Yelp redesign fails to address the main reason to use the website

Yelp recently unveiled one of its first ever redesigns and I am glad they are finally trying to innovate after years of stagnation. However, it has not gone far enough.


Yelp is supposed to be a website where you can get recommendations on restaurants and other businesses. But actually if you try to use it for that exact purpose, it’s still really hard to find what your friends think. There’s no way to sort a search based on the number of friends’ reviews and there’s no way to filter ratings by only friends. I don’t care if some impatient jerk gave a venue one star when people I trust gave it four stars. Yelp has enough users now that I want to find only what my friends recommend.

Read More

Double your ROI by understanding both stocks and SEO run algorithms

I am a bit ashamed that I haven’t had the time to update my blog after Tumblr broke my template and there is clearly more important news today (and I am not talking about our presidential election). However, I feel compelled to announce that at least one person has beaten the market in 2012. I have doubled my portfolio’s value in less than a year.

Stock Performance

I should have invested more than $1,000 to start but I only tried this as a trial. I have never had much interest in stocks, as I see them as only slightly better than gambling. However, not buying PALM when it was trading around $1 is one of my life’s few regrets. It was the first stocks that I bothered mentioning to friends. Before PALM was acquired by HP, it shot up to nearly $16. That would have been a nice return. Another piece of unsolicited advice was when I suggested people sell Netflix at its peak of $300. Ironically, although I still disagree with Reed Hastings’ hubris and chopping off his arm trying to prematurely kill off his own DVD business, realizing that NFLX is now undervalued has helped push my portfolio over 100% ROI in one year.

Read More

What does your corporate sports team say about your agency?

I just celebrated my first anniversary at my third agency in NYC, Converseon. They have given me the entrepreneurial freedom to build a profitable division with a growing client SEO roster including 3 in the Fortune 100 in only one year. That has led me to wonder how one exactly goes about recognizing a good fit. One unlikely question I would ask in the future is which corporate team sports, if any, the agency plays.

Fantasy football trophy
I didn’t know people had fantasy football trophies. Cropped from a photo by Beth and Christian Bell.

Most coworkers who were into sports at my first company in NYC were primarily football fans. The most organized league we had was fantasy football where we competed online against each other. Occasionally we would assemble an informal outing to the park and throw the pigskin around. But again, we only played against our colleagues. So too was the mood around the office. Football is an amazing game of strategy but very insular. Similarly, we built some amazing technology ahead of its time but did not connect much with the greater community at large.

Read More

Stop crying wolf with security theater

The fact that a citizen can take another person or organization to court has been one of the bedrocks of American tradition. Unfortunately, as with any system, there will be some people who take advantage of it and risk ruining things for everyone else.

Spilled coffee
Someone’s coffee was hot. They sued. Now people joke that they could also sue if the coffee was not hot enough, but I bet someone has actually tried that. Cropped from a photo by David Thompson.

The first time I remember hearing about a court case that I found to be ridiculous was the infamous woman who sued McDonald’s due to scalding hot coffee. I have a little more sympathy for her after finding out some of the myths, but she still did spill it herself. In the 20 years since then, we have been increasingly met with legalese wherever we turn from lawyers who attempt to protect their clients from liability. Most disclaimers are common sense labels, e.g. keep plastic bags away from babies, and probably do some good.

Disclaimers really begin to change perceptions when they are spoken, however. Turbulence is a good example of this. Airplanes have had fasten seat belt indicators for decades so they don’t get sued if someone bumps their head.

Fasten Your Seatbelts
You are typically forced to sit down and fasten your seat belt, regardless of other possible consequences. Cropped from a photo by Daniel Williams.

A similar sign like this elsewhere would merely provide advice, but announcements remind passengers that they must obey posted placards on-board (the only time I ever still hear the word, placard). However, flight attendants are stuck with a kind of semi-authority so they vary in their enforcement. I have seen some stand near passengers and shame them into sitting back down. Some delight in their new-found power and threaten people in coach until they submit. Yet as one flight attendant said on my recent United flight to Denver, “We are not police.” Then the other crew members proceeded to remind every other passenger who stood up that they were required to say people should remain seated, though they did not intend to actually stop any passengers from getting up. Flight attendants did the right thing and covered their ass while letting common sense prevail in the air for once.

Read More

©2011 Adam Edwards