Riviera’s founders Ali Behnam and Michael Morell spent some time with our friends at First Round Capital and discussed what goes on behind the scenes during an executive search for technical leadership. Together, they discuss a variety of topics that growing startups need to consider when scaling and begin undertaking a search for leaders who can further develop their company. They share a wealth of insight acquired over hundreds of searches and touch upon some of the most difficult questions that startups need to ask themselves in order to land the talent their companies demand. It is an incredibly thoughtful article and is definitely one not to be missed.
(First Round Capital) – What You Want in a VP Eng from the Recruiters Behind Twitter and LinkedIn
Years ago, real estate success story and $1.4 billion company Trulia was in its infancy and on the hunt for a VP of Engineering that would take the site to the next level. It wasn’t going to be easy. The initial team was a close-knit group of hardcore developers led by a pair of seasoned founders, and they weren’t going to let just anyone lead the technology organization.
Less than a mile away, another company was just getting started: a nascent Riviera Partners, founded by tech recruiters Michael Morell and Ali Behnam. Individually, they had a roster of wins, but their company’s engineering-focused model was still new and untested. Trulia bet on them, and after looking at half a dozen candidates, they landed on Daniele Farnedi.
“He had all the right DNA of a great VP of Eng, but he hadn’t been the No. 1 engineering leader anywhere before,” says Morell. “At Trulia, he went from 10 folks in the company to now. He’s still the head of technology six years later, and after going public. It really came down to finding someone who was smart, but also very curious about solving problems, with a high like-ability factor. He had success leading teams in the past, at Trulia he just gave it his own flavor.”