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The 2013 TIME 100: Sam Yagan '05

ARTICLE BY: Steven Levitt

April 18th 2013

Congratulations to Sam Yagan, Siebel Scholar Class of 2005, from Stanford Graduate School of Business.


TIME presents its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, from artists and leaders to pioneers, titans and icons

Sam Yagan

Matchmaker, 36

What do you get when you combine big data, the quest for love and complete irreverence? The hippest spot on the Web: OkCupid. Co‑founded by serial entrepreneur Sam Yagan — who’s now CEO of the world’s largest e-dating site, — OkCupid took the online dating world by storm, pairing people on the basis of their answers to a mind-boggling variety of questions. Crunching these data, the wonks at OkCupid come to many unexpected conclusions: One of the best predictors of the long-term success of a relationship is whether the partners share an attraction or revulsion to horror movies. If sex, not love, is what you are after, a man’s best chance of achieving that goal on a first date is with a woman who says she “likes the taste of beer.” At a time when businesses talk a lot about big data but often struggle to put it to use, Yagan’s approach stands out. In his own words, “You give us data. We give you dates.”

Levitt is a co-author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics



Illustration by David Despau for TIME



See the full list