Want to Innovate in Ticketing? Start with “Why.”

Matthew Zarracina
4 min readSep 13, 2022
Credit: Khunkorn Laowisit — ”https://www.vecteezy.com/free-photos"

Every product and every company that has ever changed the world has done so by clearly communicating why they’re doing it.

It’s a concept that author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek laid out in a TED Talk over a decade ago, and it’s one that continues to hold true across industries from tech and entertainment to transportation.

To illustrate the concept, Sinek points to Apple. The company doesn’t’ ispire legions of early adopters to stand in line for hours because they build a nice phone. They don’t hold a huge chunk of the home computer industry simply because they create beautiful, easy-to-use computers.

Apple’s products caught on because the company started with why they do what they do: they challenged people to “think different.” Consumers who also believed in this why lined up to buy Apple products, which were so well-designed and user-friendly that they innovated entire industries, from digital phones to mp3 players and streaming music and beyond.

Our “Why:” Establishing Trust in Ticketing

In a recent piece on trust in ticketing, I laid out the equation that we believe solves so many of the problems facing the industry today:

Trust = Identity + Accountability

Identity: who is in possession of a legitimate ticket?

Accountability: have the rules associated with that ticket been followed?

This is our “why.” It is both a key differentiator and a critical competitive advantage for us. Our team saw opportunity in the problems plaguing ticketing: clunky paper ticketing and outdated digital ticketing systems that are insecure and impossible to track, resulting in headaches for venues and audience members alike.

Our core belief has always been that the problems in ticketing boil down to one issue: trust. Since the company’s inception, our mission and our why has been to find ways to establish trust in ticketing.

The vision of trust in ticketing has guided our team in everything we’ve done since True Tickets’ inception. It’s also a vision that’s deeply held by early adopters of our product.

Always Moving Towards Trust

Our journey has been one with many steps, and there are many more to go. What has remained consistent over our 5+ year journey is a compelling “why” focused on improving trust in ticketing through identity and accountability. That focus allowed us to evolve from a B2C mobile application to a B2B enterprise SaaS infrastructure solution while staying true to the vision.

Identity and accountability were core to the initial production run of 24 securely-delivered digital tickets for a performance of Hamilton at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami in February of 2020. Identity and accountability are core to the rules-based ticket sharing feature we released in August of this year. Identity and accountability will remain our North Star as we explore our next journey: rules-based marketplace infrastructure.

Evolving an Industry

With trust in ticketing, we see the same patterns playing out as have happened in past industry-wide innovations. A core group of customers who share the same beliefs are the first to get in line for a new product. As the rest of the industry sees the benefits being reaped by these early adopters, they become less willing to accept the status quo.

Secure digital ticketing, with identity and accountability at the core of its DNA, has the ability to combine convenience, security, and data. It provides contact-free scanning — something that has become a plus across many industries in this post-covid world. It allows venues to quickly address and deal with fraud. It effortlessly and organically gathering data about who actually attends each show is another factor that makes life easier on both sides of the venue-audience relationship.

All these capabilities allow venues to better target the right individuals with more confident knowledge of their patrons. That confidence stems from not only venues having more data, but having more consistent, standard, accurate data. That means jazz-lovers can rest assured that they’ll be looped in about that Keiko Matsui show, while musical theater fans will be first in the (digital) line for Hamilton tickets. When a venue can trust their tickets, their patrons can too.

The “Why” is What Makes You Special

Apple acted on its core belief, creating beautiful and easy-to-use machines. Many competitors attempted to replicate their products and failed. That will never stop, people will always try to replicate “what” you do, but without the “why,” they will only serve to validate your efforts — rarely anything more.

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Matthew Zarracina

Co-founder & CEO of True Tickets | reader, rower, & former pilot | amateur ball player & guitarist | full-time husband & dad | intellectually curious by nature