Slava Rubin on How Core Values Help Create Company Culture

In Chapter 13 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Steps Are You Taking to Maintain a Strong Company Culture in a Growing Business?" Rubin shares why culture is important from the moment you start a company and how establishing core company values helped him and his co-founders craft a culture at Indiegogo. Referencing his 2013 SXSW talk "10 Myths of Entrepreneurship", Rubin notes how many entrepreneurs overlook culture when starting a business and why this is not a good idea. 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 steps are you taking to maintain a strong company culture in a growing business?

Slava Rubin: Culture is really important. As a matter of fact, I just gave a talk at South by Southwest where I gave the 10 myths of entrepreneurship, and one of them was that it’s okay to start thinking about culture later in the process, don’t think about culture to start. And I think we got very lucky or we were very smart that the two co-founders and I, Danae, Eric, and myself, thought about culture from the very beginning. Maybe not on day one, but when we were doing recruiting and making decisions we started arguing with our opinions. I’m like, “No, no, no. That’s not how we’re deciding. We’re deciding like this.” And we really need to ground where was the decision coming from. So what we did was we stepped back and we thought, “What are the values—?” Well, we’re sitting on top of which will help make these decisions, whether it’s recruiting, how we treat our customer, who we partner with, and how we move forward with initiatives. And we’ve come with a “face”, which is fearlessness, authenticity, collaboration, and empowerment. So building on top of these four values, we’re able to permeate all these other things. And it’s not something where you can just say once in training, on day one, and then they will just embody “face”. We have our quarterly all hands meeting where we pull together everybody and do a 2-day investment, every quarter, into our own company, and, you know, aligning ourselves around the vision, collaborating, and celebrating our own successes. We also make sure to have weekly meetings to talk about things and other ways to just permeate it throughout the company on a regular consistent basis, so I think culture is huge.