WhoDoYou takes to the ‘Big Stage’ as finalist in the TAU STARTUP Challenge 2014!

We’re proud to announce that WhoDoYou was selected as one of four finalists out of 120 entrants to compete in the TAU (Tel Aviv University) STARTUP Challenge 2014.

TAU Innovation Day

The contest took place at the TAU Innovation Day in Tel Aviv, one of Israel’s largest innovation conferences celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the ‘Start Up Nation’. Out of 120 startups, WhoDoYou was awarded 4th place in the competition. After a grueling day pitching WhoDoYou to an international judging panel, our very own Yoav Schwartz passed through three rounds of competition and took to the main keynote stage to pitch in front of three select judges and the conference crowd.

We’re honored that WhoDoYou has been recognized for creating an innovative and trusted way to find honest referrals for local businesses.

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Happy Holidays from WhoDoYou

With the end of the year fast approaching, we wanted to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and a happy new year.

2013 certainly has been a great year at WhoDoYou. We collected a massive number of authentic and trustworthy recommendations for local businesses, we built some snazzy new features, and rolled out a redesigned site. But most important (by far), we helped hundreds of thousands of people, just like you, find high quality local service providers. As the success stories pile up and more people write in thanking us for helping them find a trusted local business, we feel more convinced than ever that WhoDoYou is positioned well for success in the future.

We look forward to continuing to provide you with the best service possible to help you find trusted recommendations. Stay tuned as we have lots in store for you in 2014!

From all of us at WhoDoYou, we wish you and your families happy holidays and a great new year!

Yoav and the WhoDoYou team

WhoDoYou selected as a finalist to compete in the BIA Kelsey LOCAL LiftOff Awards

We’re super excited to announce that WhoDoYou has been named a LEADING IN LOCAL future star by BIA Kelsey and selected as a finalist to compete in the LOCAL LiftOff Awards held in San Francisco this week.

The contest will take place at the LEADING IN LOCAL: Interactive Local Media conference. WhoDoYou will compete against 10 startups with the audience voting for their favorite at the end of the three-day conference.

We care a tremendous amount about creating an innovative and trusted resource and to ensure that consumers and service providers find our site valuable. We’re proud and honored that WhoDoYou has been recognized for this by being shortlisted.

It’s still early days yet but these awards will help us spread the word that there is quite simply one place to go for finding and sharing trusted recommendations.

So, wish us luck and if you’re in San Francisco come and vote for us! Find out more about the conference and awards.

Reflections on building a great team

For anyone that’s read this blog even somewhat consistently, you know that our primary focus has been on the product value we are trying to build, and the need for a solution like WhoDoYou. While this stuff gets us pretty jazzed, there may be some for whom the local, social search space isn’t so interesting.

And now that we are actively looking to bring on some great new team members, I thought it would be useful to highlight a recent article: http://linkd.in/122sZon.
The primary focus is on the difficulty of hiring, which seemed compelling enough on its own merit to share. In addition, it’s worth talking about this article as a means of highlighting some of the values we like to promote at WhoDoYou.

So, high level, the article describes Google’s big data approach to finding hiring best practices. Biggest surprise #1? There are no consistently good hiring managers (though there are some consistently bad ones). It turns out that hiring successful performers tends to be very, very difficult, and mostly random. Biggest surprise #2? GPA has almost no correlation with successful performance. Although this one didn’t surprise me so much, it’s an important reminder that people change a lot over time. Looking at one’s degree, or GPA is only one small factor in considering a person’s potential contribution to an organization.

Finally, what does this say about the values of WhoDoYou, and our desire to build a great company? Well, it may sound pretty basic, but we like to think of ourselves as a fairly humble group. We work hard, push the limits of what’s possible to do – technically and otherwise – and are open to great people of all types. We believe there is not a single mold for greatness, and if there is, we certainly haven’t found it.

With that said, we are currently looking for great talent. If you are passionate about helping people find great local businesses, love social media, and want nothing more than to delight customers (or if you’re a super-geek developer who eats code for breakfast), then please drop us a line to feedback@whodoyou.com. We want to speak with you!

As always, thanks for your comments and feedback,
Yoav and the WhoDoYou team

What are the top recommendation requests on Facebook?

Facebook handles one billion search queries every day. That’s a heck of a lot of searching, and you might be wondering what people are searching for, and what are they finding? Well, social search is rapidly moving beyond keywords and tags to people wanting answers to specific questions, such as “Can anyone recommend a good mechanic to fix my car?” WhoDoYou is leading the charge to provide great responses to these kinds of questions by collecting and organizing recommendations from friends, groups and the local Facebook community.

