Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/22
Today’s photo challenge of the day on Instagram was taken right from our Ask.com homepage question of the day. Do you know which is the only human bone without joints? It’s the hyoid bone, a horseshoe shaped bone that sits in the neck between the chin and thyroid cartilage Like we said, it’s the only bone in the human body without any joints! Instead, it connects to other...
Sharing Our Rutgers Roots
I recently received a note from a student at Rutgers University, and I liked it so much that (with Bjorn’s permission) I thought I’d answer him here. “I noticed that your business all began with Rutgers University. My name is Bjorn Svendsen, I will be a junior this fall at Rutgers University. At the same time, I will be starting my own startup, the Pulse, which will aim to become the central...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/21
The question of the day on Instagram was for TechTuesday, “When was the first Blackberry (RIM at the time) model released?” It was fourteen years ago in 1996! The first model was a simple two-way pager with a thumb keypad and thumbwheel for scrolling the monochrome text display. Within a year, the devices were in use by fewer than 400k people and expected two-way wireless messaging...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/20/13
Yesterday’s photo challenge came straight from the Ask homepage’s question of the day! So if you’re a super Ask user, this one should have been no problem. Can you guess what type of car it is? The hint was that it is foreign. If you guessed Lamborghini…you’re correct! Manufacturing magnate Ferruccio Lamborghini’s mechanical mind got...
A Blast From Our Past
A few days ago under particularly gorgeous skies, a few dozen intrepid Ask staffers split into groups to take part in a scavenger hunt around downtown Oakland, with the focus being to explore more of our great city. Twenty-four clues awaited each team, and not all were that easy! Clue number 17 had an unexpected payoff. The clue itself took us to Bittersweet, a chocolate and coffee cafe located...
Instagram Photo Challenge of The Day 5/17
Today’s photo challenge of the day was, “Can you guess which movie this is? Better question is…are you seeing it this weekend?” Of course it’s Star Trek: Into Darkness! Are you ready for the twelfth installment in the Star Trek franchise, and the sequel to 2009’s Star Trek? J. J. Abrams directed this latest episode, and anyone who’s an Abrams fan...
Yesterday, Ask employees joined the Fishing Derby for Special Kids at Lake Temescal in Oakland, organized by the East Bay Regional Park District for the seventh year in a row! The EBPD hosts 150 kids with special needs from local elementary schools for a day of fishing, arts and crafts, face painting and games. Ask employees buddied up with the kids and had an awesome day! Can’t...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/16
It’s another Throwback Thursday photo challenge here on the Ask Instagram. The question today was, “Can you guess who this swingin’ sixties band we’ve been dreamin’ about is?” Hopefully you picked up on the California Dreamin’ referenced, and guessed The Mamas and The Papas. The group was together from 1965-168, and briefly reunited in 1971. They...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/15
Our photo of the day challenge came from the question of the day over on the ask.com homepage, “What was the first fully computer animated feature film?” Did the above close up photo give you a hint?? It was Toy Story! Some of you may remember when it came out in 1995, and were hooked, anxiously awaiting Toy Story 2 and 3. It was actually Pixar’s first full feature...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/9/13
Today’s Throwback Thursday photo challenge of the day was sort of hard, but that’s why it’s called…a challenge! We asked, “When was this picture taken?” And the hint we gave was that it was related to your laptop. The answer is 1944. This is a picture of Colossus, the first electric digital computer that was all programmable. The Colossus computers were...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/8/13
The question today was, “Can you guess whose famous comedian’s mother this is?” If you said, Ben Stiller, then you’d be correct! Ann Meara was funny long before Ben was born. Her and Ben’s father Jerry Stiller (George Costanza’s father on Seinfeld!) were part of the original improv group, The Compass Players, which later went on to become The Second City....
To Cube or Not to Cube? That is the Office Space...
You may have heard that Ask has been growing – literally, with awesome new employees (like this one, and more) and a new floor of office space to house our expanding family. So what better time to re-evaluate what makes our office tick each and every work day? We recently polled our employees about work preferences and habits – what makes our work areas great, not so great, and our daily...
