At MRL I was an Entrepreneur In Residence responsible for looking for ideas to do with ‘local’.

Having researched the space I realized that the Yellow Pages advertising market was worth more than Google’s entire ad market and that it would be of strategic importance. With Alec Matusis I came up with the idea for a service based on user generated reviews of businesses.

Jeremy Stoppelman later joined MRL and I worked with him of on designing a business recommendation site, based on his idea of the principal flow being based on emailing friends (this was later found not to be viral and the site returned to the original focus of user generated reviews of businesses). This product became Yelp and I did the UX for Yelp with Jeremy.

I also worked on the branding, choosing the name Yelp as a contraction of Yellow Pages that alluded to people shouting their opinions.

The entrance to MRL Ventures on Mission St, San Francisco, where we incubated Yelp:

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Jared Kopf working on what was to become

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Russel Simmons, later Yelp CTO, working on Yelp:

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Max Levchin’s desk:

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The first UX flow of Yelp, which I drew up as a single sheet: