Do you have a loved one--a partner, a family member, a close friend--or anyone in your life who completely believes in you and tells you that you can accomplish absolutely anything? If you do, you're very, very lucky. Having someone like that in your life can help you make your biggest dreams come true.
That's one of a few big takeaways from today's New York Times "Corner Office" interview with Julia Hartz, CEO and co-founder of the event ticketing service Eventbrite. Thirteen years ago she co-founded the company with her now-husband Kevin Hartz.
Kevin was a serial entrepreneur and investor who'd built the money transfer service Xoom (acquired by PayPal in 2015) and helped fund Pinterest, PayPal, and Airbnb. At the time, Julia, who had pursued a career in television, was working in the new field of product placement at FX. "I would be on the phone with Anheuser-Busch, getting yelled at because we didn't have the Miller Lite bottle the right way for long enough or whatever," she told
The Tmes. "And Denis Leary would be on the other line going, 'I'm not getting paid for this.'"
She hated the job and wanted to leave, but the next offer she got paid less than she was getting at FX. So Kevin, a successful veteran of the startup world, proposed that rather than take the lower paying job, he and Julia should a company together and bootstrap it with their savings. "I don't know why I said yes, but I did," she told The Times. And so Eventbrite was born.
Serial investors are famous for their love of starting new companies and their dislike for continuing to run those companies after the first few years. Sure enough, by 2016, Kevin, who was Eventbrite's first CEO, was itching to go back to creating and investing in startups. And so, along with the company's board, the couple made the decision that Julia would take over as CEO, with Kevin remaining chairman of the board, freeing him to pursue new projects. As CEO, Julia was now faced with the question of how Eventbrite could become profitable and whether or not to go public. "It was like I was in Candy Land, and then I stepped into Tron," she told The Times.
She figured it out. In September 2018, Eventbrite went public in a much-anticipated IPO. The stock debuted at a share price of $23 and immediately shot up. It's around $30 today, with Eventbrite closing in on $300 million of annual sales. This makes Julia Hartz one of the very few female CEOs to lead a successful tech IPO.
How did she get from being yelled at by a beer company to leading a tech unicorn? It was all about Kevin and his belief in her, she said. He's her motivator and her mentor, she explained. "Somewhere along the way, I figured out that he's just nuts because he believes I can do anything. But if you have that person who just consistently says, 'You can do anything,' you start to believe it."
She's absolutely right about that. Study the life of any high achiever and there's a good chance you'll find there was someone--a partner, a parent, a friend, or a family member--who believed in that person absolutely. I've been lucky enough to have two: My husband Bill, who has always been my No. 1 fan and supports my career in every possible way; and before him, my incredible mother, who accomplished the unbelievable herself, and was always certain I could make an even bigger mark on the world than she did (still working on that, Mom!).
Do you have someone like that in your corner? If you do, appreciate that person. Thank them, celebrate them, take them out to a fancy dinner. Let them know that you know you couldn't get where you're going without them.
If you don't, now's the time to find that someone or someones. You can. They're out there, especially if you can also be that same kind of cheerleader and support system for that person as you want them to be for you. It's well worth the effort. Because, Hartz is right. When someone completely believes in you, you start believing in yourself the same way. And that really does make all the difference.