Dissatisfaction, disruption and determination: the three Ds of success


Dissatisfaction is the single greatest driver of innovation. I started Seatwave in 2006 because I was appalled by the existing options for selling or buying sold out tickets, which at the time meant relying on eBay or street touts.

I knew there had to be a better way, so we created Seatwave to provide the solution –  a safe and secure way for fans to buy and sell tickets with real market pricing power. There was a massive gap in the live entertainment market and we stepped into the breach. Four plus years down the line, we are Europe’s leading fan-to-fan ticket exchange offering tickets for events in dozens of countries around the world.

We knew we would create a stir within the live events industry and we welcomed that.  No fewer than 10 different people in the live events business told me they would ‘destroy us’ before we got started – if they’d been silent I would have worried.  Their aggression betrayed the fact that they feared transparency and consumer control.  Like Howard Beale in the classic film Network we were ‘disrupting the natural order of things.’

Disruption and controversy is something many people fear – solely because they have benefitted from stagnation and have something to lose. So if you are sitting on an idea that you think fills a need in the market, or will disrupt an existing one, take the first step and turn it into a reality.

We need less talking and more doing. If we waited for all the lights to turn green before we proceeded we’d never get anywhere.

In the midst of a grinding recession there are so many business opportunities.  Technology is being transformed before our eyes, our capturing and use of energy is at a historic inflection point and as a species we will need crops to yield five times current production in order to feed our planet over the coming 40 years. 

Don’t get me wrong, starting up is not an easy ride and there are many dark days.  The pressure is always on you, the leader, to make it happen, but the rewards can more than make up for the risk if you’re passionate, determined and focused on executing on a sound idea.

What’s more, you will have a hand in changing the commercial face of Britain, and how many people can claim that mantle in their working lives?

Mike Lynch, James Dyson, Mark Zuckerberg – they didn’t wait around for someone’s approval to act – they just went and did it – it’s the only way to make it happen.

Joe Cohen is CEO and founder of Seatwave. For more information, videos and advice for SMEs, visit www.freshbusinessthinking.com