Over the past few years, crowdfunding has changed the ways both amateurs and professionals approach their passion projects. From art and cinema to prototyped tech products, there’s no limit to range of projects that have found life on sites like Indiegogo.
Slava Rubin co-founded Indiegogo in 2008, making it one of the first sites to pioneer the idea of online crowdfunding. They launched at Sundance Film Festival with an original emphasis on fundraising independent films — even I tried to fund a film on Indiegogo years ago when I was in school — but the site has since grown to host projects from all walks of life. Of course, some campaigns spark controversy and you should always read the fine print before contributing. Nonetheless, there’s no denying the explosion of innovation that crowdfunding sites have allowed for.
We caught up with Slava to learn about how he manages his own project — running a burgeoning internet startup.
Location: I travel heaps, but spend most of my time between San Francisco and New York where our main offices are.
Current Gig: CEO & Co-Founder of Indiegogo
One word that best describes how you work: Passionate
Current mobile device: I use my Samsung Galaxy S5 for almost everything. I just bought my mum the same phone so I could be her customer support.
Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon. I rarely use a computer except for early in the morning or late at night for documents or spreadsheets. Sometimes I’ll use it for watching sports that aren’t on TV.
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
- 7 Minute Workout
- Arcus Weather
- Samsung Health App – I love to track my heart rate and walking steps.
- WhatsApp – for sharing photos with my nieces and nephews and communicating for work while I’m travelling.
- New York Times App – for news and current events
- Routehappy – I travel so much that it’s really important I’m optimising for comfort, reliability, airline, and most importantly, inflight wifi.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I don’t have a permanent office or desk. I don’t even bring my computer to work and just use my phone for email during the day. I like to walk around and engage with people — customers, partners, coworkers — so I will sometimes take meetings outside or chat over a game of ping pong.
Slava on his monthly CNBC Squawk Alley appearance.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
I try to stay super fast moving. I email fast, talk fast, and make fast decisions whenever possible. I also like to gamify parts of my life to keep things fun and spontaneous. For example, I'll be watching Monday Night Football and only let myself look at emails during commercial breaks. I try to improve my efficiency each time and keep beating my records. Or sometimes if I'm on the treadmill watching basketball, I'll run when the players are running. If there's a time out or a commercial break, I'll walk.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
I like to send emails to myself and put reminders in my calendar. My awesome executive assistant is also great for helping prevent things from slipping, although she jokes that I hired her not to make my life easier, but so I could do twice as much, which is probably true.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
You might think as the CEO of a company known for launching the latest technology innovations I'd be more into gadgets, but honestly if it's not on my phone, I probably don't use it. I do love my electric toothbrush though; I'm a big fan of oral hygiene.
Slava on Bloomberg TV's Taking Stock, hosted by Pimm Fox, with campaigners Andrew Thomas of SkyBell and Mass Fidelity's Neil D'Souza.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
I don't think I'm better than everyone at anything, but I am really good at connecting people with the people that are.
What do you listen to while you work?
I prefer silence when I'm working. I'm the guy who didn't have a Walkman, a Discman, or an iPod. I still don't own a single song on iTunes.
What are you currently reading?
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Growing up I was definitely an extrovert. I'm still probably an extrovert, but given how much I interact with people everyday I have definitely learned to get in touch with my introverted side now and then.
What's your sleep routine like?
I never go to sleep before midnight, but once I decide to go to bed I usually fall asleep within milliseconds. I tend to keep West Coast hours and try to sleep about 6-7 hours every night.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Jeff Bezos. I think he's super creative and productive, juggling lots of things.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
My high school physics teacher used to say that the people who make it look the easiest are usually people who work the hardest.
I also learned from my dad at a young age that you need to be disciplined to achieve great things.
Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
I tend to wear the same socks most days of my life (different pairs, of course). It's rare you'll find me without a pair of "Cancer Sucks" socks on from Music Against Myeloma.
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.