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Global Company, Startup Vibe: Account Manager Laurids Seibel on Eventbrite’s Growing Office in Berlin

Following a stint as his previous company’s only employee in Germany, Laurids Seibel was initially drawn to Eventbrite’s Berlin office because of the friendly, team-oriented atmosphere. A few months after he joined, the team suddenly doubled in size. In this interview, he explains what it was like to navigate that merger, why Eventbrite’s product is ahead of the curve, and how the Berlin team stays connected with each other — and with their fellow Britelings around the world.

What do you do at Eventbrite?

For my first year or so here, I was a Business Development Rep, or BDR. Now I’m a Technical Account Manager, or AM, which is a new role not just for me, but for the whole company, because we recently restructured our Account Management teams.

As a BDR, my job was to look for new business opportunities for Eventbrite. That involved reaching out to and connecting with potential clients. I got the chance to understand our customer base in an intimate way, which has helped me be successful in the long run. The BDR role was a great way to learn all things Eventbrite — I felt like I got to know the company, the product, and the customer-base inside and out. As a Technical AM, I get to have longer-term relationships with some of our largest accounts. After I onboard a new client, we continue working together. I’m not only making sure their festivals and conferences go well, but also helping them to get more out of those events and improve their companies.

“The BDR role was a great way to learn all things Eventbrite”

When a BDR moves up, it’s usually to a Business Development Manager role. But I had some past experience as an Account Manager, and my managers knew from the beginning that I wanted to go in that direction. The Technical AM role appealed to me because I like that I get to keep building my relationships. I like that my clients and I can evolve together, and I get to see them grow.

What were you doing before Eventbrite, and why did you join the team?

I was working for a company in the music industry, and I was their only employee in Germany, which was a little lonely. I wanted a place where I could be part of a team. There were only a few people in Eventbrite’s Berlin office at the time, but I really liked the atmosphere. Everyone is talented and hard-working, and they also fit together well from a personal perspective. It was clear that they genuinely liked each other. And when I met the people here, I was inspired and knew I could learn from them.

I had prior experience at the BDR level, but the team was so cool that I decided I would give it a try and prove myself. And I saw the potential for growth. I could see where Eventbrite was headed, and it made sense to me. I could tell that in few years they were going to be everywhere.

Laurids stops for a quick conversation with Josy and Marcel. The office is designed with an open floor plan, desks and other mixed seating throughout the space.

How is Eventbrite different from other companies in this space?

In the German market especially, there’s a bit of a culture gap between Eventbrite and our competitors. We’re ahead of the curve — which can actually be a challenge, because so many of our clients are used to working with these big companies with very fixed structures. Eventbrite is different in that we’re really a tech company, not just a ticketing company. We give our clients a lot of self-service tools, so they can be more autonomous and more in control. We give them access to data they never had before. When I was a BDR, it was sometimes difficult to explain those benefits to potential clients. But, once they’re on board and they realise there’s a better way, it’s also very rewarding.

“I like that my clients and I can evolve together, and I get to see them grow.”

There’s a similar culture clash when it comes to payment methods, because credit cards aren’t used nearly as much in Germany as they are in the U.S. or even elsewhere in Europe. It’s more difficult to get a credit card here, and a lot of people still rely on cash. Some of our competitors have thousands of physical stores, and that’s how many customers are used to buying tickets. To address that, we’ve partnered with another company to offer printed tickets by post. So we’re meeting customers in the middle right now, but we’re also starting to see the market move toward our approach. The numbers for online and mobile transactions are growing and growing.

Another thing I like about Eventbrite is that we don’t just focus on the largest clients. Instead of excluding small organisers, we try to help them become big organisers. It’s a forward-thinking approach, and that helps us grow, too.

Who do you collaborate with?

As of a couple months ago, all mid and large sized accounts have a Technical AM and a Strategic AM, and we work together as a team. We’re still settling into those roles, and there’s a bit of overlap sometimes. But essentially, I focus on helping clients get the best use out of the platform and making sure it’s working well for them, and the Strategic AM helps them find new solutions, like reaching new markets or changing their marketing approach.

