What better time to explore the inter­sec­tion of love and mathematics?

It was Thursday after­noon, just three days before Valentine’s Day, and OkCupid co-​​founder Chris­tian Rudder was speaking at North­eastern University.

His talk—which included a brief overview of the irrev­erent dating site as well as a lengthy Q&A with Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun and mem­bers of the uni­ver­sity community—marked the first install­ment of “The Future of…,” a new pres­i­den­tial speaker series.

Here are five take­aways from the quirky con­ver­sa­tion, which was held in event space on the 17th floor of East Vil­lage, whose high-​​top tables were dotted with heart-​​shaped candy.

‘All the guys want to talk to the hottest girls’

Rudder and his trio of co-​​founders launched OkCupid in 2004 and then founded a blog called OkTrends in 2009, offering up data-​​driven assess­ments of user behavior. The findings—white women prefer white men to the exclu­sion of everyone else, 2/​3 of male mes­sages go to 1/​3 of the women—drew cov­erage from The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.

It’s not sur­prising that all the guys want to talk to the hottest girls,” said Rudder, who led OkCupid’s ana­lytics team. “A lot of what we saw in the data con­firmed our cyn­ical intu­ition about how people get together.”

His best-​​selling book Dat­a­clysm: Who We Are When We Think No One’s Looking picks up where the blog leaves off, exploring every­thing from what tweets can tell us about modern com­mu­ni­ca­tion to what Face­book friend­ships say about the sta­bility of a mar­riage. As he writes in the intro­duc­tion, “The idea is to move our under­standing of our­selves away from nar­ra­tives and toward num­bers, or, rather, to think in such a way that num­bers are the narrative.”

‘Dating sucks’

As CEO of OkCupid, Rudder rarely heard from sat­is­fied users. “I would wager that most people using OkCupid don’t like it, because dating sucks,” he explained. “It causes frus­tra­tion and induces anxiety.”

The dating site’s biggest pro­po­nents don’t have time to offer praise. As Rudder joked, “I don’t hear from them because they’re off get­ting married.”

Diver­sify your social network

A Face­book user asked him for tips for starting a busi­ness. “Find co-​​founders you really like and who have skill sets that com­pli­ment your own,” Rudder replied. “You can’t found a com­pany with three dudes who are all good at C++ and then hope for the best. You have to find people who can do dif­ferent things.”

The same prin­ciple applies to daily life. Whether or not you want to create a startup, look to diver­sity your social net­work: “Having friends who are dif­ferent from you is rare,” he said, “but if you manage to do that, you could start a company.”

OkCupid is a prime example, a par­tic­u­larly suc­cessful ven­ture whose co-​​founders each claimed one area of exper­tise. There was the busi­nessman, the web designer, and the pro­grammer. And then there was Rudder the writer, who “liked to do edi­to­rial stuff.”

The beauty of Tinder

The ques­tions kept coming: “Did you enjoy man­aging?” Aoun asked. “No,” Rudder replied. “Why not?” Aoun coun­tered. “It’s like dating.”

When a stu­dent asked him to name the next big online dating dis­ruptor, Rudder reflected on Tinder, the app that har­nessed the power of Face­book to take the industry by storm. “OkCupid always tried to make things cleaner and easier to use,” he said, “and Tinder did that abruptly.”

According to Rudder’s finely honed dig­ital eye, the next online dating app will be hard-​​pressed to sur­vive for long. The industry is crowded, he said, with strong options for those looking to find love on the Internet. “It will be a tough row to hoe for any­body looking to start a new dating app at this point,” he explained. “I don’t think people appre­ciate how hard it is to design a dating site that makes people even slightly happy about dating.”

Two apps are better than one

If he were to look for his per­fect match on the Web, Rudder would join Tinder and OkCupid. Single men and women don’t limit them­selves to finding love in one place, like a class or a party, he said, so why would he limit him­self to swiping right on one soli­tary app? He wouldn’t: “Before the advent of apps, you might have met a few of your girl­friends in bars,” he explained, “but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to go to house par­ties anymore.”