Instagram Photo of the Day Challenge 5/6/13
If you started following us on Instagram (@askdotcom) then you already saw this obscure Photo of the Day Challenge. The hint was,”Iron Man may have stolen the box offices this weekend, but can you guess who this other #marvel superhero is?” Did you guess right? It was Thor! Fun fact: Did you know that Thor has 22 aliases?? He can also be known as: Donald M. Blake, God of...
In today’s world, everyone knows that photos just aren’t as fun without a filter. We get that, which is why we’re so excited to announce the Ask Instagram account! It’s shiny, new and ready to be filled with photos (artfully filtered, of course) that set out to answer questions none of us knew we had. Follow Ask on Instagram @askdotcom to play along with our daily “Photo of the Day Challenge”...
Ask's Customer Service Guru Speaks!
You know him from his guest appearances on this blog, but now’s your chance to hear from Ask’s Worldwide Customer Service and Technical Support Manager live! Eric McKirdy will be at the upcoming Customer Service Experience Conference in NYC on Monday August 19th talking about the success of our new customer support portal and our approach to getting customer service right! -...
Customer Service: Doubling Down in Las Vegas
Many industries throw around terms such as “double down” and “big bet” and “big win” which may be an indication of why so many conferences pick Las Vegas as the location for companies to showcase their bets on their new products, new strategies and of course tout the successes of past wins. It was particularly fitting to spend time in Las Vegas at the...
Ask Talks Applied Improv at SXSW
SXSW Interactive 2013 has officially come to a close and if you weren’t able to make it to Austin, you missed our very own, Lisa Kavanaugh speaking with neuroscience expert, Janet Crawford, on “Why Neanderthals Make Lousy Entrepreneurs”. Did you know that in terms of how it operates our brains haven’t changed much since our Cro-Magnon days. We’re social animals designed to live 10,000...
And the Winner Is...
As Hollywood preps for the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Ask.com once again rolled out its red carpet predictions for the night’s biggest winners, as well as the stars Ask users expect to go home empty-handed. But there was one more burning question – how many degrees of separation is there between the nominees and Kevin Bacon?! And you’d be surprised at the connections – check it out: - Suraya...
Don't We All Need a Break Now and Then?
So you’re probably one of those people who spend a lot a time working at your computer – hour after hour….But every now and then, don’t you just want to take a teeny, tiny break? Me too! Ask just may have the solution for you. Ask.com’s Games section is a mother lode of games you can play right in your browser. But be warned: they’re highly addictive! For ease in browsing...
A Chat With Doug Leeds
Ask recently had the pleasure of hosting USA Today’s Jefferson Graham at our Oakland headquarters for a catch up on all things Ask.com. We chatted about our busy 2012 with the acquisitions of nRelate and About.com, not to mention what you can expect from us in 2013. Check out more videos and pics from USA Today’s visit, including Doug riding our adult-sized big wheels bike, here. ...
Meet Ask's Matt Binkowski, Head of UX Design
Matt Binkowski joined Ask.com last summer and is leading the charge on UX Design, Strategy and Execution. Check out how he gets into his design groove to get it all done in this feature on InVision’s DesignSpace blog. - Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
Improving the Ask User Experience
We weren’t all that far into 2012 when we started talking about how we can better help the good people (like you) who use Ask’s products. As the primary customer support guy here at Ask, I attended several conferences and seminars all over the country that are focused solely on how companies can better provide users with not only support but with really positive brand experiences. Even though I...
What Did Americans Think About 2012?
Yes friends – it’s almost time to bid farewell to 2012. But with so many crazy headlines this past year, Ask teamed up with Harris Interactive to gauge Americans’ thoughts about 2012’s biggest news stories and, of course, to see which stories our users asked the most about. “Will Rob and Kristen get back together?” is officially the top trending question of 2012 making Kristen Stewart the...
A Night in the Slammer, Please!
Who would want a night in the slammer? Apparently 60% of U.S. workers would if the alternative was to lose their employee benefits. Ask.com uncovered this little fun fact in an effort to gauge what strikes a job candidate’s fancy when it comes to deciding on a new job. While some of the responses to the 2012 State of the Workplace: Benefits and Perks study were expected, you’d be surprised at some...
