Interview with Rick Marini, CEO of BranchOut

Interview with Rick Marini, CEO, BranchOut

CALinnovates sits down with CEO Rick Marini of BranchOut. Before he founded BranchOut, Rick was the founder & CEO of SuperFan, a social entertainment platform that developed social games and Facebook apps.  Before SuperFan, Rick was the Co-Founder and Chief Strategist of Tickle, one of the largest social media sites on the Internet.  

CALinnovates: What’s the first piece of technology you can remember using?

Rick: I still remember playing Space Invaders and Kombat with my Dad on the Atari in 1980. Good times.

CALinnovates: Did you use any type of technology to apply to your first job? How has the process changed?

Rick: My first job out of University of New Hampshire was in 1994 and it was an on-campus interview. The only technology piece was getting a phone call to tell me I

got the job. Now, with services like BranchOut, you can identify all of your connections before a potential employer even sets foot on campus.

CALinnovates: How has innovation in the social media sphere changed your work as a tech entrepreneur?

Rick: BranchOut is an application on the Facebook Platform, so we need to move as quickly as Facebook to keep up with them. Facebook has a motto, “Move Fast and Break Things” and we operate similarly at BranchOut. We have to be extremely efficient and focus on quality as we build our product. We’re constantly trying to keep up with a fast internal speed of innovation but also with the external speed of Facebook.

CALinnovates: What is BranchOut?

Rick: BranchOut is the largest professional networking application on Facebook with more than 25 million registered users and over 400 million professional profiles. We have grown from 400,000 monthly active users in December 2011 to more than 13 million monthly active users in mid-April of this year.  BranchOut allows users in more than 200 countries to leverage their Facebook friend network to find jobs, recruit talent, and strengthen relationships with professional contacts.

CALinnovates: What did you learn about people through that you’ve applied to BranchOut?

Rick: I learned that there are four attributes I look for: people who are intelligent, fun, have a lot of integrity, and are entrepreneurial. Those attributes were displayed by the best people at Tickle and I’ve tried to recruit talent around those qualities at BranchOut.

CALinnovates: How important is spectrum to the success of your mobile platform and what happens if the crunch becomes a reality?

Rick: We’re seeing tremendous growth from our global audience as well as from our mobile users.  BranchOut’s growth in mobile has blown away my expectations. We went from nothing in November 2011 to more than 40 percent of our traffic coming from mobile in roughly 90 days. BranchOut is now tapping into Facebook’s 350 million mobile users. We have about 350,000 mobile users every day on BranchOut. We see huge growth opp in mobile so we keep up to speed on issues around spectrum allocations. But right now we’re heads down on focusing on user experience.

CALinnovates: What’s the craziest thing you ever did in college?

Rick: Senior year trip to Cancun, I went bungee jumping in Mexico. It now seems crazier than I realized at the time since there were pretty much no regulations. Glad I survived! :)