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 personal growth opportunities in the marriage department. Lots of great conversation in the comments, too! You can check out all the answers (and add your own) here.
And it seems love is not limited to just married adults in the Ask.com community. Younger folks are also feeling the effects of Cupid’s arrow, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the community as a whole. Recently, I received this note from a Q&A Community member:
I can’t help noticing all the teen crush questions, like “does he like me?” or “which girl should I go out with?” They’re everywhere! I thought these weren’t allowed at Ask.com, so why are they here? What can be done about this? I really come to Ask.com to ask and answer questions about politics and business/finance, and I’d really rather not have to deal with the kid stuff.
While we want to make sure to offer all of our users a place where they can get their questions answered, we also hear loud and clear that some folks would prefer not to see certain types of questions. And now, they don’t have to! We recently rolled out a new feature in the Q&A Community called Category Filtering. Just select the categories you don’t want to see, and questions in those categories will never be displayed to you in the All Recent questions. To enable category filtering, do the following:
1. Log in to your account at www.ask.com
2. Click “Settings” in the upper right corner, and then on the “Personal Set.” Tab
3. Place a checkmark in the box of each category you’d rather not see, and then be sure to click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the category list
That’s it! By the way, you can always go back and change your mind later if you decide you want to help figure out if stolen glances on the playground really mean true love, or if you come up with foolproof answers regarding how to choose between two different guys who want to take you to prom.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it looks like it’s time to go buy a couple more blenders.
Eric McKirdy is Ask.com’s Corporate Brand Ambassador and Customer Support guru. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here on the blog, send it to him at customersupport (at) ask.com; if your question is used, he’ll even send you an Ask.com t-shirt.
Exciting to see a shout out from The New York Times on our new cinema commercials!
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 McCann and Alisa Barnes raised the stakes yet again. For our Summer 2012 Hackathon, our eighty participants not only hacked products, they also explored ways to improve their presentation skills.
To help teams focus their ideas, this ‘thon had a theme: social media. After all, our users and partners continue to use social media tools. As a business, we’re continually looking for ways to incorporate social media in the work we do. Hence, the desire to come up with ideas that build on our existing offerings.
“I’m really excited to see what we get out of this (Hackathon),” Alisa told me. “I’m expecting it to impact our product roadmap significantly.”
The Art of the Pitch
Not everyone is comfortable with presenting in front of a group, so Eve Chaurand-Fraser, our VP of Business Development and General Counsel, offered our hacker teams “pitch workshops” to hone their skills. “We didn’t want great ideas to slip through the cracks based on the presentation alone — not everyone does this sort of thing for their job,” Eve explained. “I wanted to level the playing field.”
Hacking for the Prize
Thursday’s hacking went on behind closed doors and on the occasional cubicle island. Friday began with presentations from all ten teams. With lunch came the judging, and by 1:30 PM, we had our winner: Team OMGCLICK with an idea that involved a content indexing system and an in-house tool that would let Ask Editors assemble hilarious and/or fascinating content into easily shareable (dare we hope “viral?”) galleries and collections. The victors received iPods and Jamboxes — and trophies, of course. But everyone received experience — in pitching, in product creation and in thinking about social media. Believe us; you’ll see more of that from us in the future.
—Ken Grobe, Ask.com
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 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 kids for kindergarten readiness make the cut? How about an app designed to help disabled members of the community look for jobs??
But alas, only one team could be crowned the winner and Hack the Budget: Oakland was the victor!
Hack the Budget: Oakland aims to turn Oakland’s budgeting documents into something citizens can easily read, understand and most important, act on in the polls! The team earned a $1,000 cash prize along with an amazing support package to help the team complete the app, develop a business plan, marketing strategy and to help prepare the product for a full launch!
The team will be working to finalize the application over the next few weeks. Congratulations to all the participants and the Hack the Budget: Oakland team!
Here’s a non-tech question for you: Have cupcakes jumped the shark? Let us know what you think!
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 thank our loyal users for your continued support! After all, we wouldn’t be Ask.com with you!
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 in our town.
In addition to our sponsorship, Askers have volunteered their time for the July 21 event. Folks who join us at Code for Oakland are in for a full day of presentations, workshops, and learning sessions. And of course, there’s the hackathon where teams can take a crack at building a prototype application within the one-day time frame. $5000 in prizes are at stake for the teams who can build something that benefits our beloved Oaktown.
Also supporting the event: neighbors Pandora, Socrata, Code for America, and 2.Oakland, among others—all ready to prove that Oakland is a town for tech. Come down to the Kaiser Center Saturday and watch us teach the Valley a thing or two.
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 full-on celebration at Wallingford, with free ice cream, umbrellas, and a bouncy house! Kids splashed, kids bounced, and waders of all ages enjoyed free ice cream bars from Langley’s own Whidbey Island Ice Cream Company.
Locals may have heard about the surprise event via Wallyhood or the Puget Sound Business Journal, but however they chanced across it, a great time was had by all. And since we set out on this campaign to bring more enjoyment to Seattllites’ everyday activities, we feel pretty good about the results. We suspect Seattle does, too.
Have a great Summer,
Slowly but surely, reading habits are changing. Are yours?
Let us know with the Quipol below!