One of the biggest challenges young companies face is scaling. More specifically, how to put together a team with the right people; then grow and cultivate that talent as the company expands. If you’re an entrepreneur currently seeking engineers, you know exactly what I’m talking about here!

We color ourselves grateful to have some talented domain experts assisting us in finding the hungriest, smartest problem solvers out there to join our burgeoning company. Specifically, we’re grateful for Elizabeth Patterson, Chief Talent Officer at our lead investment firm, Mohr Davidow Ventures.

With over 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in the Technology, Lifestyle, and Consumer sectors, Miss Elizabeth is a rare breed. Not only is her breadth of experience vast and wide ranging, her passion is infectious.

After bugging her only once, she graciously offered to share some of her insights and expertise on what it really takes to attract top talent in today’s competitive market; and why cultivating community should always be at the heart of everything you do.

Elizabeth PattersonRebekah Iliff: As the Chief Talent Officer at Mohr Davidow Ventures, can you tell us a little about the responsibilities of your role and how you approach your relationship with the various companies in MDV’s portfolio?

Elizabeth Patterson: I lead Mohr Davidow’s strategy for attracting and securing top talent for our portfolio companies. Part of my charter is to help high-performance entrepreneurs hone their leadership effectiveness. One of the programs I am most excited about is our community event series, #MohrDavidowMeets, which is designed to inspire our entrepreneurs and fast-track connections. I feel it is important to always approach these relationships with authenticity and empathy.

RI: Since you you play a critical role in aiding the firm’s portfolio companies in identifying and securing top talent, I’m sure you’ve seen it all. What are 2-3 key takeaways you can share from those companies who have had great success in attracting top talent?



I woke up today thinking about the amount of passion, time and energy that goes into building something you truly care about. The sheer volume of attention, commitment, and care entrepreneurs must demonstrate day in and day out to realize their visions is staggering. And really what it all boils down to, is love.

How fitting given the impending holiday where chocolate, roses, and winged cherubs rein supreme!

Business professionals don’t typically use the word “Love” very much. As Gapingvoid’s Hugh MacLeod astutely asserts:

“It embarrasses the grownups.”

But then, if love isn’t a part of the daily equation, how do we accomplish anything truly meaningful? Love is everything. It’s an emotion underpinned by thoughtfulness, empathy, and selflessness…all stellar qualities for any business to personify.

If Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love and appreciation, we’d like to take this opportunity to shout out 8 brands and business that make us swoon. They inspire us, give us insight, make us think differently, and encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves!

Not only do they care deeply about what they do, they are also ever mindful AND just plain delightful.



Dell 1,5, 10 Big DataLast week, I had the pleasure of spending 14 hours talking, thinking, and theorizing about the future of Big Data at Dell’s 1-5-10 Big Data event at San Francisco’s Clift Hotel. The conversations included thoughts and insights from some of the world’s biggest Big Data experts.

Did I mention Big Data?

Needless to say, I went to bed with Big Data on my mind.

The next morning, after a smooch from my pooch and grabbing a coffee to go, I jumped into an Uber with one Arman, two bags, and three changes of clothes…and headed back to my home in Marin.

Here’s what happened during that drive:

As Arman and I rode through the city toward the Golden Gate Bridge I decided to put my phone away and think about how my morning was being affected by Big Data.



Can you imagine a world without Search?

Take a deep breath. Now think about all the things you search for in a day.

Go on, do it.

Now that you’ve thought about it, without Search…

How would you know where to eat dinner in a new city? Or what your favorite celebrity is planning to name their baby. How would you appear “oh so smart” to a group of strangers talking about some random thing you’ve never heard of (until you clandestinely pull it up on Google)?

In my case, I wouldn’t have the foggiest notion as to when any major holiday falls for the given year, except Christmas or Independence Day because they always fall on the same date.

In addition to using Search as a simple way to manage my holiday calendar, I also use it to gain important insights into the lives and minds of men; as I often find myself (during extremely frustrating relationship moments) entering search queries that may or may not include the following phrases:

  • How do you know if he’s the one?
  • What does it mean when a guy tells you he likes your shoes?
  • What kind of a man listens to Taylor Swift?

Let’s face it, without Search, we would all be a little lost. Figuratively and literally.

Beyond just the functional aspects of Search, it also has the ability to provide us with useful “data” on what people find important for any given topic.

Case in point: Last year, we posted this nifty little write up on the top 2013 Search terms for PR and what it tells us about the PR narrative. After doing a little perusing through 2014 data, Leta and I were pleased – no, giddy – to find some marked shifts. Below is what we dug up, and our takeaways in terms of what these shifts in “PR Search” mean for the industry.


Key Takeaways:

1. NOT ONE “PRESS RELEASE” MENTION in 2014’s list. Yesssssssssss. Perhaps we are finally figuring out that as a storytelling mechanism, press releases just aren’t where it’s at. Let us rejoice.

2. Peeps are still having trouble defining PR. Well, that could be due to the fact that PR keeps owning different parts of the digital marketing puzzle. Maybe it’s not so much what PR is vs. why it’s important or where its value truly lies (e.g. people and relationships).

3. Marketing and advertising mentioned in the same breath as PR. Whaddup convergence? God, I love it when we’re right. #trendspotter

4. There was a nod to the shift of all things digital with #9, however this is also indicates a strong proclivity towards outsourcing. With more tools than ever (#PRTech), it might behoove companies to look inward first before seeking outside help.

5. Next up: Getting PR measurement, PRTech, and PESO to appear on 2015’s list.

Our Conclusion:

If search behavior is any indication of the trajectory of our industry, we are definitely on the right track. But there’s still plenty of room for growth. Let’s be mindful of how far we’ve come, but also continue to push forward when it comes to elevating the entire industry.

It’s only when we all commit to inciting intelligent conversation, creating meaningful content, and sharing the wisdom and expertise acquired that all PR ships rise with the tide.


Sometimes being serious is just so…well…boring. And while it is certainly necessary to wax poetic and pontificate about important things like PR Measurement and the future of this fun lil’ industry of ours, once in awhile it’s even MORE important to get in a good laugh between pitches, memos, strategy meetings, and the laundry list of other things that fall into the “un-fun but necessary to do my job” category.

This week, I would like to bring 3 specific funny-slash-entertaining things to your attention. You may already know about them, and if so, humor me and at least share the blog post. ‘Cuz it’s good stuffs.

#1 – If you haven’t seen this website, go here immediately. It’s either a complete joke or the most brilliant PR move I’ve ever seen. In other words…PR becomes markedly easier if you launch something like this. Read the “Buy Now” section in particular. It is likely to leave you howling.

#2 – With all of the bad PR around police behavior lately, for whatever reason that I still don’t fully understand, the Dover Police Department released this video a few days ago. It’s already gotten over 18M views. Again, not really sure of the exact purpose other than letting criminals know “hey we’re really friendly and probably preoccupied jamming to Taylor Swift so we will care less about petty crime than the average municipality” – but hey, I’m all for it. Sheer brilliance.

#3 – There is perhaps nothing better than parodies about PR girls. This has been circulating for awhile, but worth a watch if you have an extra 2 minutes.

BONUS: If you’re into podcasts, and funny people interviewing other funny people, check out The Nerdist podcast.

Now that we’ve lightened your load for a few, get back to work! And if you have any other “funnies” please pass them our way (@AirPR) so we can work it into the next round.