Absorbing Experience: Mike Janes, MBA’94

From the Spring 2010 edition of Vanderbilt Business

Mike Janes
Mike Janes

The Internet essentially has enabled instant marketing,” says Mike Janes, MBA’94, CEO and Co-founder of FanSnap, a Web-based business that provides an optimized search through hundreds of ticket-purchasing options for sports, concerts and theater events. “Historically marketers would learn about customers through research. Now you can make changes and see instantly how customers react.”

After stints with FedEx, Apple and StubHub, Janes helped launch FanSnap in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2007. The company came about, he says, “because we saw an opportunity to improve the ticket-finding experience.” Janes is a firm believer that nothing is a substitute for the marketing value of a great product.

“One of the recurring things in my career is an incredible focus on getting the product right,” he says. “The best customer acquisition model you can have is an amazing product because satisfied customers will repeat and tell all their friends. Conversely, unhappy customers, who would traditionally tell seven of their friends, now can tell a million people through the Internet.”

His understanding of the customer comes from the fact that he is an admitted event junkie. “My experience and my passions intersect totally, which is part of what has made this so much fun,” he says. “We are our own biggest supporters. There’s no better way to assure quality than to eat your own dog food.”

The importance of combining marketing basics and adaptability in a time of revolutions in technology and presentation is something he learned from his Owen experience. He points to an address that former Dean Sam Richmond gave to incoming students. “He said, ‘The first thing I want to tell you is everything we teach you is going to be obsolete five years from now. It’s not about the specifics. We are here to teach you how to be efficient absorbers of experience,’ ” Janes recalls. “I’ll never forget that, and he was absolutely correct.”

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