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Daniel Ek Quotes

Daniel Ek

Daniel Ek quotes: Sir Spotify’s billion dollar thoughts.

“Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we stumble.  The constant is that we believe we are still early in our journey and we have room to learn and grow.”

“Ask yourself: given everything you have to do, is there a way that we can make this better?”

“The value of a company is the sum of the problems you solve.”

“For what it’s worth: I think that every great company has at least three near-death experiences.”

“Many people talk about the willingness to have failures, but I hate failures.  I don’t think you should strike to make failures.  I think it’s okay to make mistakes, but by the time they become real failures, you probably should have discovered them.”

“The way I think about this is that we constantly must make bets where we could be wrong about the tactics, but hopefully we wouldn’t be wrong about the goal.  If we are quick and agile, we can move fast to fix things.  So, we did make mistakes along the way but the whole project didn’t end up becoming a failure.”

“I think we are definitely trying to find our way, but we never liked doing 100 things at once and hope for the best.  I can’t even come up with even 100 different goals, so I’d rather make a few strategic bets and make sure that we don’t fail on those.  That, I think, is a very important distinction that I don’t see startup entrepreneurs getting.  Failure is not something you should strive for.  Making mistakes is okay, if you make them quick and cheap.”

“If you miss your window… things can go wrong terribly and become very expensive.”

“People think that creativity is this free spirit that has no boundaries.  No, actually the most creative people in the world schedule their creativity.  That’s the irony.  So I try to do the same.”

“There are many phases through a company’s existence where you, as the founder, must wear many different hats, and that’s really hard.  You must be versatile as a person to be able to do that.  I think this is what people get wrong.”

“We led with our conviction rather than rationale, because rationale said it was impossible.  We bet our personal fortunes, and sometimes we bet the entire company.”

“Cut through all the bullsh*t and focus on what is important, which is creating the best possible product and creating the best possible value for customers.  Those things, and building a team to do it.”

“If you choose the first people you hire very carefully, you’ll pass the first ‘life or death’ phase of your company.  The second thing is getting that team to fulfill the right mission.  ‘Mission’ would probably be translated into ‘being stubborn on the vision and the problem you are trying to solve, but being flexible on the details of how you are solving that problem.’  Those are the two most important things.”

“You have to screen for factors like passion when recruiting.  Sometimes the mission itself can be interpreted differently by individuals.”

“It’s hard to criticize someone who’s hugely successful.”

“I believe in this day and age that you need to be very, very clear with your brand, what you are for consumers, in order for them to take it up.  And the best experience wins.”

“Put your consumers in focus, and listen to what they’re actually saying, not what they tell you.”

“With Twitter and other social networking tools, you can get a lot of advice from great people.  I learn more from Twitter than any survey or discussion with a big company.”

“In order for a service to be social, you’ve really got to start from the ground up.  The fact that almost a third of the U.S. population have even heard of Spotify is really because they’ve seen it on Facebook and friends have been sharing.”

“I’m just interested in building a company that doesn’t necessarily change lives but adapts people’s behavior.”

“For the first time now there’s an ecosystem around it with capital and experience that can actually help guide entrepreneurs… the number one advice I tell everyone is ‘don’t sell,’ because that’s the biggest problem we have.  All these things could grow gigantic if you just kept the course and kept doing what you’re doing.”

“I think there is definitely that opportunity of taking the shows that are working really well in different geographies and translating them across the world.”

“At the end of the day, we want to be where our users are.”

“I had two passions growing up: one was music, one was technology.  I tried to play in a band for a while, but I was never talented enough to make it.  And I started companies.  One day came along and I decided to combine the two – and there was Spotify.”

“For me, as someone growing up in a working-class suburb in Stockholm, I couldn’t afford all the music.  So back in ’98, ’99, I was really thinking about how I could get all the music and do it in a legal way… while at the same time compensating the artist.”

“At the end of the day, I want the music industry to be larger than what it is today.”

“There are half a billion people that listen to music online and the vast majority are doing so illegally.  But if we bring those people over to the legal side and Spotify, what is going to happen is we are going to double the music industry and that will lead to more artists creating great new music.”

“Music isn’t like news, where it’s what happened five minutes ago or even 10 seconds ago that matters.  With music, a song from the 1960s could be as relevant to someone today as the latest Kesha song.”

“We kind of look at music as something very natural in people’s lives.  I mean, most of us can relate to music in some sort of shape and form, and if you think about it, most of us remember the first time we kissed someone, what kind of music was playing or the song that was playing on our friend’s birthday.”

“I have no doubt that there will be ups and downs as we continue to innovate and establish new capabilities.  Nothing ever happens in a straight line – the past 10 years have certainly taught me that.  My job is to ensure that we keep our foot on the pedal during the ups, so that we don’t become complacent, and that we continue to stay the course with a firm grip on the wheel during the downs.”

“People just want to have access to all of the world’s music.”

“We really do believe that we can improve the world, one song at a time.”

“I had always wanted to belong, and I had been thinking that this was going to get solved when I had money, and instead, I had no idea how I wanted to live my life.  And no one teaches you what to do after you achieve financial independence.  So I had to confront that.”

“I was deeply uncertain of who I was and who I wanted to be.  I really thought I wanted to be a much cooler guy than what I was.”

“I was born in Sweden, and in Sweden we are known for the piracy services.”

“Buying sports cars, going to expensive nightclubs, spraying people with champagne and things like that – what I learned is that it wasn’t for me, and, in fact, I feel pretty empty after doing that.”

“I get to meet really interesting people.”

“I’m not an inventor.  I just want to make things better.”

“Grow up and get your priorities right!  People talk a lot about the culture, and they talk about the culture when it changes or [they] want the culture to remain like what it was when it began.  I was 23 when I started our company; I am 33 now.  I was single and 23 and spraying champagne on people in bars in downtown Stockholm.  Today I am semi-boring.  I have two kids at home, I go home and watch Homeland and do emails, fall asleep and start over again.  The point being is that I am a different person.  I think I roughly have the same values but I have grown and matured.”

“I used to think that people who went and picked up their kids from daycare were losers and were checking out too early.  That’s the truth.  Whereas today I have a totally different appreciation for how and why that is important and why a rich work-life balance is super-important.  The company culture changes over time as you, as a founder or a CEO, also change with the company.”

“People do better things and are more creative when their life is balanced.”

“Remember, tomorrow is just another day in your journey to fulfill your mission.”

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