Yelp Early Days with Michael Stoppelman

Yelp.com is a crowdsourced review platform focused on restaurants and local businesses. Originally created as an email-based recommendation service, Yelp re-launched in its modern form in 2005. At the time, its focus on user-created reviews and social interactions was fairly novel, and made it stand out from competitors such as Angie’s List and CitySearch. Since then, Yelp has become a worldwide brand, and as of 2021 it has over 171 million reviews on its site.

The mid- to-late 2000s represented a time of explosive growth and profound change in the web application space. Industry leaders like Yelp had to adapt their technology stacks for the unprecedented scaling they were experiencing. At the same time, the rise of smartphones led Yelp and many others into the mobile application space. 

Michael Stoppelman was an engineer at Yelp during this turbulent time. He left Yelp in 2015, and now works as an angel investor. He joins the show today to talk about the engineering challenges Yelp’s team faced during this time, the profound changes that the industry as a whole went through, and how the history of Yelp can help us contextualize the startup landscape today.

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Transcript

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