Tim Westergren: How The Band Kept Playing At Pandora - Deepstash

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Tim Westergren discusses his company’s humble beginnings and what it takes to sell your vision.

Tim Westergren: How The Band Kept Playing At Pandora

Tim Westergren: How The Band Kept Playing At Pandora

Starting Greatness


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The music genome project

Tim Westergren was a rock musician before he became a startup founder. His music genome project was the core technology used for Pandora.

Tim Westergren founded Pandora in January 2000. The goal was to "capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level" using a matching algorithm a...

At the start of 2001, they began to stretch their money out and asked employees to defer their salaries. Tim maxed out his 11 credit cards, and they stopped paying their employees at the end of 2001. About 50 people worked for two years without getting paid to get them across the bridge.


The project that wouldn't die

Two things worked in their favour:

  • The product was magical. Everyone was excited about the product they've built. Investors were offered password-protected access to the product.
  • The company was resilient. When the company went through tough ti...

Influencing people

In the early days of Pandora, it was all about bringing together people that were inspired by an idea that mattered.

The key moments in the first 5 years of Pandora were when Tim influenced important people to make decisions that helped them.

You have to be creative to influence peopl...

These are the moments when your startup is dead, and all seems lost.

As a radio company, Pandora operated under a statutory license that let them play all the music without directly licensing the content. But in 2007, the Copyright Royalty Board made a ruling that made the ...

The most common question among startup founders is how to know when is it time to quit. They really want some validation for their decision.

A better mindset is to say, "This is my life. I'm not doing it because I'm guaranteed a reward at the end. I'm doing it because that's what I do."




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