Eventbrite is getting a broader taste of European life this year. After building development centers around the globe — in Argentina and the US — the company’s now launching their latest center in Madrid, Spain. The new office, opening in May 2019, will triple the 80-person team currently working there.
The office space itself is a major attraction: flexible work spaces, relaxation areas, mother’s rooms, a library, and outdoor recreational spaces, all bringing the best of the San Francisco tech scene to the fun-loving Spanish lifestyle. While many of the new hires in Madrid will be in engineering and product development, the new development center will collaborate with Eventbrite offices and colleagues all over the world.
So what is working for Eventbrite in Spain like? These three Britelings (what insiders call Eventbrite employees) have already made the leap to the new office and can tell you all about it.
Marco Sparagna grew up in Rome, Italy, but he’d spent his career hopping around the world, working in six different countries as an engineer for various tech companies. “Unfortunately, the south of Europe is a bit behind in terms of working culture,” Marco says. “Which is the reason why despite loving Spain and my country, I have not tried to work in either over the last ten years.”
But when Marco heard about Eventbrite’s acquisition of Spain’s Ticketea, he started to look into job opportunities. At the time, he’d been living and working in Dublin for the past year and a half. But before that, he’d been in California, at TicketFly, another company that was recently acquired by Eventbrite. He still knew people from his old job who were still working for Eventbrite and who encouraged him to apply.
“I went into the job interview with very conscious eyes, knowing what I did about Spanish companies,” he says. “But to be honest, I was very surprised by the company I found. I loved everyone during the interview, and that it felt like a very San Franciscan style company, but in a place I truly love.”
Marco says he appreciates that Eventbrite’s new Madrid office is diverse and full of people from many different countries, but that the office culture feels like a mix of San Francisco and Spanish cultures. “Some people can get too obsessed with riding the wave of tech and working all night for no reason, but here, that kind of attitude is far less common.” At the same time, the benefits of a San Francisco-based company, like a restaurant card, flexible work from home practices, and Summer Fridays will bring some of the best things about the tech world to Spain.
As a manager on the engineering team in Madrid’s new development center, Marco is excited about Eventbrite bringing good career opportunities to Southern Europe. “Spain is going to be very central to a lot of business leads and expansion. We have a lot to look forward to here in the short and long-term, and that makes it an exciting place to work.” Marco says that Eventbrite will need to fill several front-end development roles as they expand in the upcoming year, but he also encourages others to apply. For example, people with international backgrounds, and those who can help foresee the kinds of problems they might face as Eventbrite grows in Europe.
On the daily level, Marco says working in the ticketing and music industry presents interesting problems to deal with, plus, he believes in the greater mission of the company. “We sell something that makes people happy: events. I really like that. Maybe it’s not changing the world, but we are making it a little bit better. I’m very happy here.”
Stephanie Pi, a software engineer, has been in the Madrid office for seven months now. She came to Spain with her Spanish husband in 2017 from Seattle, where she worked for a large corporate tech company. “I had been working for a small startup in Spain originally because I thought I wanted something really different from that big corporate job,” she says. But that wasn’t quite the right fit either, and when she heard about Eventbrite’s new presence in Spain, she jumped.
“I hadn’t heard about the job culture at Eventbrite before, but when I interviewed it just felt serendipitous, like this culture was exactly what I was looking for,” says Stephanie.
For Pi, who grew up in Miami with Cuban parents, the focus on diversity she felt at Eventbrite made a big difference. “A lot of companies will tell you they want to be a diverse workplace but don’t actually take action, being here for seven months now, I can tell you they put a lot of effort behind that statement here.”
Pi also feels at home in the Spanish office thanks to the unique language situation. While the office speaks English, there are many native Spanish speakers and native English speakers alike. Pi grew up speaking both languages, so she feels a unique ability to help bridge any language barriers that might come up. “It’s pretty cool, because they’ve hired a teacher so the other Americans can learn Spanish and one so that the non-English speakers can learn English, but for now I feel like I can contribute a lot on that front.”
In addition to her Spanish skills, she feels her technological expertise is being put to work at Eventbrite, where she works mostly on the front-end user interface. “My first tech job I was in learning mode, and had a lot of imposter syndrome, and then at my startup job I just wasn’t quite getting out of it what I thought I should be at this point in my career,” she says. “But there’s a marked difference here at Eventbrite, I immediately felt like I had knowledge to share with people and like I’m a valuable contributor to my team.”
She also appreciates another cultural difference she’s found in the Madrid office — that coworkers have strong personal connections. “In an American work setting, it’s often like, this is work, and these are friends outside of work, they’re very separate. Here, people have very strong personal relationships with coworkers, it was a big shock for me, but it’s a welcome change.”
And soon, Pi will be able to go to work with one of her best friends: her rescue dog, Belka. “Bringing your dogs to work may be a big thing in Silicon Valley and Seattle, but it is not common at all in Spain,” she says. “I am absolutely in love with my dog and being able to bring her to work with me in the new office was definitely one of the big selling points for me when I got hired.”
As a software engineer, Jean-Yves Chanal has had his choice of companies to work for, and has worked in both London and his native France But when he saw a job posting in Spain, his interest was piqued. His wife is Spanish and they’d been hoping to make the move. Coming from London most recently, they wanted the feeling of being in a big, exciting city. And, he says, Madrid has not disappointed. “The quality of life here in Madrid is incredibly good,” he says. “It’s extremely lively. We wanted to keep that ability to go into the center and go to a different restaurant or place to have a drink every week, and we definitely still have that. Plus the price of beer is practically nothing compared to the price of beer in London!”
The lower cost of living was certainly a draw for Jean, especially paired with the benefits Eventbrite is known for. “They took really good care of our move and gave us a bonus to relocate, which was very helpful.”
The economic difference wasn’t the only shift Jean made when moving from London. His office before, he says, was quite different. “What struck me the most when I arrived here was that I immediately felt like I was part of a small family. People knew my name and were coming up to ask where I was from and who I was. I’ve felt very comfortable asking for help if I’ve faced any difficulties so far.”
Jean also appreciates that this Spanish quality of life carries over to the office culture at Eventbrite as well. “We have quite a few events after work, drinks, and activities. We also support a lot of events in the development and work community here in Madrid, which I really enjoy as a way to become involved.”
The new office in Madrid, too, was a draw for Jean. The development center will be in the center of Madrid, just 200 meters from Santiago Bernabéu football stadium, and a 10-minute walk from the nearest Metro station.
In addition to getting to know a new life and work culture, Jean has enjoyed getting to know his new coworkers from all over the world. “The Eventbrite motto is ‘Bringing people together through live experiences’ and we definitely apply it here. We have live experiences which bring us together in the office, and makes us work better.”
Britelings Are Discovering a Whole New Culture with Madrid’s New Development Center Space was originally published in Briteling Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.