Saturday, April 18

Building a Data Warehouse for Business Analytics using Spark SQL - Spark Summit 2015 Talk

Speaker: Blagoy Kaloferov (
ABSTRACT is a car-shopping website that serves more than 19 million visitors each month, and we heavily use data analysis to optimize the experience for each visitor. To accomplish that goal, the engineering team at Edmunds processes terabytes of data, and our business analysts use rich visualizations on traffic, revenue and car leads metrics to get insights on the car shopper journey. When our team was faced with the challenge of increasing the speed of the pipeline and empowering business analysts to be completely self-autonomous in the process of dataset creation, aggregation and visualization, we decided to use Apache Spark. This talk is about that migration process and bumps along the road. First, the talk will address the technical hurdles we had to clear bringing up Spark – including the process of exposing our data in S3 for productionalized ETL and Ad Hoc analysis using Spark SQL in combination with libraries that we built in Scala. Then, we cover the benefits we were able to achieve – better data refresh intervals, faster queries times, and even increased productivity in our development process. Lastly, we cover the rich set of visualization and analysis tools we employ to make all these data marts easily accessible to our business analysts.
Blagoy is a Big Data Software Engineer at with experience in devising reliable services that process very large quantities of structured and unstructured data and creating a toolset to make analyzing this data very simple. He is currently pushing the boundaries on Big Data interactive applications with Apache Spark. He is passionate about architecting solutions that are powerful, yet as simple and quick as possible for end users.
Learn more about Spark Summit 2015, June 15-17 in San Francisco at

Tuesday, September 16

Do You Love Where You Work?

Here at Edmunds we not only work really hard, but we play really hard, as well.  

We just so happen to have this neat little workplace "policy" called ROWE (Results Only Work Environment), where we get to work wherever we want, whenever we want - so long as we continue to excel on the job.  It's just one of the many things that make Edmundsians love working here, aside from a few other small perks, such as its innovation-centric culture, its uber collaborative work environment, and its monthly massage & weekly meditation sessions, and did I mention its in-house movie & sporting event viewings and subsidized health & gym memberships?  But don't take my word for it.  Edmunds was recently featured by in Ritika Trikha's article, "5 Ways to Create a More Positive Culture".

Extra! Extra! Read all about it here.

Tuesday, May 27

Edmunds Offers Online Car/Personality Match-Up Tool to Car Shoppers

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — May 20, 2014 — Personality-wise, would you consider yourself a Haute Hauler, a Stylistic Supercar or a High-Performance Hybrid? Today, car shopping website launched a fun new quiz that makes it easy to assess what makes you tick, match it up with a custom car mashup and share your eye-catching automotive portrayal via social media.

“Usually, we apply our automotive knowledge in the name of car shopping, but this time it’s in the name of having a little fun.” said Suzanne Nagel,’s Executive Director of Brand Strategy.

Quiz takers will answer 15 light-hearted questions that help evaluate key personality traits -- unconventionality, status and altruism -- then will be shown a custom car that represents them. The team worked with Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and a visiting Professor at New York University, to devise the personality quiz and results.

The company anticipates that the availability of the quiz will help bolster its already significant social media presence. Currently, has over 235,000 Facebook likes on Facebook, over 67,000 Twitter followers and over 1.7 million Google+ followers.

“We like the idea of having a little fun and trying something new to catch people’s attention.The more people are familiar with the name, the more people will have an easier time buying their next car,” promised Nagel, who also managed the company’s first-ever television advertising campaign that launched in December 2013.

To access the quiz, visit:

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Jeannine Fallon/Aaron Lewis/Stephanie Mar Corporate Communications

Media Hotline: 310-309-4900

Tuesday, April 29

Why Not Interview?

Re-Affirm Your Value

Written by: Gina Shaw, Senior Director of Enterprise Services at Edmunds

How many times have you been contacted by a recruiter in the last year? Did you take the request seriously? Are you happy where you are? Does your employer provide you with career growth? What about work/life balance? Why didn’t you take it seriously? Are you wary of being judged based on a resume and a few conversations? None of that really matters. The real question is, did you go on that interview.
A few months ago, I was contacted by a recruiter. Instead of my usual, “No thank you” response, I said yes. I love where I work, but I wanted to gain perspective. I realized I have become comfortable but is that the same thing as being happy. My skill set has expanded, but has it grown in the direction I want it to. I realized I was out of touch with the industry and needed to know if my abilities are valued by other companies as I think they should be. Am I too comfortable where I am to realize I am now stale and obsolete in an ever changing IT landscape. I needed to know if I've been fooling myself into thinking the innovation at Edmunds is keeping me on the forefront of change in Technology.
I was nervous because it had been a long time since I had been on an interview and excited because I wasn't sure what I would gain from the process. I made sure I reviewed my relevant experience and talking points, and was prepared to understand what skills I needed to be successful. 
Most of the discussion centered around how we do things at Edmunds and by the end, I realized, too late, their leadership could not relate to our SOP; scrum team collaboration on features, engineering establishes quality which influences thoughtfulness on design. What I now assume is the standard operating model for most companies; agile, design thinking, lean, innovation, and collaboration; was not the case. 
What I discovered was more than I set out to find. 
The interview process reaffirmed what I initially believed. I work at a company that really values my abilities and helps me grow. Edmunds isn't for everyone, but it is for me. I discovered there are companies that believe they are innovative and want change, but they don’t understand what that really means. And I’m really lucky to be at a company that actually lives by that credo. 
This process was also a huge wake-up call. 
Once upon a time, I was a great interviewer. If I can get my foot in the door, I can speak to my abilities. Instead, I was embarrassed by my inability to articulate our process effectively or speak the common language. I had made certain assumptions and was so used to communicating within Edmunds that I let my outward communication skills to become stagnant. I realized for me to grow as a contributing employee, I need to know how to communicate across all levels in and out of Edmunds in order to bring innovative change into Edmunds. 
It gave me a new perspective.
In order for me to be a well rounded and happy employee, I need to realize my value, contribution, and potential. Am I worth as much as I think. Am I undervalued. Do I have the skills to take myself to the next level. Do I have opportunities to grow. Am I recognized for my work. Am I as much of a rock star as I think I am. These are all questions I needed to dig deep into and consider. I now have a greater appreciation for the skills I've developed at Edmunds and for the growth opportunities I have been exposed to.
Should Edmunds be concerned about my loyalty.
I don’t think that’s the right consideration. I shouldn't be uncertain about where I work and why I work there. This interview process only solidifies my commitment to Edmunds. It aligns my beliefs and values with those of the company. It really put a spotlight on my strengths and helps me understand why I belong. 
I encourage you to go out and interview to understand your value. If you are honest with yourself, you may discover the grass isn't always greener and every company has its challenges. You have to go into this with complete honesty evaluating your career path, growth, and happiness. Maybe you aren’t the high contributor you thought you are. You might think your career should be at a certain level, but do you have the skills to actually do that job? I believe this process will either help you perform to the best of your abilities or provide a lens to where your career should take you. You will definitely have an insight to your needs and be able to have that conversation with your manager about your value and your growth. Sometimes, you need different experiences to get to the next level and that’s OK. If you know where you belong, then that company should welcome you back because you have come back as a confident individual with a stronger skill set; and you are committed because you know that’s where you want to be.

