Next up in our Day in the Life series is Michael Cesar, er, Sene, based out of our Yelp Headquarters in San Francisco. When he’s not dancing with dogs or kicking it on his Vespa, he’s aspiring towards the bigger picture that is Yelp. Check out his story below!
What did you do before coming to Yelp?
I was an Economics student at the University of California Irvine, which -- among other things -- is known for being the first institution to adopt an Anteater as a mascot, having a business school named after the creator of Hot Pockets, as well as a really good baseball team. In addition, I worked part-time in marketing for a pharmaceutical company and was a sales associate assistant for a residential real-estate firm. I even helped manage my family’s bagel cafe when I would go back home to visit. I had no clear idea what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to work for a company that had a great product and huge potential.
How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
My non-tech savvy friend, Tim, decided to give me his first ever tech recommendation -- and surprisingly, knocked it out of the park. We were trying to decide where to eat and he simply said “Yelp it”. After that, I used Yelp for everything. I yelped a mechanic, a dentist, and even the alterations place that fixed my interview slacks (good karma). I later found out about the job on Yelp’s career page, went through the interview process in February 2010, got Steve’s blessing in April 2010, and started in June 2010.
What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
My official title is now Account Executive, but I started in June 2010 as an Associate Account Executive Trainee.
What comprises a typical day for you?
I love San Francisco. My commute to Yelp HQ consists of a 10 minute drive on my Vespa. I get into the office, grab a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, large mug of coffee, and then get to work. Pounding out phone calls is definitely tedious work. You’ll get a handful of voicemail boxes, receptionists, and hang-ups. However, the rewarding part begins when you connect with a business owner and get to have a conversation about Yelp, their business, and the targeted advertising program. People make buying decisions on Yelp and it’s great selling a product that actually works and allows small businesses to gain additional exposure in related searches in their neighborhood.
What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
Working towards a bigger picture, seeing it progress every day, and being in the middle of it all. Yelp just began the 3rd inning. We’re still cranking along at creating a compelling consumer experience that's essential to local businesses. Everyday, I get to experience the ball being pushed forward. Every new growth milestone gives me a stronger sense of pride. Every new product release gets me excited. Every new business signed up and every new success story that comes along with it reinforces the reason I love working here.
What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
Yelp off-sites: where else can you wear a netted shirt in a corporate office, sing numerous karaoke duets of Toto’s “Africa”, take over San Francisco's Golden Gate park with a DJ and dance floor and see some World Series Giants action? That’s what I thought.
What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
Funnily enough, training. Learning the ropes at Yelp is something that I’ll carry with me throughout my entire career. My training class was a great group to begin the journey with and the education continues long after the 60th day. In fact, there’s a sign near the elevator that says: “I’ve learned more in 2 months at Yelp than I did in my entire 4 years of college”... totally true.
What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
Company Culture. My desk looks like a 10-year old child’s Christmas wish list. I have Nerf guns, bouncy balls, and costumes to satisfy the next six Halloweens. Monday mornings (typically one of the most dreaded times in most work environments) consists of techno music and dancing dogs. The people you work with become some of your best friends and some of the closest people in your life, but most importantly, the integrity of every Yelp employee -- we’re here to connect people to great local businesses and in doing so, the community and consumers always come first.
Finally, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Work hard. The opportunity is here for you to shine and be a part of something HUGE (I mean we just hit 20 million reviews and 53 million visitors in June and we’re only just getting started!) You’ll receive all the necessary training, support, and feedback. You’ll even get the occasional parties, Friday happy hours, and many other great perks thrown in the bag. But working hard combined with the many opportunities at Yelp is the formula to having a successful career. The ball’s in your court.