Yelp, the local-reviews site, is as infamous in San Francisco as it is nonfamous anywhere else in the country. Its parties, always hedonistic rampages of drunken conversations, burlesque troops, and makeout sessions in the photobooth, helped establish its local reputation and cement the loyalty of hardcore users. (Even the founders get in on the action!) Last night, Yelp held its holiday party at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Upon entering, I was greeted by a mass of San Francisco Yelptards, each louder than the next, all laughing, cajoling, flirting, and hugging each other. Self-congratulations were clearly in order.
The insular crowd, however, all but ensured I'd meet up with Ghosts of Valleywag Past. No, not a spectral Nick Douglas or a scary Nick Denton — but other people I've read about, or written about. That vaguely familiar girl chatting with Jeremy Stoppelman? Oh! It's his ex-girlfriend Liza, reportedly the center of love triangle involving Valley good-time-guy Sean Parker. There's Steve Chen, the YouTube founder, with spiky hair and glasses, holding hands with his girlfriend while bidding Stoppelman adieu. Over there, by the bar, is Ooma CEO Andrew Frame, wearing a form-fitting leather jacket and sporting bangs. Bangs? Really? And Keith Rabois, the ex-PayPaler now at Slide, with the controversial Stanford history.
Then I met Snocap founder Jordan Mendelson, whose appearance with a bevy of beauties at last year's Yelp party lead us to crown him the Valley's newest bad boy. Boy did we peg him wrong. My first thought, after taking in his supreme untallness, was that he seemed like such a nice guy. And so unassuming. The expression of smug self-satisfaction in last year's pictures was missing. As was, apparently, his job.
I asked about Snocap, the troubled music startup he founded with Shawn Fanning, whom he worked with at Napster. Mendelson confirmed our rumor that he had left for another project. So, was he going to indulge his Valleywag-created persona and party hearty all night? Sadly, no. Mendelson begged off early during the afterparty at Mr. Smith's, in order to prepare for a venture meeting today. The bad boys are growing up — or at least learning when they need to put on appearances.