How did you get into your line of work?
I set up a project to screen the 100 best films of all time throughout Cincinnati, Ohio. Starting in living rooms, it grew to 500 people screenings throughout the city. Yelp spotted this on Twitter and offered me the role of the first Community Manager there. I then moved to my London role in July 2012, just in time for the Olympics.
What do you do day to day?
There really is no typical day. I usually get up early, catch up on new reviews on Yelp and see what’s happening on the city. Then there are meetings with business owners – setting up a festival or event for users to come to. The day then usually ends with an event of my own. Maybe we’re checking out a new ramen place, or seeing a movie, or doing a preview of a bar or going to a steakhouse for dinner. It’s different every single day.
What’s the most rewarding part of the job?
Easily the most rewarding part is showing off London to everyone, especially those who think they’ve seen it all. We go to the best and most unique businesses in London. Sometimes it’s something you’ve never seen, sometimes it’s as simple as the best cocktail bar in the city. Either way, we get to show off amazing independent businesses and have people fall in love with them like I have.
And the most challenging?
The most challenging is to get people to see that Yelp, and independent reviews, are important. Too many people in London are frustrated because they don’t know if a new spot is worth their time or their money, so they end up at their local or favourite spots again and again. I’m trying to show them that checking Yelp and seeing that 50 or 100 people have loved a spot right around the corner from them makes it a no-brainier to go check out that location. There’s nothing wrong with going to your favourite spots, but if you want another option in your life, check Yelp.
How can people get involved with Yelp?
Anyone can join the Yelp community and add your reviews to the site. I work closely with Yelp’s group of ‘Elites’. Elites are Yelp’s power users, and are carefully selected based on the strength, popularity and quality of their reviews and contributions to Yelp. I’ll put together fantastic events across London for Elites, as well as some open to all Yelp users. This could be anything from wine tasting or food festivals to parties in unusual locations, as well as some real money-can’t-buy experiences.