Hiring Smart – Seattle, February 6

I’m participating in a panel discussion on hiring smart – team building, avoiding (and learning) from mistakes, and having a strategy – hosted by Turnstone Seattle on February 6. RSVP here. There are a crazy number of RSVP’s, which should make this more fun, and the panel is moderated by the extraordinary Rebecca Lovell. I’m on the panel with Kate Matsudaira and Phil Gordon, which means that if I do get a word in edgewise, it better be a thoughtful one. Hope to see you there!

Rooster Park Geeks Give Back

This last week, Rooster Park staff participated in Vittana‘s Geeks Give Back challenge. Vittana is a local organization with a global mission: to help raise people out of poverty by supporting their educational process through microloans. It’s an amazing team and mission, growing fast, with a >99.8% repayment rate from their students.

I’m insanely pleased to announce that we were the third-place team in the challenge, raising $4418 in just one week. (This includes a Rooster Park 100% match of all contributions.) More than a quarter of our team participated, and we helped 24 students worldwide – from systems engineers in Nicaragua to chefs in Bolivia. (See more details at our Vittana Team Page.)

If you’re a FORP (friend of Rooster Park, duh), feel free to help via our team page as well – the challenge is over but the need still stands. Thanks to all of our folks who participated!

Some Rooster Park Updates

The post-Labor Day rush that we’ve seen two years in a row has kept us away from the blog, but we have a few positive updates:

  • We’ve made this year’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies in Washington. It’s our first year of eligibility, and it’s great to be with such esteemed company as our clients RealSelf and SEOmoz, plus some of the region’s other great consulting firms. We’ll have some updates on our final placement and some photos from the event in mid-October.
  • Founder/CEO/guy typing this Scott Ruthfield was named to this year’s Puget Sound’s 40 Under 40. The profile includes photos with (fake) livestock, insight into a potential evening career, and just a few embarrassing items and errors.
  • We’ve moved! We’re now at 901 Thomas Street, right in the heart of South Lake Union, in what used to be the Jones Soda Building. We’ve been there for a week now: we’ve set up an account at the Yellow Dot Cafe, we’re counting the number of previous Amazon colleagues we’re each running into on the sidewalks (I had two on Friday), and we’ll hold some sort of mini-shindig in our 1200sf once we’re no longer working on card tables and sawhorses. Meanwhile, feel free to visit anytime, unless you’re the guy walking Thomas Street spraying Windex on everyone you see.

More soon!

Rooster Park Celebrations!

As usual, Seattle summer started on July 5, and so we’ve had a few events this week to usher in a great summer.

On Wednesday, our staffing team (Mira, Stacy, Caroline, Melissa, Amy, and I) went for a boat ride in Lake Union. As you can see, we had a miserable time.

   

On Thursday, we invited all 45 of our consultants (and a few guests) for a happy hour at the Elysian in Sodo. Not everyone made it – some didn’t want to get on planes, some went to the wrong place, and one consultant’s wife is having a baby any moment now – but the ones who did come had a good time. Also, T-Shirts! Surprise. Didn’t get yours? Let us know. Who knows what they’ll be worth on eBay some day.

     

Thanks, as always, to our awesome team. Here’s to a great summer and an excellent year ahead!

Announcing Rooster Park Office Hours

Job searching (and the decision to think about job searching), both for contract and full-time work, is stressful, even for the most coveted candidates:

Hiring is also tricky, especially for startups without a history – how you target candidates, how you evaluate candidates for engineering and culture fit, etc.

We try to be helpful on an ad-hoc basis – we’ve helped at least two people get the jobs they wanted this year in a completely behind-the-scenes way, and helped another company redo their CTO search, which they’re now doing with another company – but we’d like to do more.

Starting next week (5/23), we’re holding open office hours on Wednesdays. Most of our meetings these days are with candidates and companies in South Lake Union, Downtown, and Pioneer Square, so we’re going to switch between two locations:

This office hours are open to both candidates and companies, completely confidential, and completely free (of money and obligation).

