Slava Rubin on How Specialist Job Roles Help Young Companies Grow

In Chapter 15 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "How Are Your Recruiting Priorities Changing as Your Company Grows?" Rubin shares how growing from 15 to 60 employees has shifted hiring needs away from generalist or "athlete" skills sets and toward specialist skill sets. As structure is added to manage organizational growth, job roles and responsibilities also get more structured and specific. Rubin shares why it is important to constantly evaluate these shifts to maintain company culture. 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: How are your recruiting priorities changing as your business grows?

Slava Rubin: We’re constantly meeting to re-org the company as it evolves in terms of the size, and as part of that, when you’re smaller, you want more of an athlete, which is you’re not exactly sure what they’re good at, but they can just be a valuable asset to the company, they can be versatile, and you start getting bigger, you don’t want people who are just athletes, you wanna have them start specializing. So you can almost think of it in basketball terms. Sometimes you just have five great athletes, or sometimes you have like the 7-foot-3 guy as the center and he’s exactly the center, and this other guy is a 3-point shooter and he can’t do anything else, but it’s actually nice to have those really locked down pieces if that’s where you need to focus on, if you have those other athletes. So as you have more specific roles, it’s important to get those specific recruits, but it’s a balancing act as we’re evolving from more athlete-driven to finding some specific focus.

Erik Michielsen: And how do you maintain that culture as you’re shifting from focusing on athletes to more specialists?

Slava Rubin: I think that’s a great question. You need to constantly evaluate on the specific role. Is this somewhere where you can still go with an athlete or is it somebody that’s so precise where their experience needs to be so clear, and their knowledge base subject matter expertise is so unknown that they need to be a specialist? And every position has a different evaluation

One of the specialist positions that we just hired for was actually our head of international. So that was one of those things where it’s hard to be an athlete to just say, “Oh, I think you’re or she is really smart, and I think they can figure it out.” It’s really nice when that person has done international for years and they have gone to those examples and those experiences and be like, “Oh, that’s a problem. That’s gonna be problem. You’re gonna deal with this. I know this is gonna happen.” That’s where being a specialist helps.