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When the economy crashed almost two years ago, we as a company did what everyone else did and trimmed the fat, which included our snack budget. In looking at what we spent on snacks, one thing that stood out to me was how much we spent on kitchen paper and plastic products for the convenience of our employees. These buggers are expensive!

going green, whitepages.com

It's easy to find ways to go green. (Image courtesy of Atul Tater via Flickr)

Before the budget was cut, we spent more than 3k a year on various and sundry paper cups, bowls, plates and cutlery. I thought to myself, if we purchased a dishwasher and people brought mugs, plates and silverware from home we could not only get our ROI within a year, but we could continue to provide the snacks that the employees were accustomed to having. We would lose a bit of convenience, sure, but we would also reduce the waste that our office generated, significantly.

To me, it was no longer just about saving money, but also about being part of the green revolution at the office! Most of us are conscientious at home but are we as conscientious at the other place we call home for at least 40 hours a week? We’re in Seattle for Pete’s sake, how hard could it be? Well, as it turns out…it’s not that hard.  Here are some examples of things that we did to green-ify our office kitchens:

  • We brought in compost bins.
  • We (of course) already had our recycling in place, but we created a separate bin for those annoying plastic bags we get at the supermarket.
  • We use phosphate free dishwashing detergent.
  • We use reusable plates, cups, bowls and cutlery.
  • We purchase recycled paper towels.

We also founded Ban the Phonebook, an initiative to promote opt-in legislation for the delivery of White Pages phone books. We’re at over 38K supporters, and growing every day! (Find us on Facebook here!)

So far, it seems like everybody here at WhitePages has been on board with this mini green revolution. Sure, I still occasionally have to pick paper towels out of the garbage and put them in our compost bins, but it is great to see how significantly we have reduced our waste. The revolution has to start somewhere, and I’m glad that our office is a part of it!

What does your office do to reduce waste and go green?

PS – Follow us on Twitter @WhitePages

WhitePages is proud to announce DealPop, your source for insider information on the best places to eat, drink and play - right in your neighborhood!

Value Is Much More Than A Good Deal

Today the Seattle Times announced our new service DealPop, which will soon offer great deals at the best places to eat, drink, and have fun — right in your neighborhood.

Sure we are going to offer incredible discounts, but we are also focused on providing a great customer experience and selecting great places for you to enjoy and discover.

We built DealPop as a service and not just a transaction.  Our project is centered and driven on a set of guiding principles that reflect the following core values of  WhitePages:

Connect with Confidence

We are on a mission to help consumers connect with confidence.  Millions of consumers trust WhitePages as the leading web and mobile service for finding both people and businesses.  Searches on our site allow us to see both the most popular and up and coming merchants.  From these findings, our DealPop team, including full-time sales reps that are a part of the local community, select a target list of businesses to provide the best offers for a location.

As a company that is hyper-focused on providing the best experience, we also want to make sure the consumers redeem the deals they purchase.  For those that opt-in to our email list, we will send a reminder.

We also want to make sure the merchant is prepared before a consumer walks into their shop, so our head of sales Cindy Hewitt has put together a comprehensive training and support program to help the merchants provide the best in-store experience.

We’re Entrepreneurial

What first began as a conversation several months ago with our CEO/Founder Alex Algard, Board Director Will Griffith, colleagues Joe Heitzeberg and Jason Milstead is now a new and fully staffed service.  Our board and leadership team funds ideas and then we empower our sprint teams as self-run start-ups to move quickly.  Eliminating the need for executive review allows the team to focus all resources on the quality of service.

Work With The Best People

The DealPop team puts their heads together.

