Open Yahoo! – Hackday 2008

It’s always nice to be around a throng of smart people, but when those people are developers and those developers are crazy creative and ready to hack, it makes your day even better. Hackday 08 has finally arrived!

Since Web 2.0 Expo, a few trickles of information has been coming out about what we’re planning, from Yahoo! joining the OpenSocial foundation as a founder to our provisioning OpenIDs, there *is* an effort there to open up. Yesterday Yahoo! unveiled a glimpse at what you can expect from us in the coming months. Many of us have been head-down on parts of this initiative for quite a while and have been dying to spill the beans (and you know how difficult it is for a blogger to keep secrets!), but I’m glad a nice chunk of it is finally out in the open (no pun intended).

A few of the cool APIs that enable this more open Yahoo! have already been released (SearchMonkey, BOSS ($3K Mashable Contest), Address Book, FireEagle, GeoPlanet, Music, etc.) but there’s a sneaky peek going on today that gives Hackday developers access to some of the rest of what’s cooking. It includes many of the Y!OS components.

  • Social Directory API (access user profile data and relationships)
  • Contacts (as you might get, this one gives you info about user’s contacts)
  • Status (again, obviously, allows you to get info about user’s status)
  • Updates (lifestream API)
  • App Platform (or YAP, as we call it, let’s you build apps on Yahoo! using the social graph here)

I worked on the YAP team from Nov-May and I can’t tell you how exciting it is to finally share at least a glimpse of this one. Being a part of something that allows developers to reach Yahoo!’s massive audience, and enrich our user experience in the meantime, has been awesome. Today devs are being given the opportunity to build apps and see them running on Mail and My Yahoo. Just a preview, but hey, that means our Hackday peeps are *exclusive*. 😉

The rest of today will be filled with deep dives on particular APIs and some unconf-type sessions from 3-5, then there’s a band tonight (not allowed to blog who it is just yet). We’ll hack all night and begin presentations tomorrow afternoon. I’ve gotta run because I need to scout out where I’m camping tonight. More later!

Apple Holding App Developers To Minimum Standard-The Horror!

Why is everyone bitching because this app was not approved? I’m trying to find out where the outcry is coming from… Why is it a bad thing that Pull My Finger was removed? Editorial control (ie real human actually looking at apps) is what we’re all begging for on most platforms. Is the argument that this is subjective? I’m totally confused as to what we are missing out on by not being able to buy this app? (via)

CapitalOne’s Stupidity Has Impacted My Credit!=Process Broken

UPDATE: Wow! Look at their GetSatisfaction page.


If you like customer service horror stories, then you’ll love this one.

The Story

In February of this year, our heroine, yours truly, called CapitalOne to pay off one of her 3 credit cards with this company and to change her address and phone as she had recently moved and her forwarded mail was coming to an end. There was a whopping $5 balance so digging deep into her financial reserves she paid the trolls $5 while still on the line. Apparently a few days, after the card was paid to zero balance, these mean people accessed a $29.75 late fee on the $0 balance. Business process=broken

Pretty sure that’s not legal, but where does she go to complain? Government process=broken

Of course, as luck would have it, the trolls changed the address/phone on 2 of the cards, but not on this particular card. Business process=broken?

6 months went by, and our heroine lived blissfully unaware that the illegitimate late fee of $29.75 remained on the card. She was not receiving statements, so she had no idea that the CapitalOne monster was about to strike.

After checking her credit report earlier today, the heroine found that CapitalOne had charged-off the account for, you guessed it, $29.75. Yep, she now has an illegitimate charge-off on her credit for $29.75!

After 4 hours on the phone with CapitalOne today, and after talking to many of the Troll’s minions, she learned that they would not reopen the account and that they would not address the negative credit reporting. 4 hours of her life wasted and credit damaged only because the Trolls at CapitalOne do not have their **** together…

The Rant

It’s a sad story, but one we’ve all lived through at some mega-business in the past. The CapitalOnes, Comcasts and other notorious offenders continue to victimize on a daily basis.

But, why does this happen? Do people really start companies with evil, nefarious aims? Do they think that they will increase their customer base by pissing off the people who are shoveling money in their coffers? No. These companies hire fancy, dancy consultants to come in and ‘help’ them piss off their customers in the form of cost-cutting. Throat-cutting would be more appropriate terminology.

Hey, big business… Cut the damn marketing budget before you cut customer care. All the new orders you bring in will eventually be lost due to your prime suckage.

If your customers are !screaming! to get help and all you can think about is how to cut costs, you are bound to lose money. These consultants rarely care for the longevity of your company. They were brought in to immediately lower costs, but they have no stake in the future of your company so they could care less what their cuts do to your future.

Business Example

I recently had a discussion with a friend at a large company. Friend and company will remain nameless, of course. He was explaining to me why their customer service sucks. While his team begged to keep their customer focus, the execs told them that they had to cut $40k from the budget immediately (thanks consultants!). This was, of course, to pay for the companies large social networking experiment. Don’t even get me started on that one…

6 months later my friend was able to show measurable losses of revenue after the significant cuts in customer care and had the foresight to forecast future losses. Because his team did this work, and showed that the $70K cut had put them on track to lose $900K by year’s end, they were unleashed to again serve their customers with excellence. But, how much impact was done in those 6 months? To have him tell it, the impact was substantial. In fact, months after, they are forced to adopt a new, costly customer retention program that will add additional losses to the big savings that the consultant brought them. The sad thing is that before they mucked with their current setup, they were retaining customers just fine and were one of the top 5 *****s in their field.

Sadly, as consumers we have no way to educate big business on this truth. One would think execs would have learned this in their obligatory MBA education from a top school… (I know, now I’m just being snarky).

We have no real way to speak out against these retarded cousins of the business world and I’m tired of just giving up. The Better Business Bureau is useless. Yelp is about the best way to get any attention when you are railroaded by companies, but that really doesn’t work well unless it’s a local business. Any suggestions on how we take back our time, energy and buying power? GetSatisfaction?Anyone else have a customer service nightmare they want to share?