What We’re Thankful For …

I want to share something with you that I haven’t really shared before. For some reason, Thanksgiving always makes me think about the very early days of Goldstar, and what it was like to get started.

It was late 2001, and the world was reeling from the impact of 9/11 and a severe recession. It was the era of the “dot.com” crash. Nobody was starting businesses, and many of my friends in the internet industry were seeking out “safe” jobs with big companies like Earthlink and AOL. My co-founders and I had just left a dot.com startup that had raised and spent a lot of money and had very little to show for it, like so many other organizations that had been so full of promise and optimism just a year or two previous. I guess there are a lot of “dark times” in the history of the world, but this was definitely one that qualified. If you’re old enough to remember that time, you can probably reconjure the feeling.

The three of us who started Goldstar pooled $1,000 and put it in the bank account of the newly formed company and started building a website at goldstarevents.com (we didn’t own goldstar.com yet). We didn’t know anybody in the live entertainment and performing arts world. We knew the internet and e-commerce, and we had this really simple idea:

People wanted to go out more, and other people (you, the event marketers of the world) wanted them to come!

So we did what we knew how to do: Build a kick-ass site that was prepared to do business, and we turned it on. Somewhere in that process, we realized we’d need something to sell, so we started calling venues and marketers and saying, “Hey, we’re doing this thing we call Goldstar, and we’d like to sell your tickets for you!”

At the time, this was so unusual and weird that it took some explaining. For some people, the explaining included the internet itself, how it worked, how we could sell things on a computer, and how it would be safe to do so. For other people, they got it right away: “Cool! Extra marketing for my show!”

For still other people, they understood it, but they quite rightly looked at us and said, “What do you guys know about any of this? How many customers do you have?”

Not much and not many, was the answer.

And this next part is what makes me so thankful when I think about it. After explaining that we knew little to nothing about the biz and had not exactly a ton of customers because we were so new, we said, “We don’t have those things yet, but we know what we’re doing and we promise you this is going to get better, because our goal is the same as yours: Get people into your events who otherwise wouldn’t be there.”

Lo and behold, most of those rightly skeptical people, including many who became partners and friends for years, said, “OK, let’s give this a shot.”

We rewarded that trust with hustle and a daily commitment to make Goldstar a better and better platform for ticket buyers, but also for the event organizers who want to reach them. I can’t even number the ways in which the Goldstar platform has changed, customers have changed, or you, the people who sell your tickets through Goldstar, have changed, but day by day, we’ve tried to stay at the forefront of finding ways to do more to live up to that original commitment. (And by the way, some of the biggest and most exciting changes are right around the corner, so keep paying attention!)

And so on this Thanksgiving, I wanted to share not just the sentiment that I — and we — are thankful for your partnership, but to give you a little bit of depth about why we’re thankful for your partnership. When we didn’t have a track record of tens of millions of tickets sold or deep knowledge about the business or even really an office for that matter, our event organizer partners were there, trusting us to make a difference for you. And in return, we make sure that we do.

Thank you,
Jim McCarthy

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