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Can You Do It All? Eventbrite Cofounder And Mother Julia Hartz (Part 9)

Posted on Thursday, Jul 29th 2010

SM: How do you feel about your overall situation? Have you made the right choices?

JH: I feel really good about it. I have had very little doubt. I am now terrified to see how we could include another child. Kevin is ready and I am sitting here going, “Hold on,” because I just don’t see how it will scale nicely and have it all go as well as it does now.

SM: What is your priority? Would you step back from Eventbrite?

JH: I always want to be involved in Eventbrite. I think the compromise will come when I have to step down to a lesser role. The title thing is pointless, I can live without a title. It almost puts undue pressure. I just want to help Eventbrite succeed, whether that is what I am doing today, making large, strategic decisions such as recruiting actively and handling the PR as well as the operations, or whether it’s processing checks. Truly in my heart, I don’t care what my role is. That is what gives me hope. I don’t ever want to hinder the progress. I sort of think that Kevin and I have a responsibility to get out of the way as we hire smart people in areas that we do not know as much about.

SM: What is your ownership in the company between the two of you?

JH: It is not the majority, but it is sizeable.

SM: If you were both to make the decision to step back and be on the board, you would maintain a significant portion of the company, which is significant as your ramp is around $10 million right now. Is that a decision that is in the air?

JH: No. We joke about who would be in charge if we got hit by a bus. We feel very confident that we have proper leadership in place. Julie Thompson is phenomenal, as are as some of our other great people can handle things. We have been through times when Kevin has questioned if he should stay or go on to something else. As a serial entrepreneur you are always going to be enticed by other projects, and he is a serial entrepreneur.

We will not think of an exit plan for ourselves or for Eventbrite anytime soon. We would not see that as a victory. We are not even thinking about it. If I can have another child, stay involved with Eventbrite, and keep everybody happy, then I would call that a win.

SM: Would you trade off the idea of having another child to remain the president of Eventbrite?

JH: That is a good question. No, because I do want a larger family. I will probably put it off for a couple more years if I can, but we are a partnership and Kevin really wants another child. I do too, but I think the ten-year difference in our ages impacts his desires. We are a team and I am excited about another child. There are a lot of implications that Kevin may not be thinking about, but his optimism is so refreshing that it gives me hope.

SM: But you are the one who is going to make the sacrifice.

JH: Exactly.

SM: A lot of women are struggling with that. They want to hear that they can do it all and nothing has to be sacrificed. I don’t think that is the case, and I am sure you can tell them all about those struggles.

JH: I recently asked my mom if she ever talked to me about having a family and getting married. She purposely did not talk about that because she wanted me to have my own idea of whom I would marry and if I would have kids. When I got married and got pregnant, I had a moment of feeling like “Hey, when were you all going to tell me that I was going to be expected to keep everything going as it was and be that at 35. That is a geriatric pregnancy!” I was the youngest person in my OB practice to be pregnant at 28. That speaks volumes.

One thing my mom did point out was that it is socioeconomic and the region we are in. Still, the age difference between me at 28 and the oldest, who was 52, was shocking. I had the realization that our generation was fed “college then career,” which I am grateful for. During the 1970s when I was being raised, everyone was questioning what to do. They had been talking about both, but for my generation we are suddenly faced with scenario B and we don’t necessarily know how they fit together.

This segment is part 9 in the series : Can You Do It All? Eventbrite Cofounder And Mother Julia Hartz
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