Revolutionizing Everything

I looked up Yelp’s mission statement and was surprised to see a simple “Our purpose: To connect people with great local businesses.” Every tech company these days has to revolutionize the way we do X, or disrupt such and such marketplace. I imagine if Yelp was a startup now, their goal might be to revolutionize the way people connect with local businesses. And with its success, we wouldn’t be surprised to see tech media reprinted PR releases about how the revolution is happening.

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, Yelp is something some people use sometimes, a few people use a lot, and a lot of people don’t use at all. It’s another option that I appreciate, but it hasn’t radically altered the way I shop and eat.

I dislike the arrogance and neomania. It feels false. (Or maybe it’s merely a distaste for revolutions coming from the Burkean in me, haha.)

Well, that’s all the time I have for now. I could go on and on. Instead, I’ll stop here. Time to eat breakfast and visit TIC. Good-bye.

4 thoughts on “Revolutionizing Everything

  1. Lloyd Nebres

    I resonate with this sentiment: “I dislike the arrogance and neomania.” You need to be on Twitter. ;-)

    The coin of “revolution” has been debased to the point that it is a clinking cliché. Tarnished beyond repair.

    This pains me as in my half-century of existence I’ve been very fortunate to have been involved in not just one, but two revolutions. Or at least, what *felt* like revolutionary moments, at the time: (1) kicking out the Marcos democracy in the Philippines, and (2) taking part in the dismantling of apartheid, via the divestment movement in U.S. colleges.

    Both were very real, meaningful historical events, which moved individuals, countries, entire cultures even.

    They were also messy, and even though they succeeded in overturning the status quo, the time afterward proved challenging, difficult. But I can say that the results are not yet deposited in the trash heap of history, as have other revolutions. The movements they spawned still feel forward-looking, with hope mitigated by reality.

    In our contemporary tech world, I would say there have been a few genuine revolutions. Engelbart’s passing reminds us of these.

    Are you encouraging your students to read, and write?

  2. Julie

    Good for Yelp! That’s a great mission statement. Despite all the concern over fake reviews and faulty filtering, I think Yelp is achieving its mission. I use it quite a bit and, so far, have had good results. I especially appreciated the guy who came and fixed the faulty wire to our oven and saved us from potential disaster. (I was scared poopless when the oven autolocked and erupted in flames).

    And I agree about the use of the term ‘revolutionize’. It’s an eye-roller in most cases.

  3. Shawn R. McDonald Post author

    @Lloyd: I cracked up so much at Marcos democracy. I haven’t been encouraging my students to read and write. I suppose I might provide an excuse: It’s been hard enough staying on top of things with just the comp sci material. Teaching AIC is so different from teaching a writing class. I suppose that’s a topic I can write about.

    @Julie: In general, I think Yelp is pretty good.

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