Yet another place that has gone away. I call it a place more than a restaurant because my Mother and Father used to talk about it all the time as a place you didn’t just go to eat, but you went to experience. There used to be more restaurants like that in San Francisco, but many of them have gone aways now.
Omar Khayyam’s was started by Armenian George Mardikian in 1947 in San Francisco [after he opened a restaurant of the same name in Fresno, CA]. While it was billed as an Armenian restaurant it really had a couple of Armenian dishes with Middle eastern and African mixed in after they were adapted for the American palate. When it opened there was a decent sized minority of Armenians in San Francisco, but the food was still pretty foreign to most people even in San Francisco at the time. You have to remember that back then spaghetti was considered ethnic food.
You can see on the menu I was able to find that there really wasn’t much special by today’s standards, but at the time George Mardikian was a restauranteur which for the time meant he wasn’t just a chef, but a showman as well. Mardikian started as a freedom fighter back when Armenia was having problems with the Ottoman Empire in 1903. His surname was that of the warriors being that Mardik meant warrior in Armenian. He work eventually led him to leave Armenia and come to the US around 1922. He went through Ellis Island and started life in the US in New York before moving west and ending up eventually in San Francisco.
He was very influential here and when he opened Omar Khayyam’s downstairs at the corner of O’Farrell and Powell there were pictures of him circulating around that showed him breaking bread with Dwight D. Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt alone with other notables in local politics. As you walked down the stairs upon entering you would be met by the Rubiyat Lounge with it’s velvet tablecloths. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have to clean those if you think about it.
Mr. Mardikian also served as a food consultant to the U.S. Army which if you think about someone who served ethnic food to the public being hired to construct food for our armed forces then it must have been pretty good food. He introduced the public to flatbread, probably a form of pita that would last longer than your average loaf and still be tasty so I could see why he was asked for advice.
From the day it opened until it eventually burned down in the 80’s Omar Khayyam’s was a well known restaurant. It was the type of place that it didn’t matter if you could pay the bill, you still had to put a suit on to eat there. While I won’t get into that argument here there was a time when having to get dressed up for dinner was a part of the whole ritual of going out to eat.
My wife tipped me off to an article after I read a newspaper article about how tech savvy businesses are asking people their Klout scores in job interviews. I have been asked my Klout score on at least two interviews and I believe their influence in social media is unfair as well as unjust and I’m going to get into that area now.
I heard about Klout [which wordpress keeps automatically changing to clout so it isn’t as influential as it may want you to think it is] through some of my friends on twitter, so I jumped off the bridge because they did and joined up with said website.I started out with a score in the high 40’s which slowly moved up to 67. I thought it was pretty good at the time and then they changed their algorithm and I dropped down to 50 overnight. As a matter of fact, I noticed that everyone I saw on Klout that I had influence with dropped overnight. This was kind of like devaluing the dollar and then having banks tell you that the $10,000 you had in savings is now only $5,000. The company is acting recklessly yet companies who value social media take it seriously.
I have clout. When I walked into a Mayoral debate, several of the candidates for mayor knew me on site and walked up and shook my hand. Some didn’t because I had spoken ill of them and had even had their campaign coordinators call me to speak with me. There are many restaurants and businesses in San Francisco that when I walk into them the owners know me by name and welcome me. Some even ask my opinion on new dishes they are thinking of selling. I’ve got clout. My Klout score on the the other hand speaks differently.
Klout says it takes it’s information from many different social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, etc. Recently it’s said that it’s new algorithm uses only the four previously mentioned sites, but I disagree. I have many posts on Facebook, LinkedIn and FourSquare, but have recently declined in my twitter posts to maybe once or twice a day and noticed my Klout score decreased daily until one day I posted four tweets and it suddenly jumped up a point. Some of my fellow twits decided to do a test one day and we started a conversation on twitter about Klout going back and forth and the next day I had jumped up 5 points.
Klout is highly weighted towards twitter usage. That has become obvious and I defy them to prove otherwise. This website has reached out to hundreds of thousands of people around the world. I am known, yet there are people data farmed on Klout who are shown to have influence on topics that A: They know nothing about and B: are not on Klout. When I joined it took me over a month before Klout showed that I have influence on several topics. The topic that I have the most Klout on according to the website is Smartphones. The least amount of Klout I have is on San Francisco. While I love my iPhone I regularly write about San Francisco so I think it should be the other way around. They aren’t taking this blog into account. I am one of the few born and raised San Franciscans who writes about San Francisco. I would think Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project should have more Klout on San Francisco than me, but his score is only 21 and his topic of influence is Geneva. I don’t know if that’s the street or the city in Switzerland, but something is not right here.
Klout is currently in beta so nobody should be taking it too seriously, so it seems strange to me that there are companies looking for people with social media skills that ARE taking Klout seriously. If people are going to use Klout they should seriously consider it’s value with a large Siberian salt mine at the moment.