I had what was probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience over the weekend - I managed to score tickets to the sold-out "Gary Burton Quartet Revisited" show at Yoshi's. Burton is considered one of the top vibes players in the world, but as impressive as he is as a performer, it is as an educator nad mentor for young talent that he may make is biggest mark.
One of his best-known "discoveries" was a young Pat Metheny, who joined Burton's quartet in 1974 and went on to a spectacular career. Others include Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone and, more recently, teenage guitar phenom Julian Lage.
I've been a fan of Gary Burton's and Pat Metheny's for twenty-five years - when I was at MIT, I used to go hear Metheny perform at some of the smaller clubs in Inman Square on nights where they would advertise "special guest" (always good to look for those nights...). So the opportunity to see them reunite at Yoshi's, a great club with awesome acoustics and, literally, not a bad seat in the house (Metheny himself has said "I thought clubs like this only existed in the movies"), I had to go. But tickets were sold out. So off to craigslist I went...
Only to find that the tickets for the night I wanted to attend were being sold by a guy in Santa Cruz. No way for a "trusted" transaction; no opportunity to meet up and exchange tickets for cash. So I paypal'd him the money, and believed that he would have the tickets waiting for me at will call. Which, of course, he did. Complete trust. Why?
Well, I figured that your average scammer would not choose to sell tickets for a small sold-out concert at face value as his scam, though I don't really know why I figured that. I guess that the emails we sent back and forth and our brief phone conversation was enough to establish trust.
So what sort of transactions inspire this sort of trust? Hard to say - I know it when I see it. I also bought my Springsteen tickets on Craigslist, but I did it the old fashioned way, exchanging cash for tickets at a mutually convenient meeting spot. Will my friend Auren's new startup solve the trusted transaction issue once and for all? It bears consideration. I know we need more than friend-of-a-friend social networking based transactions - if my friends had extra tickkets for a concert I wanted to see, I'd expect them to ask me :) - and services like StubHub are great, but I'd rather not pay a huge premium for seats (craigslist listings tend to be at face value plus applicable ticketmaster fees, regardless of how good the seats are). Jury's still out, but if you have extra tickets to something I want to see, by all means let me know!