Pandora was never the darling of Silicon Valley. Ever.
It never had the hype of Spotify, the scale of a hot social app, or the vision of Netflix. And yet, what it has always had is a leadership team that would not quit and a passionate user base who wouldn’t quit on the product either.
You hear a lot about the great entrepreneurs not giving up… but you hear less about founders pitching 348 investors before they got a yes, less about founding teams who went years without pay, less about founders who personally racked up half a million in debt trying to stay afloat. It took three acts of Congress to save Pandora at one point… and that was when a grassroots campaign by its users bailed the company out. More people complained that Congress might kill Pandora, than about the Iraq War.
Pandora has had its ups and downs as a publicly traded company. But to even get to that place took more conviction than I’ve seen most entrepreneurs have in nearly 20 years of covering tech.
Back in 2014, I sat down in Vegas with Tim Westergren and Tom Conrad for a Pando Monthly interview. Here's an edited transcript in which they discuss early challenges, the tensions between streaming services and artists, the arduous battles in Congress, and offer some crucial advice to help other entrepreneurs get through tough times...