INTIX 2017: Take Your Tickets to the People

New Orleans. Not a difficult place to have a great week.

And last week, INTIX 2017 in New Orleans more than accomplished that feat.

INTIX is one of the best conferences if you’re in the live entertainment business, because what’s on peoples’ minds there is a great bellwether for what’s going on around the industry. When INTIX is excited about something, that means the industry is going to be excited about that thing.

This year, I had the opportunity to introduce the closing keynote speaker, Hema Budaraju. Hema is the product lead for Facebook Events, and she was there to talk about their own take on distributed commerce.

Earlier in the day, I was part of an illustrious panel on a similar subject, and so I shared some of what had been discussed then as an introduction to Hema’s talk about Facebook’s efforts.

Here’s a paraphrased version of those thoughts:

In the 20th century, people who wanted a ticket had to visit a box office to get them. Later, they could call the box office, and even later, at the tail end of the 20th century, they could go to a virtual box office.

All of these steps were improvements in the ease of making a ticket purchase, but they still fundamentally put the box office at the center, a place where the customer must go to get what they want.

But over just the last six to 12 months, I’ve noticed a breakthrough in thinking on this. Peer leaders and leading edge colleagues of ours have come to think of this differently. Something has changed in the climate of consciousness of this very recently, and it’s not going to stop.

We and others have been working for years to put forward a simple, but important idea, and now that idea has arrived.

Take your tickets to the people.

According to legend, the famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. His answer: “Because that’s where the money is.”

Likewise, today, through technological innovations and new models of partnership that have matured, the virtual box office is no longer a necessity. We can create seamless integrations and smooth customer experiences, while still maintaining the integrity of ticketing systems and the tickets themselves.

Five years ago, this was much harder. Today, those who choose not to operate this way do so not for practical reasons, but for other organizational reasons, often the wrong organizational reasons, including an irrational need for control.

But it’s changing. This year, we see a clear difference from five or even two years ago. Next year, we’ll see it even more strongly.

So if you’re wondering why you should take your tickets to the people, I’ll give you the same answer Willie did:

Because that’s where the money is.

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