{rr} Culture

Reflections on {rr} Growth: Five Years and Counting

David SelingerMoving day.

This morning, we open the doors to our brand new San Francisco headquarters at 633 Folsom in downtown SOMA, San Francisco. This is an emotional moment for me as I reflect on all of the amazing moments that have accompanied our insane growth over the past 5 years.

Our first office was a small 2-bedroom apartment rented at the Avalon apartments in Hayward, CA—where despite the high local crime rate, we flourished, building out our first production server clusters and developing much of the core software which ultimately led to our seed financing in 2007. Our only brush with neighborhood crime was when my co-founder Mike DeCourcey and I went to the bank to deposit $500,000 from our initial investors. The bank got stood up, but our deposit cleared just fine—thank goodness!

Co-founder Tyler Kohn contemplating whiteboard technology—and yes this is after cleaning up a bit

So we moved.

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Why I came back to RichRelevance

Yesterday marked a sweet homecoming of sorts for me. After six months working at another tech start-up, I returned to RichRelevance, where I had worked previously for 2.5 years. Start-up junkies love where they work for all the usual reasons: the chance to work with insanely brilliant peers and learn from visionary leaders; the ability to quickly accomplish things without being mired in process and bureaucracy; the flexible, fun and quirky work environment.

But while many start-ups possess these core components, only a handful manage to distinguish themselves with that extra something that makes a workplace worth returning to. As cliché as it sounds, company culture is the invisible glue that bonds employees together. But culture extends far beyond a written manifesto that you wish for your employees to aspire to. Never successful as a top down initiative, it springs unprompted and perpetuates rapidly among peers, whether in accordance or not with a company’s desired values.

Now back at RichRelevance, I’m happy to find that the mutual respect, consideration and care that my fellow co-workers naturally share for one another continue to be mainstays of the {rr} culture—something that I experienced back in the early days, when I was employee #36. After my return was announced, I was showered with heartfelt communications; my first day on the job, I was greeted with “welcome back” hugs from friends old and new. I was informed that my favorite frozen yogurt place on Sansome had closed, and provided suggestions for new afternoon treat venues. My laptop, phone and an afternoon of meetings were set up for me so that I could have a productive and satisfying first day. Surrounded by the goofy humor and laughter of my colleagues, everything clicked easily back into place, as if I had never left.

As Day One of RichRelevance 2.0 drew to a close, I couldn’t help feeling a bit Dorothy-like—after she’s tapped her heels three times. There’s simply no place like home.

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