East Bay Tech Community Honors Ask.com
As we dive into November, Ask wanted to take a moment and thank the East Bay Tech Community for honoring us as the winner of the 2012 2.Oak Innovator Awards in the Digital Technology Innovator category. 2.Oakland asked the local tech community to cast their votes and we have to say we were very pleased with the results. Ask.com was recognized for our continued technology innovations, our...
October – What a Spooktacular Month!
Ask.com rounded out the month with a festive Halloween party – and boy was it festive! Ghouls, goblins and Honey Boo-Boo were all out in full force! From homemade costumes to masks that still have us wondering, “Who is that guy???” Askers celebrated Halloween 2012 with costume and scream contests, a Halloween-themed bake-off and of course bowls and bowls full of candy. More celebrations to come in...
Do You See What I See?
Whether you’re in New York City riding the S Shuttle or in San Francisco riding the Muni trains, you can’t help but notice that Ask.com has a few questions for you. Why is New York City called the Big Apple? Why is the Statue of Liberty green? How many people ride the subway each day? What’s the oldest running restaurant? When did Alcatraz close? What’s the fastest way to get across town? Why are...
It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...Train?
Something about this NYC Subway S train looks familiar, can’t quite put our finger on it… Happy Friday! —Ask.com
I GET to Tell You About This
Last week in this space, I mentioned that Ask.com traveled to Phoenix to attend a forum on new strategies and best practices in Customer Experience. All in all, over a dozen conference sessions were presented, but one of them really stands out in my mind. After serving a full career culminating as the chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers, Gen. Robert Van Antwerp (Ret.) entered the private...
It’s Official – We’re Hitched!
Yesterday marked the closing of the About.com acquisition and another milestone for Ask.com. Askers in Oakland joined Doug Leeds and the About.com staff in NYC on a video conference where we celebrated the marriage of the two companies with a champagne toast and a wedding cake (of course!). Here’s to living happily ever after! Cheers! - Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
Solving the Customer Experience Puzzle
Last week, Ask.com traveled to Phoenix, Arizona where a large forum, including executives from Verizon, Bank of America, Oracle, McDonald’s, USAA, Nissan, ShopNBC and even our sister company, Match.com, convened on the topic of Customer Experience, or “CX” as industry insiders refer to it. It’s a hot topic among companies spanning all industries, and in the case, we were all in the same room. ...
TC Disrupt Hackathon 2012: We All Scream For…
They came, they saw, they hacked. And they ate ice cream sandwiches from local supplier CREAM Nation - courtesy of Ask.com. Hey, when you’re burning the midnight oil at the biggest Hackathon TC has put on to date (a record 147 teams presented 1 minute pitches on Sunday night) warm cookies smothered in ice cream sound, uh, really good. In fact, they might just be the perfect pairing with our...
Hot Fun in the Summer
Middle Harbor Shoreline Park – this was the awesome location for our Ask.com Summer Event. Amazing views of both SF and the harbor cranes that were George Lucas’ alleged inspiration for the AT-ATs. All, in all, a perfect place for us Askers to enjoy the SUNNY part of the Bay for a day of food, games and good times. And good times were indeed had by all. There was a little something for...
Ask.com Acquires About.com – Why This is Huge
As reported Sunday, Ask will purchase the About Company from the New York Times, a top 20 US Internet property whose assets include 3 million handcrafted articles from nearly 1000 subject matter experts. This is an incredibly positive move for both parties, and here’s why: I’ll start with Ask. Since shifting away from algorithmic web search and re-focusing on Q&A back in the summer of 2010,...
Tackling the Post-Vacay Workload
Ask’s very own, Lisa Kavanaugh talks vacation recovery in Fast Company! How do you get back into the swing of things after a vacation? - Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?
When my office phone rang late in the day last month, I answered it and was greeted on the other end by Doris, calling from Knoxville, Tennessee. However, this was not a courtesy call. Doris got right to the point. “You have to give me my money back,” she said. “All of it.” It seems Doris had posted a question about how to list items for sale on eBay, paid her money, and then received no helpful...
SXSW or Bust!
