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Something to Yelp About

Jeremy Stoppelman's local-review site is off the business-press radar. That's O.K. He's building credibility, market by market

Don't be fooled by Jeremy Stoppelman's persona. The barely-30 CEO of local-review site Yelp may exude the Web 2.0 ethos, sporting jeans and T-shirts about town, bringing his dog, Darwin, to work, and hosting blowout parties at San Francisco's swank Roe or his own South-of-Market Street loft.

Just beneath the hipster facade, Stoppelman is serious about business. During an hour-long interview, Stoppelman answers almost every question with the "b" word. "We're building a business for the long term here, Sarah!" he says, throwing his arms up in exasperation over the attention doted on companies other than Yelp. He has drafted a Yelp mission statement, incorporating a list of core values. He reads Jim Collins' business classics, Good to Great and Built to Last. He even spent a year at Harvard Business School, though he dropped out to return to Silicon Valley and—you guessed it—build a business.