For the first two years of Eventbrite, all the work was done by just the three founders: me, my husband, Kevin, and our chief technology officer, Renaud Visage. When we finally gained traction and were able to make more hires, we focused on finding people more brilliant than we are for specific roles (which, luckily, wasn't that difficult). This meant I would no longer be in charge of marketing, customer support, and finance. But in shifting from a functional position to a leadership position, I found that I had no idea what that--or my title of president--really meant. To be a true leader, I needed to better understand my unique strengths and how to apply them across the company as we grew.
Many tech companies experience steep growth curves that require them to build their teams at breakneck speeds. I wanted to do something different by creating a hiring process that prioritizes quality over quantity. Our fifth hire--Nels Gilbreth--proved crucial in keeping us on track while we grew. A quant jock from Cambridge, England, Nels came to our team as a business analyst, and he has kept us on top of key performance metrics ever since his first day here. And one of my proudest hires is our VP of marketing, Tamara Mendelsohn, an MIT "Sloanie." My challenge was to persuade her to not take a highly paid job at a traditional company and instead join Eventbrite as an overqualified community manager. I had to draw upon my profound belief in the Eventbrite mission to make her envision her future here--and it worked.
That was a signal moment, revealing to me that I could best influence our organization by communicating and shaping its goals and vision. These goals include using technology to bring people together, as well as keeping our sights set on the importance of live experiences for everyone. It's harder than it sounds to get the philosophies and dreams of your company on paper, but I came to understand it was OK if the vision and mission morphed over time. In fact, it was expected. After all, our company has evolved too, from a set of tools meant to democratize the ticketing industry, to a self-service platform that has enabled many kinds of events, to what's now a global marketplace for live experiences.
But even after we'd successfully hired the right team, and saw them hit the ground running, I still wondered: How could I ensure that my continued contribution and impact on the company would be as strong as ever?
This last part of my transition to a leadership role saw me focusing entirely on the team and our culture. I knew being a strong advocate for the Britelings--the people of Eventbrite--could be invaluable for us as a company. I've viewed everything I've done in the past five years through the lens of putting the people before the company, and putting the company before the founders.
Among other things, this resulted in our open vacation policy--Take the Time You Need, or TTTYN. My role places me at the intersection of our team, our business goals, and our vision, so I now approach every important decision thinking of the team, and how we can continue to grow the business with happy, productive, and dedicated people. One way we stay on top of this is through the weekly anything-goes conversations that Kevin and I host called Hearts to Hartz.
Even as we've grown from 30 to 450 Britelings worldwide--and as I've worked on defining my leadership role--this focus has resulted in better transparency and collaboration across the company. This in turn has brought the even greater rewards of an engaged and vibrant team, and being consistently recognized as among the best places to work--all while we continue to pull in high double-digit growth rates.