How to keep calm and carry on with Indiegogo’s Slava Rubin
A few tips on T-shirt marketing, close calls, and in-flight productivity from Slava Rubin, CEO of crowdfunding platform Indiegogo:
Indiegogo has its headquarters in San Francisco, but marketing and other functions are in New York, so I’m typically going back and forth almost every week. I probably did 150,000 to 200,000 miles last year.
I think it’s really important to pick good flights. Seat Guru is amazing: It shows every seat on every flight — does it recline? Is it partially obstructed? And Routehappy has Yelp-style scores for flights.
When I fly, I always wear an Indiegogo T-shirt. I am totally known in my office for this. I do it because it’s a comfortable shirt, but also because when you’re traveling, you’re obviously passing by a lot of people. So there’s a little bit of subliminal advertising going on without me having to spend too much money on my marketing budget.
I don’t tell people I’m the company’s co-founder. I say I work there. Then, if they ask, I say I work on the business side, and then if they ask further, I say I’m the CEO. I’m definitely not in the camp of, “I’m CEO, bitch.”
I just like flying. It’s an awesome sensation. I studied for a pilot’s license for a little while, though I never finished it.
I like to say that God made the world for the rest of us but left Nepal for himself. It’s the most beautiful place.
I don’t think I’ve checked a bag in 14 years. It’s really important to have a smart carry-on. And I always pack light and dress in layers. Instead of having to be prepared for eight different weathers with eight different outfits, you can prepare for eight different weathers with three or four items of clothing.
I was in the air during 9/11. I flew from AVP [Wilkes-Barre/Scranton] to ORD [Chicago]. I flew out early, and it was a small plane. We land and I pull out my cellphone — I’m a single guy, so no one is calling me but my mom — and everyone’s phone is blowing up. I had seven messages, like one from my cousin saying, “I hope you’re okay.” And I’ll never forget this: The pilot comes out and tells us, “As you probably have already determined, America is under terrorist attack.”
If I have free time or it’s a new area, I might throw out something on Facebook or do a little Internet searching to check for places to eat . Once I’m local, I might throw out a quick tweet and see how people respond.
I had a flight where an engine caught on fire. I don’t want to say which airline it was. But we turned right back around. They turned off the engine. We landed, and the company had been trying to be all cool — “We’re having a minor engine issue, we’ll land, no big deal.” Next thing you know, I’m watching CNN in the airport, and they say, “X company’s flight just had an emergency landing.”
I love the new rule that you can keep your phone on. You can keep doing work. If you have delays, we’re talking about an extra hour and a half of productivity. Boom.
This story is from the April 28, 2014 issue of Fortune.