My Yellow Pages Career by the Numbers

Action shot speaking to Yellow Pages sales reps.

Reflecting back on my career with Yellow Pages Canada (YP), it has been an incredible ride. I have met so many incredible people and made so many friendships that will last a lifetime.

In the Canadian tech space, it is not often you get to play a critical role in helping a company go from $90M in digital revenues (2006) to $556M in digital revenues (2017), build products that are used by hundreds of thousands of SMB’s and get to spend countless hours with the leading digital companies and people around the globe.

This article is not about predicting the future of YP or the state of the industry, rather its to briefly reflect on the past.

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Be the 9% – My LinkedIn “Request to Connect” Experiment

I changed my approach in 2016 regarding how I manage requests to connect on LinkedIn. My previous way was simple; if I knew you I connected otherwise I declined. There was nothing wrong with this approach, but I was curious – why would a total stranger want to connect with me? For the past year, I have a bi-weekly routine where I review all my LinkedIn requests from the past couple of weeks. I accept the ones that I know, reject ones that look like spam and send the following message to people who look legit but I don’t know.

“” Hi XXX – thanks for reaching and wanting to connect. Not sure we have met each other or ours paths have crossed. What’s the motivation for the request? Darby “”

I have categorized the responses of this experiment in 4 groups:

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My Conversation About Yellow Pages Transformation with Phoenix Group

Had the pleasure last week to spend 30-mins with David Bellerive and Kevin Hayes of the Phoenix Group chatting about local business challenges and the transformation that Yellow Pages Canada has been under going.

If you want to listen to the podcast, head over the Phoenix Group website and check it out.

Should You Treat Your AI Assistant With the Same Respect as a Human?

Today I published my first post using LinkedIn.com Articles. Its all about my usage of the AI Assistant Amy Ingram from a NYC based company called X.ai.

Here is a snippet of that article:

Let me explain. I started using Amy Ingram (X.ai) in the summer of 2016. I have found Amy to be an incredible product; having saved countless hours of human time to focus on higher value activities as opposed to scheduling meetings. In fact, I loved the service so much, my entire team is using Amy and I even made a point to meet with the Dennis Mortensen and his team when I was in New York City last fall. Amy is not perfect, she still has work do, but for 8 out of 10 use cases she is incredible.

You can read the full article on LinkedIn: Should You Treat Your AI Assistant With the Same Respect as a Human?.

Intelligent Chat Bots and a Look Back At Canada’s First

Chat Bots are back, good bots anyway and have started to gain some traction in the marketplace with more and more people speaking about the business implications. With Facebook’s announcement at F8 the spotlight has risen and over the course of the next year I am sure we will see lots of activity in this space.

The full list of FB 2016 Messenger Partners shows an interesting mix of use cases. I believe the applications that offer commerce and/or customer service elements are actually the most useful. The news based feeds are interesting and important for publishers to test out as another means to get in front of eyeballs but if they don’t add anymore value than simply a feed of content – not sure this will be as useful.

If you look at the list of Bots available on the Kik Platform, I think there are some interesting applications. For example, Wirkin to find a job, H&M for clothing inspiration, and of course the Weather Channel (because we need more ways to know the forecast).

Another interest space to watch is the Bot Platforms that allows you to build and host bots to integrate with the various end-user applications. For example, Meya.io is a platform player based in Waterloo, Ontario who is doing some interesting work on creating a platform for any company to quickly deploy bots for a variety of use cases. Another interesting platform is Pandorabots who are really helping businesses open up a new way to communicate with their customers.

An exciting space for sure. To the title of my post, back in 2006, I was involved in a product to launch Canada’s first MSN Message Bot for finding location. Yellow Pages Group partnered with a company called Illumicell (which became Poynt) who had a partnership with Microsoft and we launched YellowBuddy in 2006. It was a very interesting use case for us to understand how many people would use a Messenger platform in order to retrieve local information. We had a future plan of eventually being able to book, buy and deliver but our ambitions at the time where larger than the market was ready.

I think we where a little too far ahead of the curve. The big game changer today is smartphones and mobile adoption. For those of you interesting, I have including some screenshots below of the original application. If you want to see all the screenshots, click on MORE tab. Hope you enjoy a little walk down history.

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How do users conduct searches on mobile devices?

In another landmark study published by Mediative, we have released our long-awaited paper on how users use mobile search. This in-depth eye-tracking and research study is important for any brand or direct response advertiser to maximize their digital marketing efforts.

You can download your free copy at Mediative.com. CLICK HERE

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Mediative – Mobile Search Info Graphic

You can download the above infographic here.