The Digital Doorman

Whitney leaning against a railing on a downtown street

Welcome! (if you fit the vybe)

Buying a ticket shouldn’t be a boring chore. If you and your friends are excited to experience an event, ticketing shouldn’t feel like a rip off with added fees and tiny details-section at the page’s footer.

Ticketing companies sell tickets online via browsers and apps. In nightlife, the significant players are Eventbrite, a global ticketing platform for all types of events; and Tablelist and Night Out, nightlife-specific ticketing platforms.

Ticketing companies have one goal - sell to anyone who’s willing to buy. Their strategy is to index all available events without emphasis on the event’s organizer or the fit between the energy at the event and the attendee’s profile. By doing that, they offer access to all. Unfortunately, accessibility to anyone is terrible for private events and parties. Clubs value repeat guests, and they need to ensure that everyone inside is having a great time. Making sure people inside are getting along was the job of the doorman; he used to select the right mix of people from the line; some should be fun, others beautiful, and plenty should be wealthy. The right combination of people is vital.

At the doorman's discretion, sometimes a broke skater kid that has $1 in his pocket but looks fabulous and is a charmer is preferred over the half-broke intern in a suit. The suit isn't going to entertain other people. Meanwhile, the skater kid will make the others at the party have fun and want to come back. Hence in nightlife, the way you make money, in the long run, is to always say yes to entertainment, even if that means sometimes saying no to a guy with a suit who will spend $100 at the bar. Being greedy will put you out of business!

Fortunately, the current ticketing companies don't have any way of filtering people based on the same criterion that the doorman does. Thus they don't help the clubs and event organizers ensure there is a right mix of people. Therefore they are not loved by the industry and are no substitute to the doormen or the promoters; instead, they are a mere supplement. Online tickets are generally used for clubs to sell a fraction of the general entry tickets, and to sell expensive high-end tables. I don't expect that these companies will grow to any significant size or have a monopoly in the nightlife industry in the future. To bring nightlife to the digital economy, nightlife ticketing companies will have to do more than just index all parties. They will have to do the job of the doorman. And this is what Vybe does.