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Coloured lights flash from the ceilings, workers lounge on circular banquettes, dance music plays from hidden speakers.Despite being in a mid-rise office tower overlooking a turnpike in the dry, landlocked city of Dallas, Texas, the Match offices are evocative of a racier environment, where anything might happen.
Like his boss, he met the love of his life offline.She was promoted to her current post earlier this year, after former Match president Gregg Blatt was made chief executive officer of IAC.Besides having the right résumé for the job, Ginsberg had enough experience in love to know that finding the right partner is tough., a site for Jewish singles, but kept coming up short.And once at Match, he, Ginsberg and a team of nine maths whizzes hired by Thombre, set about updating the Match algorithm."The one thing I knew was numbers and analytics, so we started building a numbers team here," he told me. The same principles work, no matter what kind of numerical problem you're solving."The way the Match algorithm learns, he says, is similar to the way the human brain learns."When you give it stimuli, it forms neural pathways," he says. It's learning as you go." The same principles are powering the recommendation engines at popular sites around the web.
Amazon uses similar technology to recommend new products for people to buy, Pandora learns from likes and dislikes to customise its internet radio stations, and Netflix famously offered $1m to anyone who could improve the effectiveness of its algorithm by 10 per cent.
People were doing something very different from the things they said they wanted on their profile."As a result, Match began "weighting" variables differently, according to how users behaved.
For example, if conservative users were actually looking at profiles of liberals, the algorithm would learn from that and recommend more liberal users to them.
On a hazy Monday in June, I came to meet Mandy Ginsberg, the president of US, the world's largest online dating site.
Petite, preppy and freckled, with long brown hair, Ginsberg was wearing sandals, tight black jeans and a loose blouse.
"But after weeks of looking at people, I might get an e-mail from a guy who has kids, and I might accept that. All that data goes into algorithms and affects who we put in front of you."To sort expressed ideals from actual desires, Ginsberg realised she would need some technical help.