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Julia Hartz Founded Eventbrite With Her Fiancé. Then She Took His Job.

Category: Business,Finance

How did you wind up at Pepperdine University?

In my senior year of high school, I interned for Dina Ruiz, who was a local anchorwoman in Monterey. She gave me the seedling of an idea that I could become a broadcaster. I did my research and I came up with Pepperdine, but it was incredibly expensive. I got in early admission, and had no way of affording the school. So I signed up for U.C. Santa Barbara.

But my mom said, “If you really want to go to Pepperdine, you should tell them that.” So I wrote them a letter. Then, two days before I had to put down a deposit on U.C.S.B., I got this huge packet in the mail, and it was a complete financial aid package from Pepperdine.

How did you get started in Hollywood?

My first internship was on the set of “Friends,” at the height of the frenzy. My job was to hold the phone, and if it rang, I had to answer it and go find the person who was wanted. That was the worst job for me because A, I hate talking on the phone, and B, I’m kind of shy. I’d be standing there, and the phone would ring, and it would be like, “Hey, it’s Brad, can you get Jen for me?” And I’m like, “This sucks.”

I hated it. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough because of the energy. I’m an energy person. Maybe it was growing up in Santa Cruz or maybe I was just born with it, but human energy, I just feel it so much.

How did you get into tech?

Right after I met Kevin, I started going up to San Francisco on the weekends, and we’d go to parties where the PayPal guys were playing speed chess. Kevin was building Xoom, and he’d come down and practice his pitch deck on me a million times. I was in love, so I’d just sit there staring.

I was working at FX at the time, during this period where product placement started to become a thing. And I would be on the phone with Anheuser-Busch, getting yelled at because we didn’t have the Miller Lite bottle the right way for long enough or whatever. And Denis Leary would be on the other line going, “I’m not getting paid for this.” It was a slow-motion train wreck, and meanwhile, Kevin’s showing me the first YouTube videos, and I’m seeing how quickly things can move.

How did you two start working together?

I found a job at a start-up cable network in San Francisco called Current TV, but they offered me less than what I was making at FX. Kevin said, “You shouldn’t go work for somebody else’s start-up and make less than what you’re worth. You should come do something with me and make no money, and we could put all of our savings into bootstrapping it.” I don’t know why I said yes, but I did. Literally, the next day, I’m pushing sawhorses and plywood into a warehouse in San Francisco, and I was thinking, “I really hope I’m not starting my life and the next phase of my career with a crazy person.”

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