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December 21, 2011

Day in the Life of a Yelp Product Manager

Just because 2011 is coming to a close doesn’t mean we’re not still hiring -- in fact, anything but! Next up in our “Day in the Life” series is Cliff Curry, Yelp Product Manager by day and, well, we’re not sure what he gets up to at night, but that’s OK. Cliff talks about what brought him to Yelp, what his day-to-day work is like and what he cranks on with his colleagues during our quarterly Hackathons! Read his story below and if you like what you see, don’t be shy, check out some of our many job openings via our Careers Page!

What did you do before coming to Yelp?
My past experience includes work as a designer/developer at MySpace in Los Angeles, where I crafted interfaces for Celebrity, Fashion and Comedy content channels. Over the nearly three years I was there I also built over a hundred advertiser integrations and takeovers with partners like Toyota, Coke and Warner Bros. Following MySpace I did a brief stint at Break Media where I redesigned three of their eight editorial websites before moving to the Bay Area to come to Yelp!

How did you first hear about Yelp and the job opening?
As a bit of a foodie I had been relying on Yelp to find great restaurants in LA for quite some time. As a designer, I had seen Yelp event art and s[ch]wag on design blogs and appreciated the company’s bold, colorful, irreverent aesthetic. As a tech-enthusiast I knew that I wanted to eventually work in the Bay Area and had started asking around my network. A recruiter connected the dots and got my resume in front of the yelpers I now call coworkers.

What's your title at Yelp and how long have you been with the company?
I have been at Yelp a little over 6 months. Job title: Product Manager

What comprises a typical day for you?
Because my projects are quite varied and include national business products, brand advertiser products, some marketing initiatives and basic site enhancements (that's the nice way of saying bugs), no day is ever the same. I start the day responding to a lot of requests from various teams and prioritize the most important actions I can take for my projects that day. The mornings always contain a stand-up meeting that allows me to sync-up with the engineers working on my projects. I keep my afternoons focused on testing products currently in the pipeline and designing specs and researching forthcoming projects.

What's the BEST part of working for Yelp?
Working with passionate coworkers on a product that is used by millions of loyal users is nothing short of fantastic.

What is your favorite perk at Yelp?
Honest Tea. (I'm guessing the fridge on my floor needs restocking right now).
And Darwin.

What has been your favorite memory at Yelp?
During our most recent quarterly Hackathon, where anyone at Yelp can work on anything they’re interested in pursuing, my team chose to display Yelp review activity in a novel way. I designed a visualization of the review activity coming out of our European sites. Four engineers (and two interns) worked into the night to bring it to life. I was thrilled by the team's dedication to the project and attention to detail. By the compliments we received, other folks were impressed as well. We're making some tweaks and will be putting it in the SF lobby soon -- so if you’re coming in for an interview, don’t forget to check it out!

What separates Yelp from other places you've worked?
When in LA, I worked mostly on sites that were more entertaining than useful. Yelp provides me the opportunity to work on an actual tool that helps connect people to fantastic businesses and, in turn, helps those businesses grow.

Finally, what would be your one piece of advice for someone interested in your role?
Read Tufte: Powerpoint is not a design tool.