Weekly reader: GrubHub, Yelp, Groupon, computer science

I was in New Orleans for Jazz Fest this week, but managed to get more writing in than I expected.

For the first time this week, we saw Groupon drop below 50% of its initial IPO price of $20, closing the week just below $10. Anyone who invested at the IPO and help (are there any of these people?) would have lost half their money.

This coming week, I’ll be in San Francisco. To make up for my lack of Groupon writing the last two weeks, I’ll be doing one Groupon post each day.

My work

GrubHub is bringing restaurant ordering into the 21st century — GrubHub is giving restaurants converted Kindle Fires to confirm orders. This is making it easier for restaurants while at the same time reducing customer service costs. It’s the kind of smart thinking I like to see in local.

Why Yelp is the Digg of local — Yelp has essentially failed to innovate in the last three years. It’s using an old publishing model that doesn’t make sense. But for consumers, it’s delivering one-size-fits-all results that really fit no one.

Top sales talent leaving Groupon as its woes mount — Many Groupon deals these days are seeing really low volumes. This breaks the overall Groupon model, which was predicated on selling thousands of units to cover the extremely high cost of sales. As volumes drop, salespeople can’t earn enough money on commissions and the best ones are leaving for greener pastures.

Silicon Valley needs to end its snobbery about computer science degrees — In the wake of Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson’s resume scandal, I take a look at Silicon Valley’s snobbery around computer science degrees. I want to be clear that I’m in no way defending Thompson. He lied and there should be serious repercussions, both from Yahoo! and the SEC. (Otherwise, what’s the point of having CEOs certify statements to the SEC?) But I think that Silicon Valley ends up getting tunnel vision because of the focus on C.S. degrees for roles that don’t need them.

Me quoted elsewhere

When Yelp advertisers yelp at rates — CBS MoneyWatch takes a look at Yelp advertising. I continue to believe that Yelp local advertising is a terrible deal and no advertiser should ever run ads at the rates Yelp charges. (I’m rarely this absolute — even with Groupon, I can think of cases where running a Groupon makes sense. I can’t think of a case where I’d recommend Yelp to a business.) I found more examples this week that I’ll write about soon.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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1 Response to Weekly reader: GrubHub, Yelp, Groupon, computer science

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