Slava Rubin on How to Translate Confidence into Effective Leadership

In Chapter 3 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Role Does Confidence Play in the Work That You Do?" To Rubin, a confident approach is fundamental to his leadership style. He learns early in life things are unpredictable and finds being decisive yet flexible a combination that helps translate his confidence into team confidence. 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 role does confidence play in the work that you do?

Slava Rubin: I think confidence is really important. It’s very easy to not be confident ‘cause there’s a lot of things that go wrong. And when you have employees, and when you have a team, they really rely on leadership, and a lot of leadership has to do with confidence. Often, one of the most important things you can do when deciding between two things is not pick one or the other, but rather make the decision, ‘cause the lack of decision is a decision in itself, usually associated with lack of confidence and can just create a stumble for the whole entire team. So it’s important to take action and deal with the consequences.

Erik Michielsen: Is that something that you’ve learned over time? Are you getting better at or is that something as a core skill you’ve kind of always had?

Slava Rubin: I think the idea of taking action without regret and dealing with the next step associated with it and constant iterating based on feedback is something quite core to, you know, the way I grew up.

Erik Michielsen: Yeah? Tell me more about that.

Slava Rubin: I would say that it has to do with you can’t always project what the future will look like. You know, my dad died when I was a kid, so you can’t just say, “Oh, this is what’s gonna happen in the future and that’s what I rely on.” You gotta be able to be a bit more nimble. And I think that feedback loops are tightening so much that you can get so much more information so much quicker that you don’t have to rely on having long projected answers or predictions, that you can just, you know, have a step forward, get some feedback, and then pivot or move around. Yeah, the idea of standing in place is a decision in itself, so just by moving in one direction or the other, you constantly get more feedback.