Archive for December, 2010

The Wiz | How Kevin Hartz Builds Success

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Interview with Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite CEO & Co-Founder

Contributing Writer: Rashon A. Massey

As another year comes to an end, most of us will find a moment of personal time to rewind the 2010 VHS and reflect on the past 365 days; however, if you’re circulating within the same innovative operating space as Kevin Hartz, Co-Founder & CEO of Eventbrite, the time for reflecting has past, and you’re already working towards the new beginnings of tomorrow.

Kevin Hartz, CEO & Co-Founder of Eventbrite

The timeliness of success is a pulse Kevin has become all too familiar with.  An Oxford and Stanford graduate, Hartz began his career as a product manager before collaborating on the business start-up, ConnectGroup.  He Co-Founded Xoom Corporation and remains active on the Board of Directors, and today, Kevin still finds time to be an early stage investor and advisor for budding projects, with notable backings behind Friendster, PayPal, Lookout, iControl, TripIt and several others.

In an age where Ticketmasterzilla and Live Nation reign as industry chiefs of ticketing and promotion, Hartz decided to break ground with Eventbrite in 2006.   As a brand and service with a core ‘mission to make events as easy to create, find and attend as possible’, Eventbrite seized an opportunity to provide a solution that would combine the viral power of social networking with event management.  A democratized ticketing service free for use by events with no-cost admission, early adopters of Eventbrite were DJs and clubs, music-based gatherings attended by the Facebook generation.

“The journey has been hard work.  We’ve had to stay humble, keeping our heads down and learning,” expressed Hartz during a morning Skype chat.  After launching without any capitol, the team found themselves raising $100 million for the company and sacrificing earnings during the first couple years.

“We always wanted to make a simple solution that our parents could use,” shared Hartz.  “Today, people are using us for ticketing solutions to everything from marathons and live music to poetry.  I am seeing events from car rallies to learning how to pickle vegetables.”  For functions with paid admission, the company has a team ready to assist with organizational details including registration and selling tickets, while the hosting party maintains control of the promotion and overall execution of their event; moreover, even in these areas, Eventbrite has and continues to produce useful tools to aid in event marketing needs.

Eventbrite Co-Founders Kevin and Julia Hartz

“This year we reached $200 million in tickets and grew to a staff of 93 employees,” said a visibly proud Hartz.  “We have about 6 million visitors to the site each month.  This year, twenty percent of tickets sold were outside of the U.S., which is a big deal to our small San Francisco base.”

Preparing for tomorrow today, Eventbrite is continuing to develop the levels of engagement and interactivity through the Facebook channel.  Incorporating functionality that would allow Eventbrite to further connect with status updates is something to anticipate for the future, along with entry management for events.

“We are looking to improve the user and fan experience, especially with our work in the music industry.  Right now, we are focusing on social integration to understand how to use fans to promote through social media which inevitably push tickets sales,” said Hartz.

Beyond the forecast of Eventbrite, being a Silicon Valley brainchild allows Kevin to keep his hands, vision and energy flowing through or around the next big movements in technology and innovation.  When discussing the coming plans for Eventbrite, I seized the chance to inquire about general advice Kevin would pass to young entrepreneurs, and what would be the emerging companies and/or focused directions to rise in this new decade.

“Always work with people smarter than you,” were the words Hartz delivered that spoke to the advice for young businesses.  “As far as the next thing, I am serving on the Board of Lookout, a mobile security company for Android.  Future trends and opportunities?  I would say location-based services and furthering video on the internet.   YouTube grew out of broadband and the pervasiveness of flash, for example.  Now we are seeing location based services such as foursquare and gowalla driven by smartphone and gps chipset adoption.

Whether managing operations at Eventbrite or developing several of his mentoring relationships, Kevin Hartz is consistently learning and growing while teaching a new generation that is bursting with ideas and promise.  As a collective whole, every venture taken won’t necessarily mean profound success, but each new beginning opens the door towards making improvements from the past; moreover, with Kevin Hartz’s track record, we can be sure that at this stage in his game, each day is merely a fresh start to redefine and establish grounds to build stronger pillars of success.

