Chad Rubin launched Profasee, an Amazon repricer, in 2021. It’s his fourth company, having founded Crucial (a seller of vacuum and coffee filters), Prosper Show (an Amazon conference), and Skubana (an order management platform). He’s hired many employees and learned their primary key to performance.
“Success with employees stems from happiness,” he told me. “When I have a one-on-one employee meeting, I typically start by asking if they’re happy.”
Rubin and I recently spoke. He addressed hiring (and firing) employees, fatherhood, and more. The entire audio of our conversation is embedded below. The transcript is edited for clarity and length.
Eric Bandholz: Tell us who you are.
Chad Rubin: I’ve built three businesses, and I’m on to my fourth, an Amazon re-pricer called Profasee launched in 2021. I sold the biggest one, Skubana, this past April. It’s now rebranded as Extensiv Order Manager. It’s an order, inventory management, and analytics platform for Shopify and Amazon sellers. We synchronized inventory and printed shipping labels. Think of ShipStation on steroids.
I started an Amazon conference called the Prosper Show with three others. We sold it in 2019. Before that, I had a small agency. I still own my first ecommerce business, Crucial, which makes and sells vacuum and coffee filters.
I have a lot going on in the ecommerce world. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. Profasee is my first startup with a child involved. My other companies were done in my 20s and early 30s. So there’s a constant tug of war, requiring rigor and discipline and adhering to blocking off my calendar.
When my son was born, there was an identity shift for me. Covid was happening. We moved to Florida. I started building communities. I wanted to help others transcend, connect, and be curious about each other. I’d have founders and entrepreneurs over to my house.
Eric Bandholz: You have an interesting perspective about hiring.
Rubin: Success with employees stems from happiness. When I have a one-on-one employee meeting, I typically start by asking if they’re happy. I’ll have them rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. Ten being great, 1 being horrible.
When someone rates their happiness a 6, I ask what would get them to a 10. Then, I’ll have them rate their performance from 1 to 10. The two scales are correlated. If folks are not happy, performance will suffer. That opens up the opportunity to discuss the next steps.
Eric Bandholz: What kind of screening process do you have?
Rubin: How do I know I’m making the right decision? I don’t. I’ve made many wrong hiring decisions. At Skubana, I probably fired 100 people, but at the same time, I had some incredible people with us from the beginning to the end.
I’ve always relied on assessment tests at Skubana and now at Profasee. Our tests have evolved and changed over time. At Skubana, I had candidates log into our application and look at our frequently asked questions. We quizzed them and would grade them and have a Slack channel around the grades.
Then I started using TestGorilla for assessments and realized that everybody was acing this test because of ChatGPT. I found a test that was not suited to ChatGPT, built around pattern recognition for recognizing autism. It’s an IQ test. I took some of those patterns and used them to form a creativity assessment that we have people take before they get to the first round of interviews.
I don’t want to be the smartest person in the company. I want to hire the smartest people. I’m looking for high-potential entry-level employees — raw talent and quick learners. I rely on intuition to identify those people in the beginning.
Eric Bandholz: How can listeners support you?