Leadership / 02.07.22
Esteban Stalgis Finds Passion Through Ticketing, Music, Family and Friends
“I never give up,” says Esteban Stalgis, Founder and General Manager of TuEntrada. “I like challenges, and I always raise the bar.”
What this means in personal terms is that, although he has had to leave some of his passions behind him because of bad knees (he now enjoys watching his kids play rugby instead of playing himself), Esteban still doesn’t hesitate to tackle Argentina’s rugged Sub-Andean Mountain ranges on his bike, even if, as he ages, he might have to trail a bit behind the pack. While this has led him to concede that “not everybody is a champion” and that “second or third places are as good as number one,” his is a professional success story. “Leaders,” he says, “should focus on their achievements and not their failures.”
Esteban and friends in Jujuy, Argentina.
Esteban says his most notable career achievement was establishing the first ticketing company in Argentina. In 1995, he founded Ticketek’s Argentinian operations after spending the first eight years of his professional life working in systems for DuPont. His most memorable career moment came soon after. “[It was] the first ticket we sold using a ticketing system, Dec. 15, 1996. The show was David Copperfield. I started from scratch: I brought the system in my bag from Australia [where Ticketek is headquartered], found the team, set up everything, and then [we went] live, [got] the first call and [the first] ticket [was] sold.”
From that moment on, Esteban was hooked on ticketing. After 12 years as President of the Argentinian operations for Ticketek, during which time he expanded services to several neighboring countries in South America, he left in 2008 and helped to found TuEntrada in Buenos Aires.
“We sell entertainment. [It] can be a concert, a sport event or a theatrical production. The job and the challenges are always changing. Not all events are the same. Not every day is similar.”
While he has never had a mentor per se, Esteban had a colleague in Colombia early on in his ticketing career who was to become what he describes, charmingly, as “my lighthouse,” or guiding light.
“I started very early in this business, and I learn something from everybody. But I had somebody that is my lighthouse, Eduardo Olea from TuBoleta. We have been in the same business for many years, and we always go to INTIX together.”
Esteban continues, “Every INTIX has something special, and it is always great to spend time with colleagues. I think I went to more than 15 INTIX [conferences with Eduardo]. My first time, it was called BOMI; [that was] ages ago.”
Esteban and Eduardo at INTIX 2011 in San Francisco.
Indeed, over the years, Esteban has attended more INTIX conferences than he can remember, gaining knowledge and building relationships. Most of all, he says, he has learned to “listen, listen, listen” to find out who the movers and shakers are and what trends are developing in the industry.
INTIX 2022, Orlando, from left: Shawn Robertson, Rebecca Throne, Lulu Lurline and Maureen Andersen pose with Esteban.
It is an industry that is rooted in Esteban’s own love for music and live events. The talent he would most like to have is “singing and playing an instrument, guitar or piano.” And he recalls one concert as being particularly memorable.
“Peter Gabriel and Sting together in the Madison Square Garden. I went with my wife to New York just to see my [favorite] musicians together and live. I remember I cried from the first song to the last one. [It was] amazing.”
He sees that same delight in the people who attend live events that TuEntrada tickets. This is, he says, what he enjoys most about our industry.
“The joy of the people when they are in an event. When you see a stadium with more than 50,000 people, that they had some sort of relation with you buying a ticket, and then [you] see them all singing and enjoying [the show]. It is priceless. The feeling from when they start accessing the venue until the show ends, it is something special. I feel responsible for each [attendee] — if they can access the gate, if they can find their seat, and if they have the experience that they expect when they decide to go to the event.”
He continues, “Enjoying any international big gig in Argentina is different. People are very passionate, and it is amazing when they sing an English song when we are not an English-speaking country.”
When Esteban isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and kids, who are the greatest loves of his life. And there is nowhere else he would rather live than Buenos Aires. “I love my house,” he says. “I am happy where I live.”
Esteban’s more settled life is in sharp contrast to that of his father, who was born in Lithuania, joined the army and never went back to his home in Poland, finished the war in Italy, lived in England, moved to Argentina and died in Australia. Esteban proudly recounts that his dad “fought for the Polish … in [the World War II battle of] Monte Cassino, Italy.” Esteban adds, “We never had the time to talk about his complete journey,” and if Esteban had three wishes today, his first would be to bring back his father for a day.
Esteban’s father, right.
While Esteban’s own life has been more settled, he does love to travel and has visited Italy himself in these more peaceful times, mountain biking and no doubt enjoying a glass of his favorite red wine. His favorite place to visit, though, is much closer to home.
“Punta del Este in Uruguay. I spent time [there] with my parents when I was young, and it’s a place I still go with my family and friends. The beach is incredible.”
When it comes to colleagues, Esteban values honesty, fellowship, listening and passion in every decision. Throughout his ticketing career, he has had the pleasure of working with several professionals with these qualities and more.
“I [have] worked with four incredible people [Diego Mendaña, Lucrecia Mendia, Patricio Gauna and Justita Bellati, who is missing in the photo]. We have been working together for the last 27 years! They are the warriors who put everything together, and they support me always. They can make a success even out of my bad decisions. They are a great part of everything we have achieved.”
But who is this “man’s best friend”? Well, that’s someone really special. “My dog, Denver! A beauty Staffy [Staffordshire Bull Terrier]!” shares Esteban, with obvious pride.
From his own canine companion to the dogged determination that comes with ticketing, Esteban sees positivity all around him.
“[I am inspired by] every event that I am involved [in]. Somebody decided to invest time and money in an event, and we [are] a very important part of the success. It is great, the feeling that somebody decides to choose and trust your team.”
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Tags: ticketing pros , INTIX 2022