We also have a good bond with our counterparts in other offices; it’s a very global team. We do get opportunities to work together face-to-face — Eventbrite flew me to the U.S. for onboarding, for example — and whenever I have an issue, there’s usually someone in the U.S. or UK who can help. They’ve dealt with many of the problems we’re facing before, and often, they’ve already figured out how to solve them. There was a lot of collaboration between offices when I was a BDR, too. We’d chat with the other teams over Slack or Google Hangouts every day, and we always shared ideas for outreach emails or approaches that worked well with clients.

Benedikt, Dajana, Zusan, and Laurids are heads down.

Tell us more about mentorship on the team.

Everyone is willing to help — both the people at our other offices and here in Berlin. When I started out as a BDR, I was always talking with people in other roles. It was so interesting and helpful to see what happens with a client before and after you work with them. That’s part of what led me to the Technical AM position.

I’ve learned a lot from our leadership, too. I think Annett brings the business to a new level just by the way she handles things. She has a lot on her plate, but she’s always smiling and ready to lend an eye or an ear to help. She thinks of her teammates as people, not just as employees.

“We see people as the most important asset, and that’s something you feel on a daily basis.”

We also get a lot of help from our team leads. Sandro, our Marketing Director, was my mentor when I was a BDR. He knew when to push me, but still gave me enough freedom to evolve and figure out my own path. And when I struggled, we worked together as a team to figure out where the problems were and how I could improve.

What’s the culture like on the Berlin team?

The Berlin office is fairly small, so it’s kind of a close-knit, startup atmosphere. It’s cozy — you can just talk over the table if you need help with something, and everyone is nice and fun. We go out for lunch together and get together after work, and we have happy hours every Friday. I’m on the Culture Crew, which is a team of five of us who come up with ideas for social activities. We’re currently working on ways to give back to our local community. In the past, we’ve done obstacle courses. One time I brought in a thousand-piece puzzle that took us about a week, which ended up being a fun team-building exercise.

The culture in the office is still evolving, too, because we doubled in size when Eventbrite acquired Ticketscript last year. We were suddenly working with the same people we had been competing against, and it was challenging at first. We had different dress codes, different experiences and approaches — it took us all a while to adjust. But we’re working pretty well together now, and it’s cool to see everyone pushing toward the same goal. Everyone supports each other and recognises each other when we do good work, and it’s cool to look back on how far we’ve come in just a year.

Left: The office caters lunch two days a week. Right: Every six weeks, the team orders pizza and tunes into the global all-hands call with Eventbrite’s CEO and other leaders.

What about the overall company culture?

Eventbrite is definitely a people-first company. We see people as the most important asset, and that’s something you feel on a daily basis. We make a real effort to attract great people and keep them here. Our benefits are a good example: the company has been flexible about creating a package that works for us in Germany, rather than just duplicating what’s available in other countries.

I think we also have a good work-life balance. It’s not realistic to be productive all of the time — sometimes you just need to step away and clear your head before you can attack a problem again and we have the freedom to do that here. We also have options to change up workstations, like the sound proof booths and withdrawal spaces around the office. People here aren’t overworked or always stressed out, and that’s important to me.

It’s not all flowers, of course. There are always going to be tough days. But everyone on the team is open-minded, and we can be straightforward and honest about the challenges we’re facing. That makes a big difference. You always have good reasons to go to work.

Interested in joining the team?

Check out our open positions, get in touch with Irene van der Burg, or learn more about how the Berlin’s Britelings are ahead of the curve.

Editor’s Note: To help tell this story, we partnered with Job Portraits, a creative studio that tells stories about fast-growth companies.

Global Company, Startup Vibe: Account Manager Laurids Seibel on Eventbrite's Growing Office was originally published in Briteling Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Published on May 29, 2018

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