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Featured on Mar 24, 2011

Ben Kessler

"Who you are, what you do, where you're going - it's all a story. Learn how to tell it."


I've been obsessed with technology since an early age. I was never good at math or science, so decided to study business, and marketing. I always thought of myself as an entrepreneur and have found myself lucky enough to experience working with several amazing startups. Currently I'm the Director of Communications at SeatGeek and look at our data to help surface trends within the ticketing industry.

  • Title: Director of Communications, SeatGeek
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Chelsea
  • Contact: Ben Kessler

You say that you’ve always thought of yourself as an entrepreneur.  Have you ever thought about doing your own startup?  If so, what industries interest you as potential opportunities for a new company?

I call myself an entrepreneur because I've always been excited and passionate about taking risks in the world of business. This all started when I was 13 years old and launched my own e-commerce site, Kids my age were really interested in getting their hands on video games from Japan, as they often launched months or years ahead of the U.S. market. I realized that there was no easy way to really obtain these games without going to shady kiosks at the mall, so I built a site I believe on Yahoo! Stores. Unfortunately when it came time to figure out how to actually manage the supply and demand for the games I would sell, things fell apart. Video game distributors I would call about drop shipping to my customers often questioned my high-pitched voice. When one of them asked for my federal tax ID and I had no idea what that was, it was time to throw in the towel.

That said, I'm extremely interested in mobile commerce, and payments, although that space is extremely crowded currently. I've also been toying with ideas around sharing memories in the form of video depending on where you are located at the time. As long as the product is focused on connecting people with the service on a personal, and emotional level, I'm usually very interested.

You are the Editor and Co-Founder of the blog Unbreaded, which is an online publication that features reviews, news, interviews and recipes, exclusively devoted to the craft of fine sandwiches.  As a sandwich expert, can you please direct us to some of your favorite sandwich shops here in New York City and what to order there?

It makes me sad to admit that when I moved to NYC in 2009, Unbreaded sort of fell by the wayside. The site hasn't been updated since last summer, but I vow to figure out a way to bring it back to life sometime soon. Some of my favorite sandwiches include the chicken parm at Torrisi, the smash at The Meatball Shop, the spicy bao from Baoguette, anything from Num Pang, the lamb burger at Breslin, and I'm currently digging on the 3Bs Special burger from Food Parc. It's hard to pick my favorites, but I'm always on the lookout for something new. Sandwich crawl, anyone?

What’s the typical day like for the Director of Communications at SeatGeek like?

We have a fantastic team here at SeatGeek, full of really bright and fun people, so I have to first give a shout out to them. My typical day includes crunching data on the latest sports, and music events and sharing it with industry writers and reporters across the country. We create a lot of awesome content around this data for our partners, and I manage all of our community efforts. I also brew up a pretty mean French press.

We noticed that you were listed in Foodspotting’s Autumn 2010 Super Spotter group and have racked up an impressive 18.975 points on the site to date.  What type of camera do you use for your pictures?  And why do you enjoy taking pictures of your food?

I've got to say, I've been using Foodspotting since the day they launched, and they are most definitely one of my favorite startups out there with an amazing team. In the beginning my photos weren't so hot, as I was shooting them on an iPhone 3G. I upgraded to the iPhone 4 when it launched and the majority of my photos are taken with my phone - the latest build of the Foodspotting app makes it easier than ever to take a photo, spot the food, and get back to digging in. When I'm feeling fancy, or on vacation I shoot with a Canon Rebel XSi with either the standard 18-55 or a 60mm macro lens.

I really enjoy the effort that goes into creating food, and enjoy how it represents the culture, personality, and emotions of the person cooking it. Every dish I eat, except for maybe the occasional Chick-Fil-A sandwich or Chipotle burrito, is a moment I want to remember. My favorite spot to date is also one of my favorite dishes in the entire world - Shrimp & Grits at Hominy Grill in Charleston.

Director of Communications