By Chris Clark
It takes a lot to be "in" these days. Adolescent teens, and oftentimes adults trying to fend-off mid-life crises, spend the greater part of their years finding themselves while trying to be "in." For some, the notion comes rather easily. Others, however, never make it past the periphery. As the years go on and reality begins to take hold, being cool takes a back seat to bills, jobs, and responsibility. But for the lucky few who manage to take care of their responsibilities and survive in their coolness, life is grand.
Marc Urbaitel (L) & Steve Weisz (R)
Steve Weisz survived and managed to stay "in," or rather, IN. As the founder and CEO of San Francisco-based IN Ticketing, Weisz is helping to revolutionize the ticketing business as we know it. In doing so, Weisz has created a business model that is profitable, admirable, and even environmentally friendly.
Above all else, Steve Weisz is a music fan.
"Ever since I was 16 years old, I spent every cent I had on going on tour," proclaims Weisz. "I probably spent $50,000 on Ticketmaster service fees. My background is being a fan first."
From fan to young entrepreneur to becoming the founder and CEO of IN Ticketing, Weisz's ascent has been rather organic. Before starting 420 Tickets in his Mill Valley basement in the summer of 1999, he worked as an independent web designer. It was from his web designing background that the foundations for IN Ticketing were formed.
In June of 1999 Weisz was enlisted to help set up a ticketing site for a Grateful Dead tour documentary premier at the Castro Theatre in Venice Beach. After purchasing a merchant account for $195 to license the name 420 Tickets, Weisz was then on his way towards solidifying his future success. Only he didn't know it. He made a site to handle ticket sales for the event and his friend and business partner, Marc "Urb" Urbaitel, helped put everything in the database. Within five days he'd sold $20,000 worth of tickets, and he and Urbaitel would be working the Castro's box office for the premier.
This was the start of IN. By February of 2001, Weisz made the name change to In House Ticketing. 420 Tickets, which was never construed to make it past that Dead Tour premier, had run its course. In House portrayed, in much clearer terms, what Weisz was all about. He'd been in the scene, like most reading this article, for years. He'd spent his time, money, and love relishing live music and the subculture that surrounds the jam scene. In House was a way to reach out to his fellow fans, a way to give back to the scene in an age of Ticketmaster domination.
"We started getting letters from Ticketmaster's lawyers. 'That's absurd,' I thought. There's room in this world for everyone to work together. I'd rather not spend our friends' and fans' service fees on lawyers, so we set out to do really good business and to take their business away," explained Weisz.