Tuesdays with T4A: Rick Marini (10/22/13)

Home » Tuesdays with T4A » Tuesdays with T4A: Rick Marini (10/22/13)

When we were thinking about what our new organization would look like, back in January, Rick was one of the first people we sat down with, and we couldn’t be more grateful for his guidance back then as well as his continued engagement. In his interview, he shared his thoughts on the top five traits that make a successful entrepreneur: intelligence, integrity, resilience, entrepreneurism, and risk-taking. He brings all of those to the Table.

Rick Marini
Founder & CEO | BranchOut
Rick is the Founder and CEO of BranchOut, the largest professional network leveraging the Facebook social graph. BranchOut has over 800 million searchable professional profiles for job seekers, recruiters and sales professionals. Prior to founding BranchOut, Rick was the Founder & CEO of SuperFan, a profitable social entertainment site. Before that, he was the co-founder, CFO & Chief Strategist for Tickle.com, which was one of the largest social media sites with 200 million registered users. Rick is an active angel investor & advisor to 25 start-ups. He lives in San Francisco, California.

Where did you grow up?
Merrimack, NH.
What was your first job?
At age 14, I was a bagging groceries at the local supermarket.  I’m a bit OCD, so bagging became a game for me… like playing Tetris w/ different shaped groceries.
What is your first political memory?
The attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in 1981. I remember coming home from school to watch cartoons and every station was covering the shooting. Even at 8 years old, I understood this event would have a major effect on the entire country..
What is your favorite book?
I love Star Wars so I’ll go with The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell.
You grew up on the East Coast (your team is in the Series this year!), but made the move out west. Is there something special about Silicon Valley that can't be replicated elsewhere? If yes, what is it? If no, what needs to be done to recreate the magic in, say, Boston?

I grew up an hour north of Boston and those are my roots. My dog is even named Fenway… but I have proudly called San Francisco my home since 2000. There is no place like Silicon Valley – the energy, the intelligence, the idea sharing, the risk taking, the access to capital and vision to change the world. It’s the place for me.

You've been a successful entrepreneur for many years. What are the top five most important traits a person needs to have to thrive here?
Intelligence, integrity, resilience, entrepreneurism, risk-taking.
Who is your role model and why?
Leonardo da Vinci was incredible. The dude was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. And good at ALL of them.
As you look at your community, city/state/country, how do you view your role/responsibility as a citizen? Within that context, how do you view your role as citizen in relation to our Government and Democracy?
Every citizen of the United States should have a voice… but some voices are louder than others. When you have the ability to shout louder (via status, power, wealth), you also have a higher level of responsibility to use that platform for good – for today and for the future. It’s also our right, privilege and responsibility as citizens to make informed decisions about who we send… and keep in elected roles.
Just about everyone (regardless of political affiliation) sees a large gap between our politics (Washington, DC as well as state capitals) and the reality on the issues we face as a Country. Why do you think that is? I know it's a tough question, but what do you think can be done to close that gap?

My politics average out near the center (fiscally conservative and socially liberal). I’m a big believer in individual responsibility (NH’s motto is “Live free or die”) but we also need strong leaders representing the collective needs of the community and country. I think government can effectively operate in the middle – provide ample freedoms (economic and social) while having a strong infrastructure. The extreme political positions are where I feel we become unproductive as a country. After all, we are all in this together.

Are political parties becoming less relevant today, particularly for young adults? Whatever your answer, why do you think that is?
I feel that the extreme fringes are hurting both parties but probably more so on the Republican side right now. A lot of people I talk to are closer to the middle. They don’t see everything as left vs right. The United States was formed based on the rights of freedom and individuality. Given that, we should be able to identify with ideas on both the Democrat side and Republican sides. There are smart, passionate and thoughtful people on both sides. There are good ideas on both sides. I don’t expect that a newly minted 3rd party will emerge but I do expect that the next generation will appreciate candidates that don’t have to identify with the full agenda of either side. I don’t vote based on political party – I vote for the candidate that best represents my way of thinking. I expect the younger generation will do the same. At least, I hope so.
What is your favorite journey?
In 2007, I took the entire year off and traveled the world. I visited 6 of 7 continents and had a blast. Some of my favorite destinations included Rio, Sydney, Cape Town, Munich, Paris, London, Bali, Koh Samui and the Amalfi Coast.
If you could be anyone else for a day, who would you be?
A day in the life of President Obama would be amazing on several levels.
What is your proudest moment?
The day that we sold my first company, Tickle.com, to Monster, I called my Dad and told him that I’d like to buy him a new house. The next day, he walked into his job of 20+ years, gave notice and started packing. He picked out his dream house in Florida and retired early. After everything he did for me, he deserved it!
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