From its early days as a startup through its IPO this year, Eventbrite has been disrupting the online ticket sales market, giving behemoth Ticketmaster and others a run for their money.
It is perhaps best known for creating an affordable ticket sales platform for organizers of small events and venues — everything from chocolate festivals to jobs fairs, marathons to marches and fundraisers to campaign rallies.
The San Francisco-based company was cofounded a dozen years ago by Julia Hartz, along with her husband and board chairman, Kevin Hartz, and Renaud Visage, who was Eventbrite's first chief technology officer.
After years overseeing marketing and management of the company, Hartz took over as CEO from her husband in 2016.
She was named by Fortune in 2013 as one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs, and she eventually became just one of 15 women who founded billion-dollar startups.
In September, Eventbrite (EB) went public, and its market cap is now approaching $2 billion.
The company's reach is global. With 14 offices in 11 countries, it issued more than 200 million tickets to events worldwide last year, and served more than 700,000 event organizers.
CNN asked Hartz in an email interview to share what's made Eventbrite so successful, her best advice for couples who want to go into business together and anyone who wants to follow in her footsteps. She also weighs in on the value of sleep and the importance of hiring people different from you.
A laser focus on your core customer. Our business succeeds when our event creators succeed. And the only way to help our creators succeed is by putting ourselves in their shoes so we can truly understand their unique needs.
Also, having the right team in place is critical. Some of my proudest moments in building this company, which is now more than 1,000 global employees strong across 11 countries, have been bringing on the people who I know will help us pull the future in faster.
By thinking big and focusing on the long-term opportunity. Try and anticipate what the needs of the world will be in five to 10 years, and build for that. Harnessing the power of technology to make it possible for anyone to create a movement, or an event or live experience around any topic, passion, curiosity or cause is what motivated us 12 years ago when we started Eventbrite, and it's so gratifying that this is what continues to drive us today.
Great ideas are born from curiosity and it's that strong desire to go all in and get the most out of experiences that motivates us at Eventbrite. We're not afraid to take risks (smart ones) and learn from our failures.
First, make sure you're aligned on what you want to create. When we started Eventbrite, we didn't just want to build a business together — we wanted to create a company that stood the test of time.
Second, make contingency plans. There should be a plan that allows for both the relationship and the company to not only survive, but thrive.
Last, but definitely not least: Divide and conquer! You should have complementary skills that enable you to cover different parts of the business, which allows for clear areas of ownership and responsibility.
Identify your "superpower" and figure out how to leverage it to build operational muscle. Leading Eventbrite has taught me a lot about how to connect with people to drive results. Energy is my "operating system." I can quickly read the energy in a room and understand where people are coming from, which allows me to adapt and be authentic with them, while also driving the right outcomes for the business. I call empathy my superpower, but it was only after learning to apply discipline to my empathy that it became a strength. I had to learn to stay neutral, versus reacting to everything that was coming my way.
I was fortunate to actually realize this pretty early on, but one of my biggest lessons was to not hire people exactly like me. The chemistry of a leadership team is incredibly important, but that doesn't mean you all need to think and act the same. We've achieved success by leveraging complementary skill sets and diverse opinions.
Without a doubt, my cofounder and husband, Kevin Hartz. He was unflappable in his optimism when we were starting Eventbrite, and that was contagious and influential. It was this inspiration and also our complementary skill sets that got us to this place today.
There were millions of reasons why we shouldn't have succeeded but instead today, our platform powers millions of events for more than 700,000 creators around the globe.
I'm a big believer in the importance of getting enough sleep — especially during the busiest of times. Getting a solid eight hours of sleep a night not only allows me to sustain energy, de-stress faster, and think more clearly, but helps keep me from getting sick. I believe it's the only known and effective true human superpower.
I'm a big fan of Reid Hoffman's "Masters of Scale" because the story narrative is thoughtfully constructed so that each episode is set around a theme that is relevant and ultimately informative. It's not just a fireside chat, but rather it blends the elements of scripted storytelling tactics with real life anecdotes.