Parsing Complex Data to Solve ‘Simple’ Problems

1 min readFeb 17, 2015

Yelp product manager Travis Brooks asks the question: How Yelp is able to parse its 100 top restaurants?

It’s a very simple problem to state, but not so clearly defined, and is even harder to actually answer. The problem with this is, all the words in this question are ill-defined.

  • What do we mean by best?
  • What is considered a restaurant?
  • What’s “on Yelp” mean? Who is reviewing the specific business?

These are the sorts of questions and challenges that a product manager faces. How can we take a simple question, problem, or request and approach and solve it the best way possible?

In the talk below, Brooks goes through the methodology of how he and his team approached the problem, pitfalls, and then turns around and looks at it from a product view.

SF Product Manager Meetup: Travis Brooks on the 100 Best Restaurants on Yelp from PubNub on Vimeo.

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