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Summary:

I have been following Spotify, the hot startup of the moment, from the days when founder Daniel Ek used to share office space with one of our neighbors on Pier 38 in San Francisco. Since then, we have moved to new offices and Daniel’s company has […]

I have been following Spotify, the hot startup of the moment, from the days when founder Daniel Ek used to share office space with one of our neighbors on Pier 38 in San Francisco. Since then, we have moved to new offices and Daniel’s company has raised tons of money, is valued at a rumored $250 million, has become a media darling and, most importantly, a consumer favorite. It now has more than 100 employees and 6 million users. These are signs of a startup barreling its way towards success. But apparently that wasn’t enough for Andreas Ehn, Spotify’s chief technology officer, who has left the company. Yesterday was his last day on the job. Whenever one of the early employees leaves a hot startup, the first question that pops to my mind: What gives? Time to hit the phones!

  1. Daniel is brilliant. He is succeeding in a crowded field where all others fail. He probably had to ask the CTO to leave because he could not handle the growth.As an entrepreneur I know that is always best to let employees say that they resigned.

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    1. Spotify doesn’t currently have technical scalability issues. Naturally, when the service grows another two orders of magnitude, the architecture will have to be redone, but that goes for any system, unless it was irresponsibly over-engineered from the start (and probably then too).

      I leave the dev team and the platform in the hands of a very competent VP Engineering and a new CTO will start in a while. I’m not worried about the company.

      As for my departure, it’s entirely amicable. It’s been three amazing years at Spotify, but I’m increasingly unable to do the things I’m passionate about within the company, and want to try something else. No hard feelings.

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  2. ditto to daniel – looks like andreas is sharp but has clearly never handled a project or system of this scale and they likely have gone out to search for a very experience cto – too bad andreas couldn’t find an alternate role there, but they have some serious infrastructure and growth goals ahead and a former project manager with 2 years leading developing may not be the absolute best pick for the future…but andreas, if you’re reading this and poking your head around, drop me a note!

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    1. Dave

      Agreed on their major infrastructure needs and how much work is needed to be done. I don’t know Andreas, so I can’t speak for his technical capabilities. He has gotten them this far, so that makes him very competent.

      Anyway, the other explanation is that the had to absolutely go out and do his own thing.

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  3. Om, you are a nice guy and certainly well intentioned but this mystery is easily solved. This guy was pushed because he cannot handle the job. I have done this before — that is, I’ve had to fire a founding CTO because he couldn’t handle the job. We came up with some nonsensical spin but we all knew the truth. No one leaves a good company before a liquidation event unless they are pushed. That is a fact.

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  4. [...] the original post: Spotify CTO Tunes Out, Leaves the Company By admin | category: cto | tags: cto, daniel, days, departure, spotify, streaming, [...]

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  5. [...] Spotify Names New CTO By Paul Bonanos December 1, 2009 No Comments 0 0 0 0 Spotify didn’t take long to fill its vacant chief technology officer position. The European streaming music provider said today that Oskar Stål, who spent eight years at mobile commerce service provider mBlox, has joined the company as CTO. Stål’s arrival comes just over a month after the abrupt but reportedly amicable departure of Andreas Ehn as CTO. [...]

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