Outlets & E-commerce (continued)
One of the big issues was, things are free. Well tickets aren’t free; tickets aren’t discounted; Ticketmaster doesn’t own the plane. You know, what they own is the service.right? And so somebody came in and said, “Everything is free on the Web.so we should just do free on the Web.” And I said, “Fine. Then your salary for this week will be free too.” J . “Cause how are you gonna get paid?” And I remember I gave a speech at one of the Jupiter conferences and I said, “You know it’s all great that everybody’s doing all this stuff for free. I only have one question: “Who’s paying somebody?” This is a business. People need to be paid to do this.
And Ticketmaster’s success in this does not surprise me at all, because we would have gotten there anyway. I mean the fact of the matter is, that was the road – the pricing paradigm they have is the one I created. And it was that people pay for a service, and it hasn’t changed. And what people have to realize is: the arenas aren’t interested in changing that; the promoters aren’t interested in changing that. What people want is the ability to have access. That’s what this is about. We provide you access. No one sees all the work that’s done to make those sites viral; that allow you to take credit cards; that allow you to scan all these different buildings to see where you’re sitting; see what’s going on. You know, it’s something that people don’t appreciate or give any value to. And when you look at the margins at the end of the day, no one’s running at ridiculous margins. So, in the end of the day, it’s expensive to deliver the service and it’s expensive to pay for the service, but it all balances out. And you know – it’s the way it works.
The answers I don’t know, but I use a word called willfulness – perseverance. An entrepreneur I define is somebody sitting up in a tree – high on a branch – sawing the branch – facing the tree J. So you’re gonna fall. The question is: how many times are you gonna get up? And is the last time you fall, you give up?
The difference between success and failure is very small – it’s finite. I’ve told you stories here of how at the beginning of Ticketmaster it could have failed. I believe it’s a combination of: desire; talent; willfulness; luck; determination; insecurity – and I can’t quantify the dose of each. I think there are two things you need to know when you look at successful entrepreneurs: One is, in the second grade they all failed plays well with others. J Because the very essence of being an entrepreneur means, you’re listening to your own music; and the second thing is a monumental fear of failing, which is a driving force in terms of how you do things. It’s not like you wake up everyday and say I don’t want to fail, but in moments of great introspection; in moments when you’re truly alone; when everybody is either against you, or thinks what you’re doing is wrong, and you are the only one that sees that clarity – that’s what it takes when you form these things.
When organisms are small, they’re all on life support. They are all threatened because any single event can kill them. Nothing can hurt any of these big companies today, really. They have moments and blips, and sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down, but the corpus is so strong – the organism itself is so strong, that you can’t do anything to it. And I describe Ticketmaster’s success sort of like a train. The first year or two, it’s like you’re trying to chug your way up hill and get uphill, and you’re peddling really hard and you’re not getting anywhere – it’s like a gerbil wheel. You know, you’re just bangin’ along and you’re battin’ your head. People don’t know what to make of you and you don’t know what to make of yourself, and you’re not quite sure what the whole scope is. Then you get to where it’s level; where you’re meeting payroll and you’re doing business; and you’re getting a few little wins; and the trains moving up and picking up speed; and everything’s fine and you’re just beginning to feel good about yourself, that maybe you are actually right. Because you’re going to sleep every night going, I think I’m gonna kill myself. I mean basically, lol, because you’re saying, I can’t believe how hard this is.
It’s just a huge undertaking, and I call it life in a barrel. Nothing exists on any side of you. You wake up in the morning thinking about the business and go to sleep at night thinking about the business, and there’s no room for anything else. It’s sheer determination – sheer willfulness – sheer force of personality – sheer focus that you live. I mean, when you think of things that we used to do (which is neither good nor bad – it’s just that we did them), is that in this compelling moment when I came to this town [LA], I would count logos in the Sunday calendar section. How many of mine, how many were there’s? J I woke up everyday, and every weekend, and my goal was to see only our logo.
Now, I once gave a really ridiculous quote that my goal was to sell every ticket in America. It sounded good – it was funny – and it played into a piece, but you knew you couldn’t do that. And so what you had was this sheer drive to build something. And you went from: look, they’re big, but there’s room for two big ticket companies to, maybe there should only be one. You know. maybe we should be the biggest. And then, I remember when we bought Ticketron – and what most people miss when we bought that, was that Ticketron was broke. It was in their client accounts (which is the money you collect for the client that you pay them every week for their weekly sales). So basically when we closed that deal, they basically wrote us a check to bring everything back to normal. And what I thought about the morning after – I’ll never forget the morning I woke up after I bought them (because really, there was very little of what was left, and the Schuberts wound up buying the system, and I bought a bunch of contracts), was for so many years, I woke up with the focus of a dragon. You know, this motivation of lets go do this. And I remember I woke up the next morning and I didn’t know what to do. And for a couple of weeks I couldn’t get myself focused to figure out where the next challenge came, because entrepreneurs always want to challenge themselves. They’re always looking to go to a different level and get excited about that.Ticketmaster Interview (Fred Rosen) Part 7