year old men (especially who would like to be fathers) who are willing to become a 45-year-old elementary school teacher's second husband.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        There is also a statistically significant surplus of single women 55-65.

        Yeah, and they all make googly eyes at me when I'm dancing with them.

  • Fits my experience. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 )

    I've had a very solid share of affairs and relationships within the last decade, fuled by a growning aged geek-perspective and the cool that comes with it, a "silver-back" bonus, social dancing and systematically practicing the mating game and doing some PUA research. It worked out very well. Awesome pr0n-style sex, all-out "let's just f*ck like there's no tomorrow" ONSes and all. ... Looking for something different I started to use Tinder last year (Oh the irony, I know). And while the effect in "time-to-b

  • obviously this is the answer, let a virtualized world figure it out for you.

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