A few Fridays ago, the Yelp staffers had a surprise guest drop by the office around lunchtime. Who was this bearded man? A new engineer? The latest addition to the Yelp Elite Squad? Wait a second, it was none other than Baron Davis of the Golden State Warriors dropping by to talk it up with Jeremy S and Nish N about how San Francisco's got game.
Nish N: What's up Baron. You went to UCLA for college. What's San Francisco got that Los Angeles doesn't?
Baron D: I was born and raised in LA too actually, but the Bay Area has really started to feel like home... I like SF's many moods and how different the neighborhoods are; and that this place is like a breeding ground for smart, ambitious, creative people. I learn a lot here, and I love it.
Jeremy S: Have any places in the city that you go when you want to blend in? Is that even possible?
Baron D: When I need to blend in I just take off the beard and no one recognizes me, then I put it back on for games. (pauses) I'm kidding.
Jeremy S: You're a pretty big fan of SOMA. If yelpers wanted to find you, where should they look? Will you buy the first round?
Baron D: Let's see… I'm a regular at Umbria. Best lasagna in the city, staff is incredible, and my boy Julio, the owner, is a cool dude. Ozumo is nice, Jack Falstaff, Boulevard.
Jeremy S: How might a fellow go about getting that signature Baron look?
Baron D: Hmm, I borrow from all styles. I like the choice at Nieman Marcus, Barneys. I like Jack's, shopping in the Haight is always good.
Nish N: Where do you go to find your "inner zen" before a big game?
Baron D: My crib, my bed. I nap for about two hours before every game. Lets me clear my head and hit the court strong. In February, I ate the #5 at Zebulon just about every day before games… they ended up naming it after me.
Jeremy S: If you weren't actually playing in the game, any recommendations on sports bars to catch the Warriors action?
Baron D: I don't know… honestly, I watch most games I'm not playing in from my living room. But if I were going out I'd jump online and see what yelpers recommend!
Jeremy S: Correct answer! If you weren't shooting hoops, what would you be doing?
Baron D: Same thing I'm doing when I'm not on the court. Trying to help kids get educated and stay out of gangs; that and being an entrepreneur.
Nish N: I'm going to say the name of each of your off-court projects. Tell me in a sentence what each of them is.
Baron D: Made in America. My documentary about the Bloods and the Crips, narrated by Forest Whitaker and Directed by Stacey Peralta. Basically, poor kids with no options end up in Gangs with no way out…
TeamPlay. Mentorship and rewards program for middle school kids in Oakland. Trying to show them what's out there other than gangs and drugs.
IBeatYou.com! Competition brings out people's best, so my fellow founders and I started a website that allows people to challenge each other and compete. It's also really funny and entertaining.
Nish N: I think I might try to take you on in the best beard competition, you just dropped to second place, come on now!
Baron D: Bring it!
Jeremy S: Actually, Russ, the other co-founder, was just in Fortune's Silicon Valley Beard-off, so watch out. Back to yelping, we hear you'll be in SF a lot this summer… what restaurants do you want to check out that you don't have time to during the Season?
Baron D: All of 'em man, this city has so many. Maybe y'all can help me prioritize...
Nish N: Ok, but you've got to let us know what you think!
Baron D: Done… my friend and chef Shalese and I have always wanted to be food critics...
Nish N: There you have it, Baron on record promising to *yelp* it up. Ok, final question... where will you be sending my season tickets?
Baron D: Where will you be sending me to dinner? Ha ha. Seriously, get involved in Team Play, supporting kids to get a good education and out of gangs, and we'll get you something... No doubt.