AGENT Q&A with Eddie Robb, Founder of Make It SocialLast Updated: May 1, 2020
“I start each day by making my bed. Once you’ve done one thing successfully you’re off to a good start!” Eddie Robb, founder of social booking site Make It Social, speaks to AGENT about his startup and the importance of getting the day off to the right start!
Eddie Robb, Founder of Make It Social, the startup that is transforming ticket booking for live entertainment events throughout the UK, may be at the cutting edge in his chosen field, but he has a timelessly simple formula for getting every day off to the right start.
“I start each day by making my bed. Once you’ve done one thing successfully you’re off to a good start!”
“I start each day by making my bed,” Eddie Robb tells AGENT. “Once you’ve done one thing successfully you’re off to a good start!” And naturally, this also ensures that you end the day as tidily as you’ve begun it, with perfect closure, ensuring that “you’ve got a well made bed to look forward to at night”.
Getting the simple fundamentals right has been very much the ethos that has governed Eddie Robb’s company Make It Social since he set the business up.
In short, Make It Social helps make it easier for groups of friends or family members to overcome the headaches of booking tickets for any event as a social group. Not only is it hassle for the de facto ‘organiser’ within the group, but more seriously, it results in up to 25% of group bookings failing to covert. The beautifully simple solution developed by Eddie Robb and Make It Social is to integrate with the organisers’ website to enable customers to invite groups to events, and to manage these groups, but, most crucially, to pay for their tickets individually without leaving the website.
What Eddie Robb spotted was that while social media platforms had made people more connected than ever before, online ticket booking checkouts had remained static since the 1990s, leaving one person in a group to organise and select how many spots to book and to bear the transaction cost on their credit card. Make It Social is beginning to change all that. Founded in Edinburgh in 2013 with just five employees, by 2017 Make It Social had grown its team to some 15 members, and its partnerships include some of the biggest names in event organisation, ticketing and promotion, including ATG and Ticketmaster.
12 Questions for Eddie Robb
Eddie Robb spoke to AGENT about Make It Social and looked back on his earliest ambitions and experiences in business. He also speaks about his role models and the business challenges he has faced, and offers some pointers for young startups setting out in business today for the first time.
1. Briefly tell us about your business and your business goals.
Make it Social takes the hassle out of organising group events, making sure the organiser isn’t out of pocket. Our software enables you to book as a group but pay individually. This means it’s easier to meet up in the real world and that’s what we’re all about – making things truly social using an online vehicle. We want people to spend time together and invest in relationships.
2. What age were you when you realised you wanted to run your own business?
I’ve been business driven from a young age and probably decided I want to run my own business when I was about 7! I loved playing computer games like ‘Transport Tycoon, ‘Theme Park, ‘Theme Hospital’ – I loved the challenge of trying to build the biggest, best, most successful enterprise. Crucially though, I was motivated by building something that benefitted large numbers of people – that’s what really excited me and still does today.
3. Who are your business icons and inspirations?
Before I started my own business my icon was Richard Branson. I read all his books and he inspired me to go for it. These days I am influenced more by those around me here in Edinburgh. Gareth Williams, of Skyscanner, or Oli Norman, Itison, are people I can go meet with and discuss ideas. I also draw inspiration from sporting stars Andy Murray – I admire the way he relentlessly pursues his goals and puts in the hard work to get there. I can relate to that.
4. What has been your biggest challenge in business, and how did you surmount it?
Balancing demand with resources has been challenging. We have been very successful in generating demand for our software but this has meant growing our development team which has taken time and the wait has been frustrating. However, we now have capacity to meet demand and are starting to deliver results.
5. What gives you the most satisfaction in business?
It’s an amazing feeling seeing people seamlessly using our software and having a great time as a result.
6. Work-Life balance: is it possible? How do you achieve it?
I think a work-life balance is essential and so most weekends I turn off emails and plan things with friends. No one does their best work exhausted!
7. What is the first thing you do every day?
I start each day by making my bed. Once you’ve done one thing successfully you’re off to a good start! You also know that you’ve got a well made bed to look forward to at night!
8. What screen saver picture is currently on your phone?
My screen saver is the harbour of a small village on the west coast of Ireland. That’s where my Dad was brought up and where we spent all our summer holidays. I was there in June with my parents but refuse to name it! We all need some sanctuary!
9. What is the most important app on your mobile phone, and why?
Recently I’ve been doing a bit of an app clear out – we spend so much time on useless things. I use WhatsApp most frequently but mostly to arrange things in the real world – what Make it Social is all about.
10. What is the last thing you Googled?
Hotels in Baltimore, prior to attending an international ticketing conference where we were trying to develop Make it Social into the USA.
11. What item do you never leave the house without, and why?
My headphones are a must – I’m always listening to music. It’s a great way to energise yourself and take your mind off things.
12. What advice would you give to your younger self starting out in business?
I’d tell the younger me to focus. So many things demand our attention and it’s easy to get distracted. I’d also tell me to delegate sooner and play to my strengths. You can’t do everything well but you can work with people who have different skills. Together you can drive things forward.