Slava Rubin on Creating Scalable Systems to Grow Your Business

In Chapter 10 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Procedures and Processes Are You Putting in Place to Manage Company Growth?" Rubin notes why scale matters when you grow a company. He shares scalable systems his team is creating, from publicity, sales and web analytics to project management effectiveness measures to key performance indicators (KPIs) of company success. Collectively, these processes create a structure that helps Rubin and his team manage company growth. Slava Rubin is CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, the world's largest crowdfunding platform. Indiegogo empowers anyone, anywhere, anytime to raise funds for any idea—creative, cause-related or entrepreneurial. Prior to Indiegogo, Rubin worked as a management consultant. He earned his BSE degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen: What procedures and processes are you putting in place to manage company growth?

Slava Rubin: As you grow a company, and as you try to get bigger, and we now service millions of customers, we’re now distributing millions of dollars, things need to be scalable. You need to not have it as one-off distractions or one-off exceptions. And these need to be scalable systems where the next person can just plug in and do that, and it’s really incredible the challenge of how hard that is to do ‘cause somebody always has that exception, “What about this? What about that?” Sometimes you just need to cut that off for the sake of the process and making it clean, but it’s imperative to create scalable systems.

Procedures and processes have been put in across the board, whether it’s how we analyze the PR, the sales, the analytics, the SEO, the SEM, whatever it is that we’re using as our campaign measures, whether it’s the product team around our [PH] sprints and our product road map, and our velocity of how well things are being implemented, whether it’s our insight team where they’re really helping to develop a lot of the analyses and numbers, whether it’s our KPIs or key performance indicators that we track the [unintelligible] of the entire company, that we review every week, whether it’s our people performance processes like our performance reviews or recruiting on-boarding process, I mean it’s really endless. Obviously, there is a financial rigor, and I’m talking about the quarterly numbers, and the board numbers, and monthly measures, so there’s just a lot of numbers. Those are processes which is just like, “Here are the escalation policies. This is how we treat the customers. Here are the SLAs, service levels agreements, as to how we follow up. Everything always has to be 24 hours that we respond to, how we treat partners, how we deal with refund, no matter what it is, there are things that need to get institutionalized. 

Erik Michielsen: In the last year you’ve grown from 15 to 60 employees, what were some of the steps involved? What were some of the priorities that you set with those processes, as to hit first, second, and third?

Slava Rubin: Customers are always first. For example, I have a 24-hour response time. How do we create product experiences that we can measure, that people like—? Making sure that we invest in our own people would be very important. Making sure that we have a high level of tracking in how well the company is doing with that. We have financial targets and also KPIs. And I don’t wanna make it sound like it was all perfect all the time. The only reason it got better is because we’ve made the mistakes and we saw how bad it was. So because we’ve made the mistakes, we then learned, and we’re like, “Whoa, we gotta improve that,” and we figured out how to improve it.