Slava Rubin on How a 5 to 5 Policy Improves CEO Productivity

In Chapter 6 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "As a CEO, How Do You Decide What Time Horizon to Focus on in Your Work?" Rubin shares how growing from 15 to 60 employees has changed his and his co-founders' job responsibilities. He manages his commitments and priorities by using a "5 to 5" policy of working on things that can get answered in 5 minutes or that relate to 5-year company goals. 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: As a CEO, how do you decide what time horizon to focus on in your work?

Slava Rubin: I think that’s a great question ‘cause it’s probably one of the things that I’ve really evolved in my work. When it was just Eric, Danae, and I, as the three founders, we were constantly just be working on everything all the time, collaborating, whether it’s something that need to be done in the next 5 seconds, or whether that needed to be done in the next week, or whether that needed to be done in the next 3 months, we all work to collaborate mainly on it. I think as we’ve slowly grown, and now that we’re harboring around 60, and we’re really looking to establish the foundation to potentially grow and to even be a bigger company when I talk to you next year, I think I’ve learned—Well, I’ve spoken to the team that my new policy is I work on 5 to 5, and they work on everything in between, and what that means is I work on things that need to be answered in the next 5 minutes or things that we’re working on to figure out in the next 5 years, and everything in between is what my management team should be working on with their team to figure out, because if I as CEO is too much involved in the between, it means I’m stepping on their toes and not empowering them to do the work, right? And if I’m forcing them to work on the things on 5 years without knowing what it is for me, then they’re not working towards a vision, and, similarly, sometimes things need to be escalated appropriately in the next 5 minutes. So that’s usually how I’m working on things.

Erik Michielsen: How does that compare and contrast, say with what Danae and Eric are doing?

Slava Rubin: Yeah, so we all have different roles. Eric, you know, built the site and moved over to be head of insights, and then Danae was the heart of the company and now is really focused on thought leadership and people-recruiting culture, so we all have our distinctive roles and it’s working out really well.