A Northwest Indiana native has garnered national attention for a book she wrote about love and how she found it.
In the book, “Data: A Love Story: How I gamed online dating to meet my match,” Amy Webb tells of some of the drastic measures she took and mathematical data she used to make online dating Websites work in her favor. Her supporting cast in the story includes her sister, her mom, a longtime Munster elementary school teacher; and her dad, a bibliophile and Northwest Indiana storyteller.
“Data” was released earlier this year and to promote it, Webb has appeared on “Good Morning, America,” “The View,” and CNN Profiles to name a few. The topic of online dating continues to gain popularity with online being the second most popular way couples meet. There’s no stigma about it anymore, Webb said, and she encourages those looking for a match to be picky even if they don’t go to the mathematical extremes she did.
“A lot of people, especially women, are told that they have to wait and they have to settle and not be too demanding,” Webb said. “Those were things I was told and I have empirical data showing that’s not true. You should demand what you want and you should feel empowered to go after it.”
Since the book came out, Webb has been flooded with e-mails from readers who wanted to share their own story or ask her advice.
“I didn’t write it as a how-to manual but a lot of people have said it really helped,” she said.
Lake Central High School teacher Pat Maman helped Webb gain the skills needed to succeed in the communication field.
“She had a big impact on me,” Webb, a 1993 Lake Central grad, said of her speech and debate team coach.
Aside from writing the book, Webb uses her communication skills at the company she founded, Webbmedia Group, which advises big media companies, marketing, communication firms and governments on their digital strategies.
“At the core of strategy work or any work is writing and communication … I would say that Pat had a big impact on my ability to do that.”
Maman remembers Webb was initially a bit nervous about expressing her views before an audience but once she became comfortable with public speaking, she excelled. Webb had a positive attitude that was contagious to teammates and she did everything she could to help, even approaching the school board to seek more support, Maman said.
“Amy was always proud of her family,” Maman said, noting that Amy’s mother, Bella, often traveled with the team. Although some teens discouraged parents from tagging along, Amy respected her mother and enjoyed having her at the meets, Maman said.
Webb is now part of Lake Central's history of pride in its graduates, Maman said. “Even when she was a teenager, those who met her knew that she was a determined young lady who would meet her lofty goals.”
Webb’s mother, Bella (Barton) Webb, died of cancer before she could see her daughter get married, but she is present throughout the book as a support system for Amy as she searches for and finds love. Bella taught at Elliott Elementary School in Munster for decades. The outdoor science lab and garden at the school are dedicated to her, Amy said. As their own tribute to her mother and the school where she devoted herself, Amy and her husband chose Elliott as a middle name for their daughter, Petra.
Amy’s father, Don Webb, still volunteers at Elliott Elementary School and is professional storyteller based in Northwest Indiana. He works with groups and schools and tells stories mostly about Indiana history, she said.
Amy said he reads a book and week and her family was always heavily invested in reading and books. Although she had hoped to do a book signing in Northwest Indiana, she was heartbroken to learn that there were no local physical bookstores left to carry her book. The book is available at Amazon.com.
Readers have been connecting with her book’s honesty and detail, Webb said.
“A lot of the book was uncomfortable to write. I really put it all out there and that’s an unusual thing,” she said. “It’s written in a way that’s relatable and I meant it to sound very conversational as if I was sitting next to you telling you the story.”
Webb is in talks about turning the book and her recent TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talk into a Broadway show, a movie or television show.
“There’s a lot of interest right now in all of that. I’m not 100 percent sure what the outcome will be but it will be something,” Webb said.
She would like to write another book about data, pregnancy and parenting but plans to take a year off before tackling that project. She wrote “Data” while working full time and having a family, and the book tour and marketing took about as much time and energy as it did to write the book, she said.