Making it Personal

on 08 | 12 | 2010

Posted by Michael Morell

I was driving from San Francisco to LA this past weekend.  It’s a long trek and I got to thinking about how much the recruiting business has changed over the years, in particular the rise of social media.  It made me think long and hard about what is it that I really do (or need to do) and what’s really important to being successful within the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

I learned early in my career that two things are of the utmost important to my success:  focus and great relationships.  Over the years, I’ve spoken with many of the Valley’s most respected leaders – CTOs/VPs Engineering, VCs, CEO’s and the like.  I keep hearing the same thing:  stay focused and develop great relationships and that will help build great companies.   After hearing the same thing for about the millionth time, I decided that Riviera could do more.  My partner Ali and I decided we could make things more personal and grow our strengths in our area of focus (engineering) by creating communities of excellence.

We started very simply, by sponsoring a C0deMingle event where we invite the Bay Area’s top engineering talent to meet each other at a local watering hole.  Notwithstanding my 915 friends on Facebook, the 3410 connections on LinkedIn, and the 126 folks that follow me on Twitter, great relationships start face to face.  C0deMingle has a very simple premise – bring together the best and brightest developers to meet interesting people, catch up with people they know, learn about new ideas and generally have a great time.  We invite new people each month, so there’s always a different crowd, making it a great place to create and grow strong relationships.

We also recently hosted our quarterly Riviera Social which brought together 15 Engineering VPs and CTOs from the Valley’s hottest technology companies.  The most recent event gave all of the attendees (3 from the world’s largest social networks) the opportunity to meet their peers for the first time and begin to develop the deep connections that we see as essential to success.

I get asked questions all the time about how services like LinkedIn, Facebook and the multitude of other online services are impacting what I do for a living.  Make no mistake, they play an enormous role in the Valley, both professionally, personally and culturally.  But when it comes to relationships, there’s no substitute for meeting someone face to face.

This is Riviera’s first blog post, and the irony is not lost on me that I’ve spent 507 words talking about the importance of face time.  But we’re not going to get away from our roots, and the philosophy that’s made us successful.  At the same time, social media plays an enormous role in helping to grow and maintain relationships.  I know that I am not the only one that believes in the value of the network. I suspect it will take a future blog post to take on that topic…

Until then, I look forward to your comments on this blog and am always open to suggestions.