Case Study

Tech Leadership Q&A with Seat Unique’s Phillipa Hicks

Featured Images: Seat Unique

TheTicketingBusiness speaks to Seat Unique co-founder and head of product, Phillipa Hicks, the female leader redefining industry norms and disrupting the premium ticketing industry.

Seat Unique is pioneering a revolution in the ticketing and hospitality industry. By seamlessly blending technology and addressing the key challenges of accessing tickets, Seat Unique provides access to unforgettable experiences for fans and unrivalled revenue opportunities for rightsholders.

At the core of the business is co-founder and head of product Phillipa Hicks. Phillipa is a trailblazing force in the world of tech, recognised as a prominent rising star in the industry. Phillipa’s leadership and innovation has propelled her into the spotlight, where she stands as a distinguished female leader making waves in the tech space. 

With her innovative approach and commitment to driving change, Phillipa is a shining example of the growing group of women shaping the future of technology and redefining the industry. Her journey is not just about breaking barriers, but also creating pathways for the next generation of female tech leaders to follow.

We spoke to Phillipa about her journey in creating one of the most exciting products in the experience economy space. 

Tell us about your role within Seat Unique.

PH: With the experience economy booming and customers seeking exceptional online experiences, my role is pivotal in creating a cutting-edge product that caters to these demands. It’s about delivering unforgettable moments to our users, unlocking revenue opportunities for our partners, and ultimately driving the success of Seat Unique.

So, quite a significant role then! What would you say the common misconceptions about your role are?

PH: Where do I start? One common misconception is that my role is solely about adding more features to a product. Although feature development is crucial, it goes beyond that. It involves strategic decision-making, market research, and the prioritisation of initiatives to ensure that we deliver real value to both our users and the company.

It’s also important to dispel the myth that my role is static –  my job isn’t over once a product is developed. The tech landscape is constantly evolving, and as head of product, I continually assess market dynamics, user feedback, and emerging technologies to adapt and evolve our product accordingly.

While technology is a significant part of my role, it’s not the sole focus. Some may think it’s all about the technical aspects, but I also consider user experience, market trends, and overall business strategy to create a well-rounded product.

Can you share your leadership style and approach to leading one of the largest tech organisations in the space?

PH: My leadership style is deeply rooted in collaboration and empowerment. In an organisation like ours, fostering a culture of inclusivity and innovation is paramount. I believe in creating an environment where every team member feels valued, motivated, and inspired to contribute their best ideas.

I recognise that we have a talented and diverse team, each with their unique strengths and perspectives. My role is to facilitate and support them in leveraging those strengths. I provide the necessary guidance and resources while encouraging autonomy and creativity.

In a rapidly evolving industry, adaptability is key. I feel that I lead by example, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth and innovation. I love that we work in a fast-paced environment, and I encourage my team to do the same. Problem-solving is at the core of my approach; I enjoy finding solutions and continuously pushing boundaries.

Ultimately, my leadership style is focused on creating a supportive and dynamic environment where everyone’s contributions are valued and our collective efforts drive  Seat Unique’s success in the ever-competitive tech landscape.

Your team is 25-strong and based across Europe, how have you applied your leadership approach to international teams?

PH: Managing teams across the globe is an exciting and rewarding challenge. My approach is built on the principles of communication, collaboration, and adaptability. We leverage technology to bridge geographical gaps and create a cohesive global team. It’s about harnessing the collective power of our global talent pool to drive Seat Unique’s success on a global scale.

Could you provide insights into the architecture of Seat Unique’s product?

PH: We have over 50 enterprise partners using our product, so you can see we have invested significantly in our technology. We’ve actually invested over £3m (€3.5m/$3.8m) into our tech stack! One of the key things that drives our product is our commitment to making data-driven decisions. This means that we are continuously looking at data to improve our product’s performance and features. We don’t just rely on our assumptions, though. We use multiple testing tools to ensure we’re making informed decisions. It’s this approach that ensures my team can enhance our product continually and rapidly. 

With any product, the key for me is to have scalability and robustness in mind. Because of this, we host our infrastructure on AWS ensuring reliability and scalability as we continue to grow. But beyond that, scalability and robustness is central to all elements of the product.  We’ve invested heavily in an API-led approach, and our front end is optimised for fast and easy purchases, ensuring all premium live event experiences begin the moment you purchase your ticket. 

We consistently update our tech stack to remain competitive in the evolving landscape of the ticketing industry. Our Value Based Pricing algorithm, for instance, allows us to maximise inventory and optimise inventory management for the benefit of our users.

You mentioned you are working with over 50 enterprise partners, how do you manage that?

PH: Managing over 50 enterprise partners is a dynamic and collaborative effort. It’s about building strong, mutually beneficial relationships that drive success for both Seat Unique and our partners.

Data plays a significant role in our partnership management strategy. We leverage data-driven insights to tailor our solutions for partners. By analysing performance metrics and market trends, we can fine-tune our offerings to maximise the value our partners receive by working with us.

We believe that collaboration extends beyond communication and data analysis. That’s why we actively engage with our partners in co-creating strategies and initiatives that drive growth and deliver exceptional experiences to our users. It’s all about working together to identify opportunities and seize them effectively.

As a consumer-focused business, how have you created a customer-centric strategy?

PH: The customer is at the heart of everything we do at Seat Unique and our investment in technology is instrumental in ensuring a seamless user experience. 

A user-friendly interface and intuitive design can make or break a customer’s journey. So for me, placing a strong emphasis on UX and UI design is extremely important to ensuring that our product is easy to navigate and provides the information users need quickly. 

At the centre of this is the focus on facilitating quick transactions, whether it’s through a three-click purchase or the effortless payment using a simple thumbprint. Given that 80% of our site traffic originates from mobile devices, we prioritise mobile design. 

We create a mobile-first experience tailored for tech-savvy digital users and then optimise it for desktop and tablet.

Finally looking forward to 2024, what can we expect to see from Seat Unique?

PH: In the ticketing industry, the opportunities are boundless, particularly within the technology sector. The growing experience economy is transforming how consumers engage with live events, and tech-savvy consumers are demanding better online experiences. 

This presents an exciting opportunity for Seat Unique to continue innovating and setting new standards in the industry. We see tremendous potential in leveraging data and cutting-edge technologies to enhance user experiences, streamline ticketing processes, and deliver personalised offerings. 

As we look ahead to 2024, our tech roadmap holds the promise of groundbreaking enhancements, hinting at exciting developments for both our users and marketing efforts. Stay tuned for some game-changing announcements!