Eventbrite: How they managed to integrate Facebook's "Buy Tickets" feature in just 48 hours

Feb 18, 2013
Vote on Hacker News

Eventbrite LogoLast week, Eventbrite announced integration of Facebook’s new “Buy Tickets” feature – a feature which allows Facebook Events to integrate ticket purchasing – so that Eventbrite events can now be posted to Facebook as events, allowing users to buy tickets to your event directly from Facebook. The news was pretty interesting, mainly because that feature had only been released 48 hours before Eventbrite integrated it. Seeing as how Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage lives in Paris, I was keen to figure out just how a giant web service like Eventbrite, with existing mobile & web products, manages to integrate a feature like that in just 36 hours.

I spoke with Vanessa Schneider, Senior Public Relations manager at Eventbrite, to know just how a startup as big as Eventbrite can implement something so quickly. The Eventbrite team may have had a bit of advance notice about the new feature, though it was not much, as they only found out about the Facebook API change in the beginning of February (~7-10 days advanced notice). From there, it was a question of getting everyone on board, quickly. “our VP of Marketing surfaced the opportunity, our VP of Product quickly synced with our VP of Engineering, and he, in turn, re-prioritized some work so that we could execute quickly,” says Vanessa. This is pretty key, as one of the things that often weighs growing companies down is getting approval from various factions for each little change.

Eventbrite has always had a close relationship with Facebook – they were one of the launch partners when Facebook first launched Open Graph, as TNW’s Ken Young pointed out. Their deep knowledge of the API meant it only took 36 hours for 2 developers, 1 guy for QA, and 1 engineer for deployment to get done – being able to get these little things done quick means Eventbrite is always on top of the latest updates for the platforms it works with and relies on.

The last key to this implementation, Vanessa said, was trust:

…As much as Renaud and Pat Poels, our VP of Engineering, lead overall vision and strategy, they also have a team of people who are trusted to innovate and execute on their own…

Here I think is an indispensable attribute for a startup which hopes to scale up its work force and continue to stay ahead of the game, and its competitors. Hiring people you trust enough to have independence is key to freeing up founder & VP time for more important issues. Hire smart people, and they’ll create more than just value in the product, but value in your time management.

So there you have it – Responsive team managers, an intimate understanding of the Facebook API, and Trust helped Eventbrite to implement a cool feature just 48 hours after the feature was made available to 3rd party developers.

Screen-Shot-2013-02-13-at-11.33.15-AM