What Makes a Good Business Partner - Slava Rubin

In Chapter 6 of 12 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, IndieGoGo co-founder and entrepreneur Slava Rubin answers "What Makes a Good Business Partner?" Rubin notes balance is fundamental, as is positive conflict. The conflict helps create balanced perspectives. Early on, shared vision, effective communication, and execution are key. As the team grows and begins hiring, or "company building", it becomes increasingly important trust exists between partners and their respective roles and responsibilities. Rubin is co-founder and CEO of IndieGoGo.com, a crowdfunding startup whose platform helps individuals and groups finance their passions. Before IndieGoGo, Rubin worked in management consulting for Diamond Consulting, now a PWC company. Rubin founded and manages non-profit Music Against Myeloma to raise funds and awareness to fight cancer. He earned a BBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen:  What makes a good business partner?

Slava Rubin:  I think that there has to be balance between the partners as to who is bringing what to the table.  You can’t really have, in my opinion, all of the same, and you don’t wanna ‘yes’ each other.  You need to have some positive conflicts so you can have discussions where you can balance perspectives.  I think a good partner in the early days will just rock out and nail execution on whatever they’re supposed to be doing. Our team is our most valuable part, and everybody just really focuses on their part.  

Trust is so important when you know that somebody else is handling a whole separate part of the business.  It’s really important that you can just turn your head, walk away, and then focus on your part, because if you’re concerned, distracted, or not really thinking it’s gonna come through, you won’t be as productive as you can be in your area. In the long run they’ll be able to just be your partner in scaling the business and in company-building, meaning just hiring folks.  But I think in the early days, it’s just a shared vision.  You have to be friendly and you have to be able to execute what you bring to the table.