S2E9 Yelp's First Designer, an Interview with Michael Ernst


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Michael Ernst is a multidisciplinary designer and cross-functional manager who works with executive teams to drive customer loyalty in business and convert them to results. He has 20 years of experience as a product designer, creative director, brand designer, and illustrator for various companies in the tech industry.

He started his journey with Yelp in 2004. He became the lead designer and designed Yelp’s overall brand identity. In 2009, Michael led the UX design on a product that grew from an unknown site to 20 million page views and 6 million reviews. In 2012, he rejoined Yelp as a product designer. In addition to his work experience in Yelp, Michael also was the Lead Designer at Soothe, Fountain, and Giftly.

Today, Michael focuses on leadership and management, product strategy, process, and user experience design as the Lead Designer at Daylight.

In this episode, we talked about:

  • What is Yelp’s design process?
  • The Benefits of Yelp elite member
  • Developing a good visual language and framework for Yelp
  • What is Yelp for Business Owners?
  • Michael’s personal story and some of the dark side of the startup lifestyle

Get in touch with Michael

  • Michael's LinkedIn profile:


  • Visit Daylight:


30 episodes