Brad Feld

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The Coming Irrelevance Of My.Yahoo For Me

Jan 26, 2006
Category Random

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).