Silicon Valley Health Check

The High Tech industry is known for its continual state of flux and evolution. For years, people have looked to the Silicon Valley as the mecca of all things digital. However, times are changing and technological advancement is no longer limited solely to the Silicon Valley. New startups like Foursquare and Etsy are making names for themselves in New York City while Zappos, a Riviera client, continues to enjoy success in its Las Vegas home.

There seems to be a growing population of people who believe that the days of Silicon Valley being the#1 hotbed of innovation are numbered. We've spoken with some extremely bright people outside of the Valley and have been witnessing great out-of-state companies  change the way we use technology. Everyday, arguments from both sides of the issue are made as to which urban cities will be the next hotspots. However, after much thought and reflection upon my experience within the high-tech field,  I have reached my own conclusion on the given matter: While other cities strive to be the technology hub of the future, Silicon Valley will always retain the crown. Simply put, there is no place like the Valley – the foundational history of all things tech start and end here. As Mikkel Svane, founder and CEO of Zendesk, said, "Access is easier [in the Silicon Valley] money, talent, the right people." The Valley’s days are not numbered and here are the main reasons why:


The Valley ecosystem breeds prime talent pools of people who understand the culture, speed and innovation necessary to create successful products. When Chief Data Officer, Mark Johnson of Groupon, a Riviera client, was looking for mobile developers, he knew to look in the Valley first. "You can find [people with this knowledge] anywhere, but Silicon Valley certainly has a high density population of people with these skills," said Johnson. The Valley has been attracting tech talent for years and companies are trying to tap into this source by any means necessary. As companies grow quickly, the need to expand rapidly is key and with so much competition for top talent, companies are bolstering their lists of amenities to coax key individuals. Companies are shelling out free meals, shuttle rides to and from work, pet-friendly office spaces and much more all in hopes of enticing great people. Working in the Valley allows talented individuals a unique growth track that has not yet been proven replicable in any other area.


There is a common mantra of companies working in the Valley: "Get it right, get it fast." Whether startup or high-tech giant, speed is a crucial component of company success. Successful companies are quick to make decisions, adapt to changes and solve problems - this is especially important for companies trying to differentiate themselves from competitors in saturated markets. The typical Valley company is geared toward speed and has an operating structure where partners and key decision makers are usually close at hand. Today, lunchtime meetings and informal happy hours are effective in accomplishing what video conferencing and short on-site stints struggle to achieve. Since executives aren't necessarily dispersed around the country, team members can quickly come together when collaboration is needed. This level of access encourages quicker execution, offering companies heightened levels of agility and competitiveness within their market space.


From San Jose to San Francisco, companies eat, sleep and breathe technology on a daily basis. Some things simply cannot be gleaned  from only reading about them in tech blogs and magazines. The Valley has  a unique culture which caters to innovation and collaboration. People are willing to do things unconventionally and constantly push the envelope in hopes of creating "the next big thing." Perhaps most importantly, there is also a wealth of financial support available to help fund such ideas. Venture Capitalists understand the potential that startups posses when motivated by such a culture. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers,  40% of VC funding in Q2 2011 came out of the Silicon Valley. It is probably safe to assume that this is one of the most significant reasons why we've historically seen a steady flow of East Coast companies migrating out West. Case in point, look at Dropbox circa 2007-2008. The founders had a great idea, but needed more traction - in the end, they moved their company from Cambridge to San Francisco. After successfully pitching a handful of Valley investors they were able to build upon their vision. Fast forward a few years and today Dropbox is a cloud-storage powerhouse.

One can almost tout that given its history and its very design, the Silicon Valley isn’t going anywhere; it will simply keep evolving as the market changes.

Riviera By The Numbers

his post is about a few of the more interesting going-ons at Riviera Partners. Over the past few months, there has been a lot happening here (new faces, events, client and candidate activities, you name it) and we wanted to share a few numbers with you to give you a better sense of what we've been up to.


What it is: Our current headcount - the Riviera team is 42 people strong and this number is just a temporary measurement as we look to continue our explosive growth.

What it means: People have shown a growing interest in Riviera Partners' services. Over the past few years, we've been witnessing increased demand for our services across the country. Candidates and clients alike appreciate our exhaustive search process, integrated networks and the dedication of our team to their respective searches. Of course, our interest lies in helping as many people as we can, so we have been adding talented people to our team across all lines of our organization to scale up to this demand.

For those of you interested, this number can be broken down into 3 main categories: 12 Retained Search team members, 18 Contingency Search members and 12 folks working in Operations.


What it is: The number of employees we had at this time last year; interesting enough, 24 was the highest employee count Riviera had ever had.

What it means: To date, we’ve nearly doubled in size and we aren't intending to slow down anytime soon. Our company is continually evolving and we are excited about the changes that are taking place. We have big plans for 2012 and are very anxious to see what our numbers will look like at this time next year.


What it is: The total number of interviews our recruiters (Contingency and Retained) have produced for our clients since July.

What it means: We’ve been hard at work trying to get talented people in front of our clients. Even with talent wars waging, there are still a lot of skilled folks in the marketplace - it's our goal to present these people with new opportunities that they might not have ever considered on their own. With 1,050 interviews scheduled in roughly two and a half months, we think we've been doing a pretty decent job thus far. On average, our team has been scheduling about 14 candidate interviews per day! Keep in mind that we have a healthy client list, so we aren’t just bombarding a few select clients with hundreds of interviews.


What it is: Total number of lives that Riviera has changed since July.

What it means: We’ve changed the lives of 89 engineers and executives by aligning them with exciting opportunities where they can learn new skills, work on projects matched to their interests while operating in an environment they enjoy. We've worked with each of these individuals throughout the entire hiring process in hopes of providing them with the best experience possible when heading into their new ventures.

Companies come to us with a specific vision of the type of person they need to achieve next-level growth and Riviera has consistently produced the results they've sought. Not only does this number speak to the dedication of our team, but it is also representative of the multitude of opportunities available in the marketplace. If you or anyone know has thought about a career change, it might be time to really jump in and explore.

Riviera Partners Named #2293 To The Inc. 500|5000 List

We are proud to announce that Riviera Partners, Silicon Valley’s premiere Executive and Technical Search firm, has been named to the Inc. 5000 List for the first time! In our first year of application, Inc. magazine has ranked us as the 2293rd fastest-growing company out of the estimated 7 million private, employee based firms in America. We were also recognized as No. 90 in the San Francisco Metro Area; our friends at Demandforce, Location Labs, oDesk and Tagged were also included in these rankings! As an Inc. 5000 honoree, Riviera Partners shares a prestigious place with some of America's most successful businesses.

Three years ago, Riviera Partners was a team of 13 recruiters working out of a single office. Today, we're practically bursting at the seams! Our multi-office headquarters is nearly full and our team is quickly approaching 50 people! While our company's growth is no doubt exciting, what we find ourselves most proud of is our employees and their dedication to Riviera's company vision. The experience that our team provides is second to none, and our clients and candidates have come to recognize the quality search that we consistently provide.

The 2011 Inc. 500 list measures revenue growth from 2007 through 2010. To qualify, companies had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit and independent, not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies, with at least $2,000,000 in revenues as of December 31, 2010, and have at least $100,000 in net sales in 2007. Our ranking was determined by Inc. based on a three-year trend of positive growth (106 percent) and a 2010-closing revenue exceeding $5.5 million. The recent tech boom has created a huge demand for Riviera’s services in the talent acquisition marketplace and our firm continues to grow to meet our clients' needs.