SXSW PanelPicker is now open and we’d love your help in getting Ask.com on stage in Austin! This year we have some really great speaker ideas coming from Ask CTO Lisa Kavanaugh; Robbie Waeschenfelder, Director of Marketing; Matt Binkowski, Sr. Director, UX Design, Strategy, & Execution; and Valerie Combs, VP of Communications. While speakers are determined partly by SXSW judges, a large...
Happy Askers at Happy Hour
Ask CTO, Lisa Kavanaugh led the charge for an impromptu happy hour at District Oakland last night. A great time was had by all as we celebrated another great work week. Good food, good drink and most importantly, a great team! P.S. – we’re always looking for new members to join the Ask.com team ;) - Suraya Akbarzad, Ask.com
Social Content: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Yesterday I was at the Badgeville Engage 2012 Summit and spoke on the “Intersection of Social and Gamification” panel with Jodee Rich, CEO, Peoplebrowsr and Matthew Price, Product lead at Bazaarvoice. As you can imagine, there was a lot of discussion around how to engage users and which social platforms companies should focus on. The answer – it’s about finding the right combination of the right...
Vacation Matters. Seriously.
PTO is meant to be a time to hit the restart button, shut off the work side of your brain and regroup. If done right, you come back ready to get back to work – bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. There’s just one problem – do you have enough PTO days accrued to take your dream vacation? Will your manager approve the PTO days you had planned for a trip to your hometown? Or will you be forced to...
Love (And How To Avoid It)
Both online and off, love is most definitely in the air. So far, my wife and I have been to no fewer than six weddings this spring and summer. Which got me thinking - Mrs. McKirdy and I have now been happily married nearly 12 years. What’s the secret? I decided to put that question to our Q&A Community. Love, trust and honesty came up several times, along with shared experiences of a few...
Coming to a Theater Near You
Exciting to see a shout out from The New York Times on our new cinema commercials! - Ask.com
Hackathon Summer 2012: Hack Harder
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our Hackathons, it’s that each one yields different results—and this, our third one, is no exception. Our first ‘thon gave us Pollroll, which is, well, rolling along nicely. Our second one gave us one concept that we’re bringing to Twitter, and another that’s already improved our improved our database-query times by 50X. This time, organizers Nick...
We Ask, You Answer: iPad's reign?
Quipol With somewhere around 60 million units sold, the iPad is ruling the tablet roost. Will it last? Let us know what you think. —Ask.com
Code for Oakland: And the Winner is…
Hack the Budget: Oakland! Ask.com joined forces with Code for Oakland this past weekend to build the best ideas for apps to help support economic development in Oakland, improve civic engagement, and provide tools to attract and sustain local businesses. 12 teams hacked away and came up with a variety of ideas addressing the needs of Oakland’s diverse community. Would an app to test low income...
We Ask, You Answer: Cupcakes?
Quipol Here’s a non-tech question for you: Have cupcakes jumped the shark? Let us know what you think! —Ask.com
You Really Do Like Us!
The American Customer Satisfaction Index released its scores this week for Internet Portals & Search Engines and we have to say, we were pleasantly surprised! Based on YOUR responses, Ask.com was the only company that maintained an impressive score of 80 (out of 100) while all others’ scores either declined since last year or were rated lower overall. We’re very proud of our standings and...
UPCOMING: Code For Oakland 2012
Look. We get that when you think Oakland, you may not instantly think tech. We’re working with Code for Oakland to change that. Ask.com has made this city home for over a decade, which is why we’re happy to be a presenting sponsor of Code for Oakland. It’s a one-day event where coders, programmers, and members of the community get together to create apps and tools that will improve life here...
Wading Pool Party!
At Ask, we do more than answer questions. We also keep promises. Case in point: the third and final problem Seattleites told us they wanted addressed: Keep the wading pools open more often. We responded by sponsoring three of the city’s most popular pools: East Queen Anne, Powell Barnett and Wallingford. To celebrate, we threw a pool party! Of course, by “party,” we mean a...
We Ask, You Answer: Where Do You Read?
Slowly but surely, reading habits are changing. Are yours? Let us know with the Quipol below! Quipol —Ask.com