In what looks to be one of the biggest dollar figure deals coming out of the London Book Fair so far, Amanda Cook at Crown took North American rights, for a rumored seven figures, to a nonfiction title called Dataclysm by Christian Rudder, one of the founders of the dating Web site OkCupid.com.
Chris Parris-Lamb at the Gernert Company brokered the deal, and Cook won the title after emerging at the top of a 10-bidder auction. Parris-Lamb confirmed that the book was pre-empted in Holland, and a U.K. auction is currently underway. Describing the book, Parris-Lamb said it will be "a witty, provocative, visually fascinating look at how 'big data' is transforming our understanding of race, politics, age, beauty, sex, humor, even history, and ushering in a new era in the study of human nature." Parris-Lamb added that Rudder is "interested in using big data to understand ourselves, rather than to sell ourselves."
Rudder graduated from Harvard in 1998 and was one of the first employees at SparkNotes. That Web site, which was initially called TheSpark.com, was ultimately bought by Barnes & Noble. With the same friends that created SparkNotes—Chris Coyne, Sam Yagan and Max Krohn—Rudder went on to launch OkCupid, which sold to IAC, in 2011, for a reported $50 million.
At OkCupid, which was profiled in Nick Paumgarten’s New Yorker piece about online dating, Rudder oversees the popular blog OKTrends. For the blog, Rudder, whose work was highlighted in Paumgarten's story, mines the Web site’s mathematical data and offers amusing takes on the numbers. (OkCupid provides, among other things, percentage breakdowns of how members match up based on the answers they provide to optional questions posed by the site.) Rudder also plays in the band Bishop Allen and appeared in the mumblecore film Funny Ha Ha, which was directed by fellow Harvard alum Andrew Buljalski.