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Win-Win is the way to go!

Kevin Kelly

There was national hysteria recently about tickets for Garth Brooks’ concerts in Ireland next July. People camped out for days and nights in awful weather just to be the first in line when these coveted tickets went on sale. The promoters added a third, a fourth and finally a fifth date to meet demand, and there are still people complaining that they didn’t get tickets. In contrast, when five music-loving boys from Brazil wanted to see their favorite bands in their home city they had to create an innovative business to make it happen. It was difficult to get to see good bands in Rio de Janeiro because the promoters were slow to commit to bringing the acts. Bruno Natal, one of the founders of www.wedemand.com, explains “The natives never decide to book for a concert until the day of the gig. If it has been hot all day, they may decide to stay at home. If it was raining, this would also result in a no show. Add in a lack of buzz around town about an event, and as a promoter you were really worried about the outcome. That is why so many music lovers had to travel to Sao Paulo to see their favorite bands at a huge cost. Plane ticket/accommodation and concert ticket could run into a few hundred dollars.” Bruno and his colleagues wanted to be able to offer fans concerts in Rio at a cost of $100. They came up with an ingenious plan. The cost of bringing the act they wanted to see to Rio was €10,000 so they emailed 120 friends hoping to get 100 of them to pay €100 each to see the band. It worked. “In a stadium that held 2000 people, 1000 people turned up. The fans got their money back and we made a little profit,” Bruno recalls. After a while, the model evolved to allow early investors to buy tickets at a discounted rate. If the venue sold out, they would enjoy the experience for free. Bruno points out that people were thrilled to be part of something significant; to be the reason this event happened. “This, with the obvious benefits of enjoying their favorite band at a discount price, made the investment an unmissable opportunity. After conducting two further pieces of research (one answered by more than 6k users, and a focus group) we confirmed that the refund is not what motivates people. Making a concert happen does. So now we are gonna reward the most frequent users with free tickets, sort of like a miles program.” Bruno and the team at www.wedemand.com are excellent examples of xceptional execution of an ordinary idea. “xceptional execution is something that is good for everyone. It balances all the parts of the process. The customer is happy because he/she gets at worse a discounted ticket and potentially a free one to their chosen concert. The band is happy because the platform allows them to see and satisfy demand in cities they may never have thought about visiting. The promoter is happy because the crowdsourcing aspect takes the risk of bringing the band to the venue.” In common with many of the Xceptionalists interviewed for Do!, Bruno and his colleagues didn’t set out with a clear vision and a fancy business plan. “Things evolved in line with the demands placed by others on us. So for example the business plan was done at the time we were seeking investment. The company was self-funded from the start, living off the profits of the organized events. The profits were continually reinvested.”   WeDemand TakeAways

  • Don’t make finding a solution a goal. Find a problem first – especially one that you experience yourself.
  • Satisfying a customer’s need for significance could be your unique selling point.
  • Execution dampens fears.
  • The power of friendships to build a business.
  • No need for a plan, vision or values – just DO.
  • Word of mouth both online and off is a powerful tool.
  • Time for timeout in early startup days can be a challenge but passion can see you through.
  • Never stop focusing on developing a rich customer experience