Originally posted at ygetarts.com

YELP Doesn’t Like Negative Reviews

Irony is of course one of my favorite things in life.

So, I’m quite enjoying this unfolding story on Yelp! (NYSE $YELP) on a variety of levels.

The millennial workforce will change quite a bit of Human Resource dynamics, between now and 2021.

This event is unfolding into a story on millennials in the work force, but in my opinion that’s a major generalization and just scratching the surface of many of the underlying issues.

By the way those items are complex and not easily solved in a blog post, but certainly worth creating a dialogue over.

Seeing both sides of the incident….

The Former Yelp employee side…

It’s easy to see all sides of this incident. The poster was upset, but she’s the one that put herself in that situation. Ironically, her complaints got her out of the situation. Hopefully, into a better one. At the very least she’s gotten attention.

Hopefully, this materializes into a better tangible scenario for her. (see her post)

Some would say the next company won’t hire her out of fear that she’ll complain again, but that’s exactly what will work to her advantage. If you actually read the post she’s more venting, asking for serious help out loud and in humorous way.

Plus, she’s clear about who she — humor * writing * better at thinking about things than actually doing them

If a company knows they have a lot of internal problems then she wouldn’t want to work there anyway. By the way we all complain. Millennials just do it publicly, where the other generations tend to prefer private complaining because that’s the approach we grew up with. Who knows what we would have been like with all of this social media interaction?

The Yelp side…

It’s easy to see why Yelp fired the employee. That’s typical of most fear based corporations when something uncomfortable comes up in a public manner — termination.

Most companies do this simply because they’re afraid it will have a negative impact on their earnings, or profit margins.

Yet, looking at some of their key financial ratios let investors know there are bigger problems than upset customer service workers.

Yelp Key Ratios….

Profitability and operating margins are negative. Return on Assets and Equity are also under the zero mark and a substantial amount of people are shorting the stock. (data from Yahoo! Finance)

The problem with reviews in general is systemic….

Unlike Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) the aggregate of reviews is their core business.

Now, reviews are a difficult business because anyone can write them, post them and then they’re out there forever until the original writer brings the information down. Reviews are not stories with a beginning, middle and end.

Quite the opposite, they’re biased data points of moments.

We don’t know the motive, or emotional mindset of the reviewer. In essence, the context is missing and that happens to be the most important variable.

A legit customer complaint, a competitor, a scorned lover, etc.. The idea is that these reviews are designed to help us make our choice? However, the exact opposite occurs.

The only way we can actually have an opinion on something — is if we have done it, participated in some way, or consumed the product/service.

Yet, we now live in a world where people believe it is okay to have an opinion on something, or someone without direct contact. This is what seems most dangerous to me and where social media actually becomes anti-social media.

When we rely on the opinions of others we don’t get that information. We chose avoidance.

Jim Handy covered some of the other challenges of Yelp in a 2012 Forbes article. (See his post)

My opinion from direct experiences…

My direct experience with millennials has been either sitting with them in MBA-Finance classes for the past two years, living with one for a few years, working as an acting coach, or a tutor.

They’re some of the most dynamic people I know on the planet. Yet, they think, act and want different things than the generation that raised them.

In psychological terms — they’re normal for their age group.

The will never look at the world the way we do and quite honestly they shouldn’t. We didn’t. Our parents didn’t. Nor did our grandparents. Why? Well, I think it is because we are evolving.

My generation…

I’m from the MTV generation, with a lot of baby boomer friends (60’s types) and raised by the silent generation (depression era babies).

I was fortunate enough to spend time with my grandfather. He was born in the 1800’s. He went through the industrial revolution. His claim to fame, other than surviving WWI, was being one of the last horse and buggy delivery milkmen and prior to that he’d been a farmer. No internet. No TV. No Social Media. No cell phones.

The bottom line is all generations go through systemic changes. That’s what we’re going through now not only in the workplace, but the world in general.

This isn’t about millennials. Generalizing them as complainers filled with a sense of entitlement isn’t really fair — even if it that opinion ends up being a fact.

Impacts of Millennials

  1. The workplace will change
  2. HR may not survive and that could be a good thing for companies
  3. Companies will no longer be able to hide their secrets
  4. More people will quit and do their own things
  5. Consumer patterns are changing
  6. Productivity has been impacted

I’m curious about your thoughts….

For rough reference and some people debate on these dates….

Millennials born 1980–2000

Gen X, Y (MTV) born 1960–1980

Baby Boomers 1940–1960

Silent 1920–1940

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