An interesting by-product of our method for gathering questions and answers about great businesses is the ability to see what service provider categories are most requested on Facebook (only in relation to local business recommendations). We are happy to share – mostly to satisfy curiosity – that the number one category people search for on Facebook is, drumroll please… Dentist!

It makes sense if you think about it because most people who are searching for a local provider prefer to get suggestions from their friends. While some categories might not be a fit for asking a Facebook friend – you can use your imagination here – there are others which make a lot of sense. Dentist is one of them. You want to find a dentist that your friends trust, rather than sit quivering in the dentist’s chair afraid to open your mouth because you picked your dentist blindly out of the Yellow Pages.  Obviously there are many more insights we are gathering, and we’ll be happy to share more info with you over time.

Stay tuned for more interesting updates and don’t forget to subscribe to the feed if you’re interested in hearing more.

Yoav and the WhoDoYou team

What Gets Us Excited?

When we founded WhoDoYou, our mission was to create a trusted place to find great local businesses recommended by friends & neighbors. So, it isn’t surprising that one of the things that gets us most excited is seeing people use our service and finding providers they can trust.

Traditionally people search for a service provider based on proximity or availability. Very often we lack information about whether the provider is actually someone who has given good service to a friend, or someone you know. But directory- based search has begun to take a backseat to social search. Most of us want more than just a phone number or a warm body. We want someone we can trust, based on a personalized recommendation. These word-of-mouth recommendations are at the very heart of what WhoDoYou is about.

FB recos from web (Copy)

As we continue to evolve the WhoDoYou service and improve the site, one of the things that we look at most carefully is how successful our users are when they come to find a local service provider. We’re excited to say (and a little proud) that lately we have found that most people who come to the site end up finding someone in their area that can help them with a local service. This makes us super happy. Here’s what a recent user wrote to us, unprompted:

“Thank you to WhoDoYou for your recommendation – Mishaan Plumbing – they were here EXACTLY when they said they would be. Finished the job, cleaned up after and were well priced!!!”

We hope WhoDoYou makes it easier for you to find great local businesses and as always we welcome your feedback! Just email feedback@whodoyou.com.

Yoav and the WhoDoYou team

The Utility and Futility of Facebook’s Graph Search

Okay, let’s get a couple of things straight before we get into the meat of this topic. First, Facebook has a lot of very smart engineers that are going to make Graph Search useful over time. Second, it makes complete sense for Facebook to get into this game. Before search, Facebook could only sell display ads – essentially billboards. Not a bad business if you can show the billboards to a billion people, but not nearly as lucrative as Google’s ‘intent-based’ ads (this topic has gotten plenty of coverage elsewhere; no need to repeat it all here). So, if Facebook understands what products or services a person is looking for right now, they can sell ad space to businesses eager to sell those same products or services. Makes sense. 

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But there are two parts to this story which are of particular interest to us. The first, how is Facebook actually performing search today. And second, for what is it really useful. 

On the first question, you may have heard that Facebook is currently rolling out limited search functionality – you will only be able to access structured data, including pictures, tags, locations and likes. While some of these data types are valuable today, they only answer a limited set of very specific questions ,e.g. music my friends like, photos of my friends in NY, cameras liked by my friends.

Over time Facebook will surely begin to search user posts as well. That is, they won’t just look at tags and likes, but will search through all the text of posts and comments. And that’s when things will really get interesting, because there’s a huge jump in complexity from asking questions that have a definite answer (a city, a person, a band) to questions that have a range of answers (does anyone have a used cell phone, or what is the best health care provider in my city). It remains to be seen how quickly, and how successfully, Facebook can begin to address the tougher category of questions.

At huduyou, we have built our business around answering just these kinds of difficult questions. When people search huduyou for a dentist, a math tutor or a photographer, they want help from their friends. They don’t want general information about photography, or horror stories about going to the dentist, they want help in choosing a dentist.  That’s why we not only encourage people to write reviews for their friends, but also to use huduyou to search for recommendations already written by friends and neighbors on Facebook.

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You may have noticed that huduyou search results are starting to display more structured recommendations culled from the mass of information on Facebook. We have worked hard to develop methods that help users benefit from the Facebook conversations their friends, groups, and neighbors are having every day about the categories of greatest interest. Over the coming days and weeks we’ll share more information about what you can find. In the meantime, we encourage you to explore huduyou to see all the great reviews and recommendations you can use today to find that trusted local service providers.

Good luck, and happy hunting.

Yoav

& the huduyou team