Julia Hartz on Scaling, Culture, and Diversity
In September 2019, Julia Hartz, co-founder and CEO of Eventbrite, was interviewed by Village Global co-founder and partner, Anne Dwane, in San Francisco.
As CEO, Julia has built Eventbrite into to the world’s largest self-service platform for live experiences — generating billions in gross ticket sales and processing over 2 million tickets per week across 180 countries.
She shared lessons on leadership, advice on managing growth, thoughts on how to maintain company culture and values over time, and much more.
Watch the edited video of the fireside chat here:
They talked about:
Lessons from scaling Eventbrite and how to maintain a company’s unique culture as it grows.
Julia talks about the founding of Eventbrite and how some of the earliest decisions at the company have made it into what it is today:
“What is most gratifying is that we are doing exactly what we set out to do. People thought we did it all ‘wrong’. You’re not supposed to start a company with your life partner, you’re not supposed to go horizontal and not pick a vertical to focus on first, you’re not supposed to look for ways to keep dropping your price. We did a lot of things quote unquote wrong in the early days that ended up being the most fundamental parts of our business.”
She discusses the importance of culture at a fast-growing company, talks about how Eventbrite’s culture is unique and how they’ve tried to make it “self-healing.”
“I think culture is reinforcing. We hire for like values and once that gets to scale, it starts reinforcing itself, both in the good and the bad. You have to be okay with letting go of parts of the culture. It’s very important to reinforce the goodness and one of the things that is very good about Eventbrite is that there is no ‘I’m out for myself’ mentality.”
She also talks about why it’s important to show vulnerability as a leader and how, as a company with fourteen offices around the world, they’ve tried to distribute decision-making in the company outside of head office.
The importance of diversity.
Eventbrite has a gender-balanced board and has been striving for greater diversity in all areas of the company. In fact, they even had a gender-balanced podium when they went public on the NYSE:
“When we went public, the NYSE, on their own volition, went all the way back to 1984 in their archives to try to find a gender-balanced podium and they couldn’t.”
She talks about why diversity has been important to the company and how it impacts company performance.
“If you are creating a company and you want it to succeed in the long run, it should probably look something like the world in terms of demographics and makeup and perspective on so many different vectors.”
How to hire well.
Julia explains the hiring philosophy at Eventbrite, which is strongly influenced by the work of Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix:
“Hiring well is in large part an exercise in being objective. At Eventbrite, any job requisition starts with the overarching problem that we’re trying to solve. What are the skills that would contribute to the most efficient and effective solve for the problem? What are the attributes that this person needs to have to solve the problem most efficiently?”
She also talked about some of the future tech that she’s excited about, why she’s grateful for the challenges the company has faced, and how to think about competition — something that’s very important for a company with 3,000 competitors!
Check out the full album of photos from the event.