Has any startup company blog ever been as ripped off as OKTrends? OKCupid started compiling statistics about its users, thanks to Harvard data nerd and cofounder Christian Rudder, and releasing those stats as press releases and blog posts. Due to the subject matter–iPhone users have more sex!–the posts were sticky and fun and got picked up by bloggers everywhere.
Since OKTrends got trendy, other startups have tried to ape OKCupid’s numbers-and-infographics approach to getting press. Hunch, another MIT bastion, releases data in the form of infographics that must look fabulous on its engineer’s widescreen Macs, but come up a bit scrunchy on this reporter’s netbook. Today Uber wrote an extensive post on the Uber Blog using crime, neighborhoods, and ride statistics to come up with the breath-taking conclusion that neighborhoods with more crime have more Uber rides.
Unfortunately, other startups lack Mr. Rudder’s humor and zing, and his capacity for mashing together interesting data points, exemplified in the last OKTrends post from April, which invokes Napoleon, compares people who eat oatmeal with people who “like it rough,” shows the correlation between vegetarianism and enthusiasm for giving oral sex, offers some veggie-friendly sex slang, and notes the correlation between masturbation or length of relationships with Twitter use. No fewer than 20,299 people like the article on Facebook.
Other startups who try to manipulate user data just don’t have Mr. Rudder’s magic touch. Perhaps he should teach a Skillshare class–“How to make your startup’s blog a meme, every time.”