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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Coming Irrelevance Of My.Yahoo For Me

Comments (13)

After reading Fooled By Randomness, I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed by the information on My.Yahoo page.  I’ve had My.Yahoo as my default home page since 1997 or so and probably have it refresh (deliberately or otherwise) at least 100 times a day (more than 300,000 page views during that time of just the main Yahoo page.)  I use it primarily to track news on about 150 public companies that I follow regularly.  If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have told you that I couldn’t live without it.  I’ve tried to switch to other things (including My.MSN) but no dice – I’m just too used to My.Yahoo.

Recently, I’ve noticed that there are several annoying things to me:

  1. The stock prices are listed on the left hand side.  These prices have no impact on me daily (I don’t trade public stocks regularly) so seeing them throughout the day is useless other than the emotional and intellectual distraction of seeing the stock movements.
  2. I find myself paging down multiple times a day just to see if I can find “anything new.”  This unnecessarily interrupts the flow of my day and is a great time wasting, distraction, and procrastination technique.
  3. I often miss stuff since I have the news for each company set to “the most recent five items.” 

All of these are relatively easy to deal with.  I can “hide” the quotes using the little right triangle thing.  I can be more self-disciplined.  I can be more deliberate about what I look at.  Yet, I find that I don’t do these “little” things.  In addition, after reading Fooled By Randomness, I have completely bought into the idea that watching stock movements through the day (or week, or month) is hazardous to your health and happiness if you aren’t a professional trader (and then they still might be hazardous to your health), so eliminating the tendency completely is a good thing.  I still want to read all the news and information and form my own point of view about what is going on, but without being distracted by the market movements.

So – two days ago – on a whim – I methodically went through my entire stock list and subscribed to the news for each stock via RSS.  I’d already done this for most of the newspaper and wire feeds that I follow, but I hadn’t done this for the stock news.  For example, for Apple, I went to the Yahoo Finance Page for AAPL and then subscribed to the AAPL News RSS feed in FeedDemon.  Yeah – simple idea - but after using it for 48 hours it’s remarkably liberating.  I looked at My.Yahoo once each day just to insure I wasn’t missing anything and didn’t notice anything that I hadn’t seen somewhere else.

Now, I’m a high volume feed reader and have always consumed a huge amount of industry and company news on a daily basis, but when I stepped back and thought about the information flow, I realized I was much happier and less distracted this way.  The effective result was that I’ve now switched a large number of personal CPM ad impressions from the My.Yahoo site to the feeds I read.  Now, I’m still reading content from Yahoo, but I’m consuming it in a radically different (and for me – much more effective – way).

  • http://mathoda.com Ranjit Mathoda

    That’s exactly what I use my.yahoo for too! Although I have bloglines as my homepage, I use my.yahoo to check company specific news. Thanks to your blog entry I now know I can subscribe to the company news RSS feed directly on the yahoo finance page for the company… That’s one less site I’ll need to check!

  • Andy

    just move the stock prices to the right

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    I’ve tried moving the prices to the right – it doesn’t work for me – I still look at them. Poor impulse control.

  • mark

    i moved to bloglines as my homepage from myyahoo as i got bored with myyahoo and realized it didnt scale for me when RSS become more important….but i think yahoo knows this too which is why they bought konfabulator which in some form to be figured out is how you solve your annoyance…

  • http://www.jetworx.com Andy Nardone

    I am becoming a convert using NewsGator Online. One problem with my blog feeds though – how do I see the comments? Do I have to drill into the post/blog to see them? I know I see comment feeds on some blogs so I assume it is a totally separate feed. If so, that’s a pain in the ass. Sorry if I’m missing something under my nose.

  • http://www.ditschfitness.com garyd

    I read 2 blogs by venture capitalists. Not that I know anything about vc, rather because of the “athletic” lives. One a triathlete (who happens to stay in Boulder when in the US) and your marathoning. Both mentioned this book, this week. (his take… gblog)

  • http://www.rassoc.com/gregr/weblog Greg Reinacker

    Right now, you’ll see a “Comments” link in the dateline for the post in NG/Online, which you can click to go to the comments (on the source site).

    You could also subscribe to the individual comment feeds from the site, which as you say is somewhat less than convenient. :-)

    Moving forward, we’re working on some stuff to seamlessly integrate comments into the reading experience in NG/Online and our client products. Ideally, you’d just be able to see the comments right there…the real question comes in where you mark something as read, and later a new comment appears. Some usability issues arise with just about any solution.

    But anyway, we’re definitely looking at it. If you have specific suggestions as to how you think it might work, we’d love to hear them!

  • Dave Anderson

    I minimize the stock modules so i don’t see it all the time (There is the carat next to the title).

  • http://www.robhyndman.com/2006/01/28/is-rss-killing-my-yahoo/ robhyndman.com

    Is RSS killing My Yahoo?

    There’s a bit of a meme lately on folks dropping My Yahoo! as home page – Paul Kedrosky has the links and is guilty as charged. I used to start there but dropped it not long after I realized I was going to the web only through my reader. Turns …

  • Karl Waldman

    Fooled by Randomness is a great book with great advice and it really puts things into perspective. Of course, I’m still trying to get lucky.

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