  • Candidates and companies: we’re happy to advise on both your own strategy finding a job, or on how you should find great candidates for your own team – including messaging, job descriptions, etc.
  • Confidentiality: we won’t share anything you tell us with anyone else, including your managers. Obviously if you’re concerned about being in a public place, we can try to meet somewhere else afterwards, but trust me – we meet people all the time in these places, and nobody knows why you’re there. We don’t have horns.
  • Free: no obligation to talk to us ever again, no salesman will visit you, your email address will not end up on a newsletter list forever (we don’t have one anyway), etc. This goes for both clients and companies. If you want to hear about our jobs and services, we’re happy to tell you about them, but we won’t lead or pitch you.

We’re doing this because a healthy hiring ecosystem benefits us: we see a lot of folks who struggle with these things, and if we do a good job, you’ll probably tell people. That’s worked for us before.

The only thing we ask is that if you think you’re going to stop by, please email us at officehours at roosterpark dot com and let us know, so we know to look for you.

We’re looking forward to meeting more people and being as helpful as we can. Hope to see you soon!

Investing in 500 Startups. Boom!

I met Dave McClure at Gnomedex 2007, where we argued over the future prospects for Spock, had sushi at Shiro’s (and saw Juliet from Lost), and otherwise enjoyed ourselves. (That’s also where I learned Dave Schappell knew everybody, and met probably ten other entrepreneurs in Seattle who I still talk with semi-regularly – no single conference has ever had so great an impact on my career.)

Continue reading Investing in 500 Startups. Boom!

Our commitment to investing in startups

Our success is inextricably tied to the success of the technology community, and in particular to the opportunities being created by new startups. While a slim majority of our revenue comes from Fortune 500 companies, those companies invest and acquire startups for talent or technology, are part of a healthy ecosystem, and individuals from those companies occasionally ask our thoughts on the people or potential making up those startups. Much of our revenue does come from small and medium-sized companies, and we’re well aware of their careful need to manage their spend on a weekly and monthly basis. We also spend a fair amount of time either supporting entrepreneurial events or just providing free advice on recruiting (both for employers and employees).

That stuff’s all good, but I wanted us to do something more directly beneficial to the community, so we have a new plan. Starting with 2011’s results, we’ll be investing at least 10% of our net income in technology startups. That is, >=10% of our income that we make in a year will be invested either directly in individual startups (as angel investments) or in angel or venture funds. We’ve already committed the 2011 investment: I’ll write about that in the next few days.

Continue reading Our commitment to investing in startups

Sponsoring another Hacker News Seattle Meetup

We’re sponsoring our third Hacker News Seattle Meetup, tomorrow (Tuesday 12/13) at the Bookr offices in Fremont, a great space with excellent wallpaper and hipster photos. I’ve had fun at the first two, meeting a range of engineers and soon-to-be-engineers, reconnecting with old friends, and continuing to forget to bring business cards.

We’ll have a few folks from Rooster Park there, so please come find us! We’re still growing our consulting team, even in the lazy days of December.

A tale of two restaurants

December 2009: I call Poppy around 11:30am midweek to see if I can stop by to pick up a pile of gift certificates as thank-you gifts. (I do a mix each year – usually Canlis and one other.) Someone answers and says sure, so I park in a bus lane outside and walk in. Earbuds still in, looking at my iPhone, I mumble how many I need, ask what the right amount would be for a couple for two, and walk out with a pile of GC’s, distracted by something or other.

Continue reading A tale of two restaurants

We’re Sponsoring the Hacker News Seattle Meetup

I’ve been a longtime reader and occasional contributor on Hacker News, YCombinator’s news aggregator, which focuses primarily on startup-friendly technical and business-oriented conversations, with occasionally-interesting diversions, and regular broadsides against horrific recruiting practices.  (Here’s my profile, 778 days old as of today.) Most notably, I created a Google Spreadsheet of HN freelancers, which still has some life to it more than a year later.

Continue reading We’re Sponsoring the Hacker News Seattle Meetup