Kicking off the series is Jason F. of the engineering team. A master multi-tasker based in Yelp's San Francisco Headquarters, Jason explains what it's like to have a hand in solving some of Yelp's coolest problems, the 3 Ps and of course, how he manages to juggle whilst riding a unicycle.
His super powers must have something to do with the kegerator.
What did you do before coming to Yelp?
Before Yelp, I was a student at Harvey Mudd College. I graduated Spring of '08 then took about 6 months to drive around the country site-seeing and staying with friends. After 11,000 miles and most major US cities, I moved in with some friends in Menlo Park and started looking for a job.
How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
I originally heard about Yelp from a friend who lives in San Francisco. Something along the lines of "This site is amazing! I use it for everything!" I didn't think too much more of it until browsing job listings and saw one listed from Yelp on Craigslist. I checked it out based on his recommendation and the rest, as they say, is history.
What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
I am a Search and Data Mining Engineer and have been with Yelp for nearly a year (I started November 4th, 2008).
What comprises a typical day for you?
Some days I spend my time digging through analytics data and discussing ideas with the rest of the search team as well as brainstorming new features for Yelp. Other times I will sit down and rip out one of those features. Maybe I'll spend some time making our search infrastructure more bulletproof. Every day holds new and exciting challenges! Oh, and how could I forget... juggling breaks!
What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
The 3 Ps: Product, problems and people. We have a great product with millions of happy users; a *ton* of really cool problems that need to be solved and a great group of people working together to solve them.
What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
Darwin (Jeremy's dog) in the office and the kegerator on every floor of the building.
What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
Releasing Search Suggest to production. It improved the Yelp search experience for millions of people. That was months ago and I still have friends come up to tell me how much they like the feature. Working hard to create a product that is really spiffy and useful at a large scale is an amazing feeling.
Also, swinging upside-down on a flying trapeze during a recent Yelp off-site was a pretty high point! (pun intended)
What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
Most of the job experience I have was from a research-centered environment. While I do enjoy research, there is something fundamentally different about having a large group of people all focused on one goal of giving the users of Yelp the best possible experience they can have. It brings together the team and grants a clarity of vision that I hadn't previously experienced.
Last, but not least, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Build something you're passionate about and know every detail of it from the high-level algorithms down to the bits and bytes. If the thing you happen to build is related to search or data-mining, even better!