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Episode 24: How the ticketing industry is thriving in the midst of a global pandemic


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Listen to this IBM Blockchain Pulse Podcast episode and others on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn and Stitcher.

blockchain pulseIBM Blockchain Pulse has had the privilege of hosting several returning guests this season but few have worked in industries as heavily impacted by COVID-19 as our guests today; Matt Zarracina and Ken Lesnik, the founders of True Tickets.

While the live events business has been upended during the pandemic, True Tickets mission has remained totally unchanged. Their work to push clients and customers further into the realm of digital ticketing has never been more relevant.

In their last episode together a year and a half ago, Matt and Ken shared how they transitioned from a B2C company to a B2B company. In this episode, in the midst of the COVID-era, they focus on how all the ways in which their own business has adapted and evolved — and, of course, how the larger blockchain business ecosystem has adapted and evolved as well.

Learn how industries are revolutionizing business with IBM Blockchain

Don’t miss out on this thoughtful and illuminating conversation!

Key takeaways

[:00] An excerpt from today’s episode.
[:44] About today’s episode with Matt Zarracina and Ken Lesnik.
[2:08] Matt welcomes Matt and Ken to the podcast.
[2:59] How True Tickets has adapted accordingly to live events taking a massive hit due to the global pandemic. They also share about the exact moment in the spring that they realized that they needed to think quickly and adapt.
[7:09] What is a ‘test’ and what is a ‘sign’ when it comes to your business? How do Matt and Ken define the difference?
[9:18] Ken elaborates on the role that blockchain is playing in helping to create more equitable and fair digital mobile ticketing.
[12:34] The biggest change agent for the live ticketing industry during this COVID era that allowed the ‘middlemen’ to recognize True Tickets as a business solution in a different way.
[14:18] Why wasn’t there earlier incentivization for making tickets digital?
[15:44] How does True Tickets walk venue owners, managers, promoters, etc. through the concept of working with data and predictive digital analytics?
[18:08] Would Matt and Ken see a part of True Tickets’ responsibility as playing a key role in translating digital possibility for analog ownership, analog venue management, etc. as we move into this new digital age?
[19:45] Matt highlights the differences and similarities they’ve seen in the COVID era between the different territories and markets they’re operating in.
[20:45] As they’re closing deals, do they find clients care particularly about the blockchain angle as it pertains to security, trust, and transparency? Or is it just a nice addition? And how does the blockchain story come about in the story of their business solution?
[22:05] Matt speaks about the nature of True Tickets’ relationship with IBM Blockchain at present and what excites him most about it looking into 2021.
[24:14] Matt speaks about the significance of what happened when Hamilton premiered on Disney+ this summer and what it means for the future of live performances.
[27:20] Why haven’t there been many live performances in digital form? Is it only becoming more prevalent due to the pandemic?
[29:03] Ken shares his thoughts on how live performances have transformed since the pandemic.
[32:00] How they’re planning for the evolution of their business, what they think the ticketing space will look like in the two years, and how they think the relationship they’ve built with IBM Blockchain will impact their business going forward.
[34:34] Matt thanks Mat and Ken for joining the podcast once again!
[35:32] Matt closes out the podcast

Sources mentioned

True Tickets
IBM Blockchain Pulse Ep. 6: “How Blockchain is Shaking Up the Current Inefficient Ticketing Industry, with True Tickets Co-Founders”
Matt’s Medium post on Hamilton
Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You

Follow-up with our guests

Matt Zarracina’s LinkedIn
Ken Lesnik’s LinkedIn

Looking for more episodes?

Visit IBM Blockchain — and for news and updates, follow @IBMBlockchain on Twitter!


“What we found, as things began to settle out [with the pandemic]… was that our clients weren’t leaving us. In fact, our clients came back to us and said, ‘Hey, remember how we talked about True Tickets doing 5% of our tickets? Could you do 100% of our tickets?’” — Matt Zarracina

“For us, there is a silver lining for COVID… And that is, we’ve kind of figured out that we are the secure contactless digital ticket solution coupled with identity. We’re essentially now this need-to-have for the industry.” — Matt Zarracina

“A ‘sign’ is: you have to do something different. A ‘test’ is: you have to get through this. And, ultimately, it boils down to: what do you think your odds or probability of success is going to be?” — Matt Zarracina

“How you define success and your probability of success is going to… determine whether you’re being faced with a test or a sign.” — Matt Zarracina

“The barriers to going 100% digital are no longer really as prominent as they were. Especially prior to COVID.” — Ken Lesnik

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