Phil Silverstone was a key leader within the GE Capital team, the financial services unit of General Electric, for more than 16 years.
Like any good leader, Silverstone has a talent for recognising possibilities when it comes to innovation, which led to his latest role as the Australian and New Zealand general manager of Eventbrite – one of the world’s most popular ticketing and registration platform.
This was certainly a big change from his previous role.
“For the most part I had been in financial services and I wanted something with a bit more of a social connection and something I could be a little bit more passionate about,” Silverstone explained.
“I was also looking to move from big corporate to a smaller, more agile and technology-driven type company, believing that is really the future for the economy and the competitiveness.”
In true modern style, he discovered the Eventbrite role on LinkedIn.
“As a job seeker you don’t really assume that you’re going to get a job online. Most job hunting and career management is more through networks. So I saw the opportunity, and it was exactly what I was looking for, and I was lucky enough to get the call back.”
Evolution and transition
Kevin and Julia Hartz, along with Renaud Visage, launched Eventbrite in San Francisco in 2006, turning it into a market player in just a decade. But things can work a little differently once a company hits the international scene, particularly the Australian market, which is experiencing such an interesting transition in terms of technological innovation and infrastructure.
“In Australia, Eventbrite still acts more like a start-up, but in a business that’s not really a startup, because the technology is proven and has global scale and great investment behind it. It’s just a really unique time for the company, with a huge opportunity to grow in the region,” Silverstone said, adding that faster broadband was one of the things that delivers the growth companies are seek.
“For example, it was only when we gained access to faster internet speeds, such as through the nbn™ network, that we were able to compete on a global scale. Some think that up until the last few years, Australia has been behind and that business has suffered for it,” he recounts
“Across the country, Australia’s big challenge is distance. But I think Australia, as a culture, is pretty fast to adopt technology in general. I think it’s the infrastructure challenge that we face at the moment.
“Our economy has been booming on the basis of resources. It’s only really now that we’ve become a bit more focused on how we transition the economy from being so reliant on that, that it becomes more prevalent to think about things like this.”
This transition and greater focus on innovative infrastructure is what is helping businesses like Eventbrite flourish locally.
“We’re a [business] that relies on people accessing the internet to be able to use it – both from an organiser perspective, giving people the tools to organise an event and sell it online, as well as the consumer perspective — to be able to find events they want to go to and purchase and attend them using our online platform, Silverstone said.
“So, accessing internet that makes that as easy and efficient as possible is really the core of supporting our business.”
Bringing people together
Silverstone rejects the notion that the online landscape, particularly as it gets faster and more immersive, is pushing people further apart socially.
“What we see is that technology is helping to drive a boom in live experiences. One, because live experiences remain an innate desire and drive for humans. People are inherently social, whether they’re doing that on an online platform or face-to-face,” he said.
“Secondly, because of technology and social platforms, people are building up these digital portraits of themselves. They’re also consuming everyone else’s digital portraits and it’s driving this fear of missing out, or FOMO.”
“There’s also just an underlying desire to experience things as a social currency. So we see it far from detracting and people getting further and further away from each other physically, it’s actually going in the opposite direction. It’s driving more connectedness.”
Essential business tools
Being a global brand, fast internet is also imperative to being able to run the business effectively.
“For me it’s all about efficiency. A big part of my day is video conferencing and sharing files and things like that. Video conferencing started to come in years ago, but the technology was never quite there… now it’s closer to an in-person meeting.”
“What that means is that you’re less reliant on sending 10 emails or trying to set up multiple calls – you can more of what is akin to a face to face meeting to just explain things to each other, collaborate more effectively. I really think that’s a big change for a multinational business or a business that has customers internationally.”
Silverstone is of the belief that this innovation is important to all modern businesses.
“Now we’re so much more reliant on technology because every business is essentially a technology business, whether you like it or not. It’s such a core part of how you operate. The easier and more efficient you make that the more successful you can be, basically because it’s not inhibiting the speed at which you can operate at.”
This article was proudly sponsored by the nbn™ network, click here to see if the nbn network is available in your area.
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