Issue 10, Volume 112
You find a hot new dating site, and in a moment of romantic fervor, you sign your name and preferences. After weeks of waiting for your blind date, you start to fear that you were scammed, only to learn that your information was not stolen but that your hot new dating site was nearly sued by another college dating service. Luckily, you somehow get your match anyway and eagerly await your date. This scenario is the story of a Stuyvesant alumnus’s creation: ExExEx.
Liam Kronman (’21), a freshman at MIT, along with Jason Seo (’21), created ExExEx, a new dating site for Harvard students. “It’s guided by the simple hypothesis that your dating profile might be pretty similar to your ex’s exes,” Kronman said in an e-mail interview. He used data submitted by people to find the people that their exes’ exes dated, since two exes of the same person are likely to have similar taste. He even accounted for the fact that that person might not be signed up. In that situation, the site can anonymously text the person. The cherry on top is the site’s cheeky slogan that greets you after a click of the link: “Only two people stand between you and your next mistake.”
Kronman initially started the website as an innocent prank and with no intention of matching people. “I had sent out a simple form (as a website) with some rather humorous personality-oriented questions aimed at helping Harvard students find a match on campus, with no intention on my part initially to facilitate that,” he said. “It was kind of a joke that spiraled out of control. [I] certainly didn’t expect as many responses as I received and the press that followed.”
When the website, originally called the Harvard Marriage Pact, was put up, word buzzed through the Harvard campus with advertising flyers posted around the school by an Instagram account. The site asked students personal questions about their sexual orientation, preferences, biases, and more and promised that on October 15, they would receive a “match” aligned with their answers. Thousands of Harvard students answered extensive questions about their personal lives, desperate for a match.
Yet when nobody received a match on October 15 as promised, many students believed they had been scammed. The Harvard Independent, Harvard’s student paper, wrote that students were worried that their data would be sold. It turned out that the site was shut down by Kronman due to the threat of being sued.
Stanford already has a matchmaking service, called The Marriage Pact, for students to find matches on campus. This site has almost 65 thousand users, so once they saw what Kronman had created, they threatened to sue for copyright and fraud. As a result, Kronman chose to bring his prank into an actual project. “I realized that I had to do something to clear the confusion. My solution was to actually match students up based on the form responses,” he said. To complete this goal, he came up with an algorithm based on the stable marriage problem, which is a concept in economics and computer science to find a stable matching between two sets. Two weeks after the website was shut down, Kronman sent out e-mails to all participants that explained the situation and ultimately gave people their “matches.”
Even though Kronman created this flirtatious site, he came from New York, just like any Stuy student. Kronman always lived in Greenwich Village. He believes it fostered his many interests, which range from music to computer science. “My surroundings gave me an openness and appreciation for creative bravery,” Kronman said. Despite primarily being a STEM-head, he is also a jazz cat who wrote the song “A Village Ballad” during his time at Stuyvesant. “Music is a way to compete with and improve myself. Also, it’s really stress relieving,” Kronman revealed in a Spectator article when he was a Stuyvesant freshman.
Kronman was also an active member of the Stuyvesant community, even taking on leadership roles in the production of SING! “Being involved as a producer and Coordinator of SING! was a highlight and gave me an avenue to explore my artistic inclinations with peers [who] quickly became my good friends,” Kronman said. He was academically inspired by teachers such as Emilio Nieves, Patrick Honner, Dermot Hannon, and Matthew Polazzo. “And of course [Brian] Moran, whose confiscation of my phone two times during my freshman fall gave me a discipline I carry with me today,” Kronman said in a nostalgic tone.
Having gone on to be an MIT student, Kronman intensely studied STEM courses during his time at Stuyvesant. “I did take three years of computer science, ending with [Topher] Mykolyk’s Software Development elective,” he said. These classes introduced Kronman to computer science and the coding skills he eventually used to come up with his dating site idea and algorithm.
Currently, besides his college student dating empire, Kronman is enjoying his time at MIT. “I’ve met a lot of talented and brilliant people who are inspiring me to build amazing things,” he said. He expressed his excitement for the future of his young app. “My hopes are pretty simple. I want everyone to have fun with it and hopefully meet some people they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Expect bigger and better things coming soon.”