Slava Rubin on Recruiting Smarter to Hire and Retain Top Talent

In Chapter 12 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Problems Are You Trying to Solve to Grow Your Business?" Rubin notes how product market fit is no longer a problem - the market has been established and the product has been validated. As his company has grown from 15 to 60 employees, Rubin faces new challenges with talent acquisition and employee retention. From honing strategic hiring practices to improving the Indiegogo talent development cycle, Rubin and his team work to put the processes in place to hire, motivate and retain top talent. 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 problems are you trying to solve to grow your business?

Slava Rubin: I think that earlier, when we’ve met, probably one of the first times that we met, one of the first things to solve was product market fit, so creating the product, identifying the market, and figuring out how those two things connected. And because we’ve had a lot of usage of Indiegogo, we’re now distributing millions of dollars every week, I think it’s fair to say that that has been solved. That doesn’t mean we can’t improve, it’s just it’s something that has been replicatable, and scalable, and something that’s there. I think that probably the biggest challenge these days, especially as we’re trying to grow a large company that makes an impact on the world where we allow anybody to fund what matters to them, that’s totally global, is really about people. So the biggest challenge is on acquisition and retention of people. Like I’ve mentioned we went from 15 to 60 people in the last year. Some of those hires were perfect. Some of those hires may have not been perfect. It’s really around what are the programs you could put in place to retain these people. How do you learn from them? How do you give them the right performance reviews? How do you give them the right metrics, the right mentorship? In acquiring, how do you set up the right brand? How do you filter? How do you make decisions? How do you do the interview process? If you hire the right people, you don’t have to manage as much or worry as much because they will figure it out, so it’s really around finding the right people.

Erik Michielsen: Now you’ve worked in management consulting before starting an internet startup, Indiegogo. How is that talent development cycle different in where you’re now, you know, and how is that talent development cycle different in your work now than what you did before?

Slava Rubin: I’ve actually learned a lot from when I was a consultant, especially on recruiting strategies, how you identify that people are smart, how to identify if they are the team players, so I think I learned a lot from being a consultant. In terms of the retention programs and performance reviews, I also learned a lot there that I look to apply in my company, which is what kind of questions to work towards in terms of performance reviews, how often to do it, or what it would mean. It was more structured back in the days ‘cause those companies were more established, our company is very young and nimble, and we’re trying to literally just put those processes in place, so we only strive to have the same sort of people programs, but I definitely learned a lot.

Erik Michielsen: Is there a generational element that comes into play when you think about managing talent in what you do?

Slava Rubin: From my viewpoint, there is no difference based on age. I mean people just wanna work at a great company. They wanna have an impact. They wanna feel like they’re empowered to have decisions. They wanna know what their role is. So that hasn’t been different. So I haven’t really noticed any specific generational difference.