Tuesday, May 26

The Edmunds Revolution - Top 10 Best Places to Work for in LA

Built in LA recently published an article referencing Edmunds as one of the top 7 Best Technology places to work for in LA. While the article lists the extrinsic benefits, there's more to our company than the surface freebies. In an internal discussion about this article, our own Julie Merges,Chief People Officer, states it best.

"Edmunds is known for caring about its people and I’m proud to work for a company that keeps its employees front and center. We have one of the most innovative and progressive cultures that pushes itself to transform our industry, not take incremental steps. We are set apart from other tech organizations because we are not only progressive, but we have a culture that empowers its people to be treated as adults and be held accountable for results. Each of these things are hard to replicate in a meaningful way at another company. Each of these things makes us uniquely Edmunds."

If you are interested in learning more about our culture, take a look at our open positions and interview for yourself. 

Thursday, May 14

Edmunds.com Updates Mobile Car Shopping App with Cutting-edge Messaging Platform

Newest App Release Gives Consumers Unprecedented Access to Dealers via Text Message

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - May 14, 2015 - Car-buying platform Edmunds.com today released an update to its acclaimed mobile app with a new feature that now makes it possible for shoppers to send text messages to car dealers with just a touch of a button. The innovation is the latest step in the growing trend of consumers drawn to “place messaging,” which offers a convenient way to interact with businesses via text in the same way that they do with friends and family.

Unlike other place messaging solutions that only work in concert with apps such as Snapchat and WhatsApp, Edmunds’ texting solution uses the phone’s native texting platform. That means all smartphones are capable of messaging dealers without relying on any other apps.

“More and more shoppers are turning to text messaging for their customer service needs, but until now there wasn’t a reliable way to text directly with car dealerships,” said Edmunds.com President Seth Berkowitz. “Edmunds.com’s app seamlessly integrates text messaging to thousands of dealers nationwide, so now consumers can text a sales or service inquiry and receive a timely, customized response from a dealership representative.”

The new feature is a direct response to the 34 percent of car shoppers who told Edmunds that they would prefer text messaging with dealers instead of communicating by phone or e-mail. Users can also receive instant video and picture messages from dealerships for vehicles on the dealer’s lot. And while other place messaging apps rely on third parties to answer questions or set appointments, Edmunds’ app connects users with a live person at the dealership. In addition, users can opt out of a conversation at any time simply by typing “STOP.”

Text messaging is just the latest of many useful car shopping features offered by the Edmunds app. The app allows shoppers to browse and identify inventory in their area, to get upfront price guarantees on cars in stock through Edmunds Price Promise, and to crunch numbers on an easy-to-use monthly payment calculator. The app also allows users to text directly with Edmunds Live Help, a free service that provides users with real-time access to Edmunds’ roster of car buying experts who can answer any questions about the car-shopping process, such as whether they’re getting a good deal or what sort of options are available on specific models. Shoppers can also connect with Live Help by calling 1-855-782-4711 or by texting ED411.

Smartphone users can download Edmunds’ free car shopping app at http://apps.edmunds.com/vxzg-1.

Wednesday, April 29

Academia and Industry Team up to Give College Students ‘Big Data’ during Annual DataFest Competition

Edmunds and college students teamed up recently to find stories in big data...  

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — April 28, 2015 – Students from more than 20 prestigious colleges and universities recently tried their hand at “Big Data” analysis at seven different campuses around the country during DataFest, an annual month-long data-analytics competitive event sponsored by the American Statistics Association.

The ambitious and self-motivated undergraduate students of DataFest spend one weekend analyzing compelling data provided by an organization with a rich store of accessible information. In the 2015 challenge, the data was supplied by car shopping website Edmunds.com; past providers include eHarmony, GridPoint, Kiva.com and the Los Angeles Police Department.

“The students found a lot of unexpected and interesting stories to tell using the car shopping data from Edmunds,” said Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University. Mine is a co-founder of the event, which has been running annually since 2011. She added, “I think that this experience made them truly appreciate the importance of data analysis skills required for working with large and complex datasets and made them excited for working with such data in the future.”

The vast majority of the automotive data that powers Edmunds.com's website, iOS app, Android app and tools has been made available to the larger developer community for free at http://developer.edmunds.com/

The company also encourages use of its data by teams in its annual Hackomotive challenge, which parallels DataFest in its encouragement of innovation. Edmunds awarded $35,000 in prizes during the 2015 event, the third of its kind.

By the end of DataFest this past weekend, more than 25 teams (approximately 100 students) from schools around the country were recognized with awards that can serve as meaningful additions to graduate school applications andrésumés.

At Duke University, students David Clancy (Statistical Science & Mathematics), Tori Hall (Statistical Science), Michael Lin (Mathematics), and Gregory Poore (Biomedical Engineering), each on track to graduate in 2016, participated as team Bayes' Anatomy, focused on analyzing and visualizing consumer preferences and behaviors. The team’s work was noticed by DataFest judges, who awarded it the Best Visualization award.

“As ‘Big Data’ trends are likely to generate lucrative and satisfying jobs for many of today’s brightest students, DataFest is a résumé-builder as well as a memorable and fun experience,” observed Paddy Hannon, Chief Data Officer at Edmunds.com. “We appreciated the opportunity to get involved, not only to support this worthwhile program but also to connect with students who could become members of the Edmunds.com data team someday soon.”

There are currently six open positions in Edmunds’ Business Analytics department; details can be found athttp://www.edmunds.com/about/jobs/

Other sponsors of DataFest include APT, DataCamp, Google, MassMutual Financial Group, MaxPoint, Panton Inc., RTI International, SAS and Summit. For more information on DataFest, please visit http://www.amstat.org/education/datafest/


Saturday, April 18

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

Speaker: Blagoy Kaloferov (Edmunds.com)
Edmunds.com 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 Edmunds.com 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 http://spark-summit.org/

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 CyberCoders.com 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 Edmunds.com 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, Edmunds.com’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 Edmunds.com 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, Edmunds.com 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 Edmunds.com 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: http://www.edmunds.com/quiz/

# # #

Jeannine Fallon/Aaron Lewis/Stephanie Mar
Edmunds.com Corporate Communications Media Hotline: 310-309-4900pr@edmunds.com

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.