Contributors

Jim McCarthy

CEO, Goldstar

Jim McCarthy is the CEO of Goldstar, but he is also Customer Service Agent No. 1 for the company. Jim has spent the last decade and a half in e-commerce, starting way back at GeoCities before it was bought by Yahoo in 1999. Even before that, he helped to open about 50 Noah’s Bagels locations in California, where he learned about delighting customers, developing employees and managing high growth. He’s written articles and commentary in Fast Company, Business Insider and other well known publications, and has appeared as a speaker at conferences like SXSW, TEDU (part of the main TED conference), INTIX and others. He co-founded TEDxBroadway, which he also hosts and curates. Jim graduated from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA. He also speaks Japanese, writes ghost stories and is a certified lifeguard.

News

United Got the Wrong Answer Because They Were Asking the Wrong Question

Do you agree with the maxim “the customer is always right”?It’s the cornerstone of the American customer service philosophy, and American customer service is pretty darn good by global standards. Not the best, but pretty good.But I don’t agree with that maxim for two reasons: It’s not true (which makes it bullshit), and it’s not important (which makes it unhelpful).It’s not true because … well, you know it’s not true. Sometimes the customer is abusive or wildly unrealistic or...

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#TBT

#TBT: Theo’s Backpack and What It Means to You

Happy #TBT. In light of recent airline news, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Theo’s Backpack and What It Means to You.Recently, on a flight on Southwest Airlines, a kid named Theo left his backpack behind when his family got off the flight, as 4-year-olds will do.What follows is a story of heroism. Here’s the key snippet from the story:“During a recent trip to Utah with my wife and kids, my 4-year-old son lost his little blue backpack....

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Technology

Be Where the People Are (And the People Are on Mobile)

Back in the 20th century, when someone wanted a ticket, they visited a box office (or called a phone bank) between certain hours. People went to where the tickets were, because that was the only option. And not just for tickets, but just about everything — clothes, toys, books — required people to go to the products, instead of the other way around.Of course, the internet changed all that, and made it easy to get just about anything from...

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News

Why We’re Digitally Integrating Major Ticketing Platforms

Back in Goldstar’s early days, we used cutting-edge technology to let our venue partners know about the Goldstar members coming to their shows: a fully automated fax!I’m joking, but only a little bit. When we started (15 years ago), many venues did want this information via fax. So we invented a virtual gateway to send a fax at the exact time the venue wanted it. Not only that, but if something went wrong (like the fax machine on the...

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#TBT

#TBT: The Nacho Paradox

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: The Nacho Paradox.Years ago, we had an event for sale on the Goldstar site that was a concert by a well-known classic rock band in a dinner club that held about 1,000 people. It might have been Styx.Anyway, both the act and the venue were well-known to people, and seemingly, not much could go wrong. We sold a lot of tickets and expected good feedback and happy members...

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#TBT

#TBT: Puritans and Cake Without Icing

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Puritans and Cake Without Icing.In any field of human endeavor, you will find people who like things stripped down to their essence, free of trappings and “pure.”The Puritans come to mind, for example.Their whole outlook on life was that the Church had become too much about religion and not enough about God. To them, you found God by stripping away everything else, including the incense, the ceremony and...

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#TBT

#TBT: Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: Don’t Confuse Me With the Facts.Seth Godin urges you to use facts as part of your decision-making when available. It sounds simple, right? But it’s vastly complicated by the fact that every fiber of your being is built to ignore facts when you’ve got a “feeling” about something.And his point is also that there’s more good data than ever. Here’s an excerpt:“What are you going to do when...

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News

Putting on My Producer’s Hat

It’s that time again when I get to wear my producer’s hat. Once a year, I gather an extraordinary group of talent to put on an event at New World Stages in New York City. And, like every producer out there, I stress about the quality of the event, the effectiveness of the marketing, reaching an audience and, yes, reading the reviews.For me, producing TEDxBroadway is a vital part of my job as CEO of Goldstar because our goal...

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#TBT

#TBT: All Cake, No File, All Good

Happy #TBT. To celebrate, we’re sharing an oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: All Cake, No File, All Good.This post started in my mind as simply an appreciation for an event being produced by the Actors' Gang in Los Angeles called All Cake, No File [circa 2009].It’s a combination of a cooking show and a tribute to Johnny Cash, which is pretty cool for reasons that if you really understand the live entertainment business today, you’ll understand.But the more I thought...

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#TBT

#TBT: The Album is Dead. Long Live the Album

Happy #TBT. In light of the fact U2 is going to tour 1987's The Joshua Tree in honor of the album's 30th anniversary, we thought we'd share this oldie-but-goodie post from Jim: The Album is Dead. Long Live the Album.The album is dead.I agree with many observers who say that the future of a collection of songs packaged up as a single commercial product pressed onto plastic or even encoded into MP3s with the expectations of significant sales is a thing...

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