Monday, April 7

4 Reasons to Deploy Website Testing Framework (WTF) Technology

A brief summary of Edmunds' transition to Website Testing Framework (WTF) written by Daniel Kang, Edmunds' Director of Software Architecture.

At the beginning of 2014, the Software Architecture team at deployed a new Website Testing Framework (WTF) which enables us to run hundreds of parallel experiments in a reliable manner. Since launching WTF, our company has reached a new level of efficiency and confidence in designing, coordinating and measuring our controlled experiments. We wanted to share our experience building WTF, and go over the motivation for choosing an in-house solution.

Motivation 1: Centralize the configuration of all AB tests
We used to have two separate AB testing systems that were tailored specifically for JavaScript and for CMS templates. In both systems, the test configuration was essentially placed around the code block that would generate the AB variants. Since these configuration blocks were not easily visible, it became a tedious exercise to track down all the AB tests. We ran a very large weekly AB test coordination meeting with all Product Owners and Business Analysts to describe, slot, and track all running tests.

The solution WTF provided was simple. All configuration code for both client and server side experiments are standardized and published from a single source. We also created a WTF Dashboard which shows experiments running in each environment. It contains a description of the test, the expected start and end dates, and the pages and components that are being tested.

Motivation 2: Eliminate wait time to run an AB test
One of the biggest bottlenecks we encountered in launching an AB test, was waiting for your test to get slotted to go live. The process for launching an AB test involved asking a Business Analyst to forecast the percentage of visitors required to confidently detect a lift in key metrics during a two week period. If three campaigns each required 33% of visitors, no other campaigns could be slotted.

WTF changed this approach by allowing each visitor to be part of multiple experiments. Initially there was a lot of resistance to this approach due to concerns of cross contamination between campaigns, but we reinforced the fact that strong interactions between campaigns are rare. We still provide the ability to run a campaign in isolation, but this is strongly discouraged for most experiments since this reduces the number of visitors in our test pool.

With WTF we want developers and product owners to come up with testable ideas, and immediately launch their experiments when ready. This allows us to run more tests than ever.

Motivation 3: Auto coordinate AB test campaigns
There are certain pages on our site that every team wants to test. WTF detects when experiments are trying to test the same page, and splits traffic evenly between the overlapping experiments. It also notifies the Product Owner of the overlap so that they can decide whether they need additional coordination. WTF also guarantees that no experiments will be starved of traffic since the traffic split between all overlapping campaigns happens at the beginning of the visitor’s session. 

Motivation 4: Provide end to end audit of our AB testing system
WTF has standardized reports for all live experiments. To ensure that all aspects of the testing system are functioning normally, we regularly run an AA test. Using a 95% confidence interval, we expect no difference in key metrics 95% of the time. This sanity check detects potential issues with the framework as we develop new features.

Conclusion: What’s coming

As we increase our reliance on controlled experiments for various layers of our products, we want to accelerate the detection of winning recipes. We will be adding features to increase the sensitivity of our reports for key user segments. We are also formulating our Overall Evaluation Criteria, so that we can introduce Multi-Arm Bandit to dynamically split traffic between the recipe variants.

Thursday, March 20

Edmunds at SXSW 2014

A brief recap written by Liz Harsh, Edmunds' Marketing Events Manager

For 4 days Edmunds had prime space within the Mashery Lounge at the Austin Convention Center, the hub of SXSW 2014.  

Edmunds was also featured on 2 panels.  John O’Dell, Edmunds’ Senior Editor, sat on the Connected Car Panel panel, and Stephen Gandee, Edmunds’ Vice President of Mobile and Emerging Technologies, sat on another panel and talked about about Edmunds’ ROWE culture.

We held a photo challenge with our signature Edmunds Car Head on the streets of Austin. Best photos of the day won some cool swag.

Our Price Promise Prom themed Happy Hour was very successful and noted as the best party to date. 

Powder blue bow ties, flower corsages, and a perfect DJ'd playlist courtesy of Beats topped off a night of fun!

10,300 = the number of people who visited the Mashery Lounge where our booth was located

1,783 = the number of pieces of branded swag given out

1,000 = the number of people at our Promise Prom

Edmunds is looking forward to having an even larger presence at SXSW 2015!