In order to empower a team, you have to hire the right people.   We selected experienced A-team players that know how to create mainstream consumer services and have a deep understanding of both online and local.    The launch team, some of them featured in the picture, (and in order of when they joined the project) includes Troy Morris, Julie Pitt, Elizabeth Rogers, Cindy Hewitt, Travis Pearl, Bobby Cox, Rebecca Carroll, Aaron Oak,  Thaddeus Gunn, Melissa Bower, Roger Rignack, Drew Hackleman.  We have a lot of fun teasing each other and finding humor in every situation.  Julie has a laugh all of downtown Seattle can hear,  while Troy is determined to create a promotion that involves him wearing a Gorilla suit .   If you don’t have a team that enjoys working together, you can’t build something fun for consumers.

Our fantastic marketing maven Liz Powell is already building a great media buzz, following on the footsteps of the recent press she secured for WhitePages in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.   Just check out the Twitter and Foursquare stream of Marie Langhout and you can see she has been to almost every bar, salon, and restaurant in Seattle .  Marie is  building a great presence for us on Twitter and Facebook even before we officially launch.

Finally, Susan Fincher from our HR department stepped in to help with recruiting and developing interviewing process to make sure we continue to hire the best people as we roll out to more markets.

One Mission, One Team:

In addition to a great DealPop team, we have leveraged the talent and resources of WhitePages to launch DealPop.  Our finance head Suki Hayre and legal counsel Jolene Marshall helped us navigate through a lot of details to make payment simple and easy for consumers and merchants.

This was not a secret project at WhitePages, we had several open “brown bags” and reviews to get  feedback and input from our colleagues.  Every sprint team and business unit helped with ideas, advice, and work – and all the critical components needed to provide the best merchant and consumer experience.

We will also leverage the +20m consumer reach of WhitePages and serve new customers because DealPop is built on the same principles we work by at WhitePages to provide consumers and merchants with more than just a good deal.

Interested in learning more? Head to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. And don’t forget to sign up at DealPop.com!

Follow me on Twitter: @knakao

Follow WhitePages on Twitter: @WhitePages

It was an exhausting day to be sure, but after a day of attacking invasive ivy, blackberry, and clematis vines that were strangling the trees in Interlaken Park in Seattle, the WhitePages team had a lot to be proud of.  We cleared over 45 trees and six thousand square feet of overgrown hillside and placed mulch there to prevent regrowth until the Friends of Interlaken Park can return later this year to replant native, tree-friendly plants.  We joined over 9,000 volunteers county-wide on September 11th who participated in the United Way of King County Day of Caring, 2009 that helped 270 nonprofit organizations.

Paul rocked out to tunes as he fought the hillside tirelessly, and Devin, Greg and Kevin pretty much looked like they had been run over by a truck at the end of the day.  Somehow mysteriously, Andrea’s shirt managed to stay just-washed white.  And it was good to see that when our community calls, Zoe is willing to go without her heels for a day.  The next week, my arms still looked like I got into an alley fight with a cat (I did not heed the warnings to wear a long sleeve shirt, which clearly was in order given the blackberries).

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Right as the worst economic news hit, we presented our mobile plan for funding to the board of Whitepages. While other companies were cutting back, the response from our President/COO Max Bardon was “This is exciting, budget approved…how fast can you make this happen”.

We quickly put our plan into place, hiring internally and signing deals with top mobile developers. All told, there were over 20 people from the U.S., Germany, and India working with us, resulting in a slew of new and innovative mobile offerings:

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I wanted to give you the results of our first Wellness Challenge of 2009 that I wrote about in this wellness post .  The challenge is now complete andmt-fuji1 it was a great experience.  In total the WhitePages team climbed 29,780 flights of stairs, which is an average of 465 flights per participant. WOW! The “Stairketeers” were our winning team with a whopping 5,927 flights with an average of 988 flights per team member!  That means, on average, each Stairketeers team member climbed the equivalent of Mt. Fuji.  The top individual climbed over 40,000 feet – I’ve never even flown that high in an airplane.

Absolutely amazing!  But, what can I say, when a WhitePager puts their mind to something, “They’re on a Mission” and nothing is going to stop them.

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