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues DAY 3

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Contributing Photographer : Thomas Fennell IV


DAY 2 Photos:

Chicago Bluegrass and Blues DAY 2

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Contributing Photographer : Thomas Fennell IV


Chicago Bluegrass and Blues DAY 1

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Contributing Writer/Photographer:  Thomas Fennell IV

For three cold nights in Chicago, people from all walks were able to come together for the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival, touted as a summer festival in the winter, and it felt like just that.

For the festival veterans and new adventurers alike, the festival offered all the right ingredients: a variety of venues, vendors, food options and most importantly, people and musical styles.  Bluegrass and blues may have played less of a role this year than in previous billings, but the foundation characteristic of homemade, from-the-heart music, shone brightly throughout the acts presented each night.  Each night had something for everyone, and while Saturday night brought headliners Grace Potter & The Nocturnals as well as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros to the stage, it was a long weekend of great music that didn’t seem to have only one crescendo.

After three nights, five stages, dozens of performances and thousands of photographs shot, it’s difficult to put together a brief summary of all the music present, but suffice to say:  we had plenty of, well, everything.  There were guys with guitars, gals with tambourines, hip hop and string bands.  Powerful vocals rocked us throughout, from the soul-infused Great Divide and The O’Mys to the emerging favorite Daphne Willis and always-wild Grace Potter.  Great Divide was a band I heard about prior to the fest, but never could imagine just how tight and well-focused this group of talented instrumentalist could be.  We’re talking erupting vocals, horns, a cool man tickling the ivory keys and steady rhythms that kept the crowd moving!  We were even lucky enough to get “Tell Mama,” an Etta James cover.  I could spend more time on this band, but I will let me brief words stand as a testament to the power within the Great Divide.  (Here is their set list, by the way:  Shine, Hear My Train, Ain’t No Roads, Waiting, Tell Mama, Step Back, Freedom Bell, Follow Me Down)


Speaking on the truth of bands, instrumentation was paramount–and groups like How Far to Austin, The Giving Tree Band, Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons and Edward Sharpe showed us just how many talented musicians can be crammed onto a stage at once.  Lest we forget the roots of this fine fest, Liberty Bluegrass Band and Sexfist kept the string band crowd amused with energetic, down-home performances.

Short sets and even shorter setbreaks ensured that the music kept going and going.  Friday night at the Double Door was the perfect kickoff to the weekend; a comfortable bar/venue that most in attendance had probably visited before, but tonight it was clear–with music sliding between soul, rock, and a bit of hip hop–the festival spirit was in full swing, and we might not have known what we were in for next, we were in good hands.

Saturday’s action spanned multiple stages within the legendary Congress Theater, with acts simultaneously playing within the main venue and the ornate lobby.  Even between main-stage sets, acts positioned in the balcony kept the crowd entertained and never let that “bored watching the roadies soundcheck the drums” feeling set in.  Sunday night, The Environmental Encroachment Magic Circus Band lived up to their mysterious name and energetically bridging the gaps between main-stage sets with impromptu drum circles, brass jams, parades and dancing–each time garnering a few curious head-tilts from recent arrivals, but coaxing out smiles and toetaps just as quickly.

A great time was certainly had by all in attendance, and it seemed a worthy reminder of the fun that awaits us all as the summer festival season begins to head back our way…


Friday, December 17th, 2010


On December 28th, progressive reggae band John Brown’s Body kicks off a two-week Colorado tour. The nine-show run begins in Avon and ends January 7th in Durango. The CO tour includes a two-night New Year’s Eve celebration in Denver at Cervantes.

John Brown’s Body Tour Dates
Dec 28 – Avon, CO – Agave
Dec 29 – Breckenridge, CO – Three20South
Dec 30 – Denver, CO – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Dec 31 – Denver, CO – Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
Jan 02, 2011 – Winter Park, CO – Ullrs Tavern
Jan 03 – Aspen, CO – Belly Up Aspen
Jan 04 – Crested Butte, CO – The Eldo
Jan 06 – Telluride, CO – The Llama
Jan 07 – Durango, CO – Abbey Theatre
Jan 08 – Taos, NM – Kachina Lodge
Jan 21 – Boston, MA – House Of Blues
Jan 22 – Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
Mar 25 – Seattle, WA – Showbox At The Market
Mar 26 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
Mar 27 – Crystal Bay, NV – Crystal Bay Club
Mar 30 – Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up
Mar 31 – Los Angeles, CA – El Rey Theatre
Apr 01 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
Apr 02 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore