Monday, March 3, 2008


if you've searched for a place to eat on the internet, it's likely that you've come across

i used to have an excel file that i kept updated every night after venturing out into the city (when i moved to SF in 2005). i'd keep a running file of each bar/restaurant/club/store that was somewhat interesting. this way, i would be able to remember that cool italian place i went to with so-and-so about 4 months ago (where was that place again? was it in north beach? no, it was in nob hill. wait, was it in cole valley?!).

my excel spreadsheet was great, and i maintained it rather well, i even had a system. at each place, i'd grab a business card on my way out. i had a collection of business cards on my desk corner, and that was my excel spreadsheet update queue. sometimes the queue would grow for a week or two, and i'd spend an hr or so updating my spreadsheet and remember the places i liked and disliked.

there was only one problem with my spreadsheet, it was stuck at my apartment. more and more i found myself wishing i had the spreadsheet in my back pocket. friday night after happy hr with some co-workers, i would have saved the night with a perfect recommendation for dinner, but without my spreadsheet i was powerless.

so i started a new routine. go somewhere, collect the business card at the front, input the information into my spreadsheet, and added one final step: convert the spreadsheet to html and upload it to my website. now i could access the latest upload of my list anywhere on the world wide web, genious i thought i was.

until i discovered yelp.

a few guys had basically the same thought as i did, but they were genious, and i was a retard. they decided to create a website where any and everyone can have a much better 'excel spreadsheet'. they formed yelp is much prettier and more functional than a spreadsheet. not only does it help people like me get what i want, but it's also the first presence most smaller establishments have on the web, which is huge. they created a website that has spawned a culture of critics.

now they are on covers of magazines and run a company which nets more in a year than i'll net in the next 10.

needless to say i've ditched the excel spreadsheet and joined yelp about a year ago. not only does yelp help me find cool new places to spend my disposable income, it's also a perfect tracking device.

one nice thing about yelp is that i am able to access it from anywhere on the net, and with my iphone, which is almost anywhere i am at any given time. not only is my iphone used in order to look up what's on yelp, and where i've been. my iphone is my new queue manager. i'm proud of my yelp queue technique.

here's the system (which i'm proud of):
1.) visit a new place [club, bar, restaurant, hot dog stand, etc] and take a picture of it with iphone.
2.) email that picture with any special notes like prices, dishes, or things to mention in my review to my special 'yelp only' email address. ex:
3.) when i'm home i check that account for my yelp queue. not only does it have the name of each place i've been, but also some notes and a pic i may choose to upload to yelp (the spreadsheet can't do that).


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