003 — Ticketbye 🎟️ The most important lesson I learned from an acquisition.
Disclaimer: I wrote this about 1.5 years ago and never published it. Since I took last week off, I figured I’d publish this today and follow up with a fresh post tomorrow.
About a year and a half ago, WillCall was acquired by Ticketfly. The move made perfect sense; we were a product focused team that built iOS and Android apps offering the easiest ticket buying experience, and Ticketfly was an established company with ticketing agreements and deep relationships with venues across North America. All we had to do now was tap into the inventory Ticketfly had and sell the shit out of some tickets. Seems pretty straightforward, except it wasn’t.
You have to understand that WillCall was basically family. We were very protective of each other and weary of outsiders. For better or worse, this is who we were.
I remember our first day at the Ticketfly offices. The WillCall crew all sat in the same area on the main floor and tried to figure out what this all meant.Were we all going to stay on the same team? Would it be a matter of time before we got dispersed within the org? It took time, but we realized that we had to let people in and let our gaurds down. We had to become one expanded family in order to achieve our common goal of making the best consumer ticketing experience in the industry.
In retrospect we should have had this mindset from the get-go, but you live, you fuck up and you learn. The former WillCall team — the consumer team within Ticketfly, eventually expanded to include Ticketfly employees, and a few of the original WillCall squad left to take on other responsibilities within the organization. We stopped using ‘us’ and ‘them’, and started using ‘we’. WE made major architectural changes that paved the way for faster product development. WE released a beautiful iOS app, that vastly simplified the ticket purchasing experience at Ticketfly. Within the first two weeks, it was downloaded about 35k times, we improved the purchase funnel by about 5%, and we got featured in the App Store. Not too bad of a start huh? Ticketfly eventually got absorbed by Pandora and I have full confidence that the team will continue to grow and improve the product and who knows, maybe they’ll even release an Android app. 😋
I learned a lot at Ticketfly. I grew professionally, and forged friendships that extended far beyond the workplace. But the most important lesson by far was the importance of unity. Now it’s time to make like Peyton,
and go out on top. So what’s next? Well, I’m not entirely sure. I do know that I’ll never wear that vest and shirt combo, and that I’ll be taking some time off while keeping an open mind and talking to people about interesting opportunities.
Major Edit: Ticketfly has since been sold from Pandora to Eventbrite. A lot of my former colleagues have stayed on and are continuing their mission of creating the best live events platforms in the industry. I decided to join Postmates and help create the best on-demand delivery experience in the world. We have a long way to go, but it’s inspiring to be around people that are so passionate and driven.