I’m reporting live from the Society for Human Resource Management‘s annual conference, where I was able to sit down with Rick Marini, founder and CEO of BranchOut. An edited, condensed version of our conversation follows.
Describe your leadership philosophy.
Culture is a big deal for me. I’m looking for people who are intelligent and fun and who have integrity. I like people who are entrepreneurial. These are four traits I try to aspire to myself.
I don’t micromanage people. My job is to attract and retain world-class talent, take hurdles out of their way and let them run as fast as they can.
Everyone here is an equity holder. You don’t work for me; we work for each other.
BranchOut is your third company. What’s your favorite advice for those thinking of going into business for themselves?
Being an entrepreneur is like a roller coaster. You want to be sure you understand what you’re getting into. You have to be extremely patient, and you need a stomach of steel. You have to be flexible — personally and financially.
The other thing is to keep a collaborative mindset. It’s OK to talk about what you’re working on. Ideas are cheap; execution is hard.
How does the experience with launching BranchOut compare with your first company?
It was a lot easier doing this the second and third time. You can leverage your experiences and contacts. You walk into those [venture capital] meetings with a sense of confidence. The success of Tickle gets me in doors.
Whose work do you admire?
Steve Jobs — his design sense is the best in the world.
Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook has made very few mistakes. Mark has continued to run the show, while surrounding himself with amazing people.