Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)
“If you use the Internet, you're the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site,” says Christian Rudder, a mathematician, entrepreneur, and author of the New York Times bestselling Dataclysm, a book endorsed by legendary American director Errol Morris. In it, the OKCupid co-founder explains how our online behavior reveals who we really are when no one’s looking—and what this knowledge means for us moving forward. Daring, original, and endlessly fascinating, Rudder’s talks offer us a new way of understanding human behavior in a digital age.
“[Rudder's] book delivers both insider access and a savvy critique of the very machinery he is employed by. Since he's been in the data mines and has risen above them, Rudder becomes a singular and trustworthy guide.”— The Globe and Mail
Christian Rudder is the co-founder of OkCupid, one of the largest dating sites in the world. He started the company as an alternative to prescriptive dating services, such as eHarmony, which offers users a curated list of potential matches rather than letting them make their own choices. In opening the pool of choice, Rudder and his co-founders gained access to, and started collecting, massive amounts of data. “OkCupid gets data points that no other website has an excuse to collect,” Rudder explained. It was through this data that they were able to tell a much bigger story, assembled from the most intimate details of people’s lives and preferences.
OkCupid was later acquired by IAC, the company that owns Match.com and Tinder. Rudder continued running the day-to-day operations for several years after, while also heading a small data-mining team that scoured the digital universe for meaningful trends on important sites. The original outlet for Rudder’s research took place on OKCupid’s blog, OKTrends, which was not only read by millions of people, but also changed the way companies approach data as a media-relations strategy. His research and findings have been featured repeatedly in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and were the subject of a New Yorker feature. His first book, Dataclysm, sold for a seven-figure deal, hit the New York Times bestseller list and was named a “Best Book” by NPR, Bloomberg, and The Globe and Mail. Forbes wrote, "Dataclysm is all about what we can learn about human minds and hearts by analyzing the massive ongoing experiment that is the internet."
Graduating Harvard cum laude with a math degree, Rudder got his start as the Creative Director for SparkNotes, a 21st century Cliff’s Notes for the Internet, which was later sold to Barnes & Noble.
“He did an excellent job, the audience really enjoyed his presentation—it received a lot of laughs and ‘oohs and ahhs.’ Thanks very much, we enjoyed working with you and Christian and hope to stay in touch about future opportunities!”The OutCast Agency