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’ The Zumbro flows south of Minneapolis past Rochester, home of the Mayo Clinic. ’ Then he had another idea: what if he had a database of all the single women in the world?It turned out that Kremen had once driven, or been driven, into the river. In Miami Kremen recounted the genesis of his ideas about internet dating to a room full of matchmakers. If he could create such a database and charge a fee to access it, he would most probably turn a profit.

Today he runs a solar energy financing company, is an elected official in Los Altos Hills, California and is better known for his protracted legal battle over the ownership of the pornography website than he is for inventing internet dating.

At the time, single people, particularly those over the age of 30, were still seen as a stigmatised group with which few wanted to associate.

But the age at which Americans marry was rising steadily and the divorce rate was high.

I joined OK Cupid at the age of 30, in late November 2011, with the pseudonym ‘viewfromspace’.

When the time came to write the ‘About’ section of my profile, I quoted Didion’s passage, then added: ‘But now we have internet dating. ’ The Didion bit sounded unpleasant, so I replaced it with a more optimistic statement, about internet dating restoring the city’s possibilities to a life that had become stagnant between work, subway and apartment.

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