SM: Is Kevin significantly older than you?
JH: Ten years. I met him when I was twenty-three and he was thirty-three. It was more significant for me because it curtailed a lot of mistakes I would have made. For him, at thirty-three, he had just begun to know exactly what he wanted. Our relationship began right when we met, and we were on a linear path that was free of drama and question. When I met him, he was just starting Xoom. We met in May, and they raised funding from Sequoia in the fall of that year.
I started to live the entrepreneurial life through his lens at that time. It proved to be a sneak peek as well, because we raised money from Sequoia as well. Right around the time we brought in James as CEO, it was clear that Kevin and James had different visions for where the company should go. To not be disruptive Kevin stepped out to the board. That was in 2005. I was still in L.A. at the time.
When I met Kevin, I knew that my career in television was on its last legs. I knew intuitively. It is not because I did not like it, but I knew that I wanted to come to the Bay Area. It was intuition; I just knew. I met him right when I was trying to make the decision to stay or leave MTV. I decided to just do it and not worry about career trajectory. In 2005 we got engaged, which was a pivotal point.
Kevin is incredible in the way that he is open to looking at many different angles. He never assumed that I would just leave and join him. He recognized that I had a great career. He was an entrepreneur and did not have a huge company, so he toyed with the idea of coming to L.A. Ultimately I am close to my parents and loved the Bay Area. When we got engaged, I knew it was time to make the move.
I had been having a year-long conversation with the people at Current TV. As they were putting together their team they found where everyone would fit. When they finally found the position where I would fit, they gave me a very low-ball offer. At the same time Kevin had mentioned that there was this platform that they had built for online event ticketing, and he wanted me to come work with him and not make any money. I thought that if working for no money sounded better than working for Current TV, then I was probably trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
SM: Had Kevin actually started working on Eventbrite?
JH: Not really. He was still at Xoom. I started working it during his last four weeks at Xoom. We had a rudimentary architecture based on the PayPal platform that was meant to sell tickets. There were early adopters in the tech community who were using the platform. Alan Braverman wrote the initial code for Eventbrite. Alan graduated from the University of Illinois around the Netscape days. He and Kevin met at SGI. After ConnectGroup was acquired, they joined up and started Xoom. However, they wrote the code for Xoom and Eventbrite at the same time. They were thinking about a lot of different businesses, and Eventbrite and international money transfers were ideas PayPal had but never actually implemented. They went ahead and did that out of Kevin’s loft and they came up with a few different concepts, of which Eventbrite was one.