Background: Where are you from, how did you end up at Spotify, etc.
I was born in Buffalo, NY but have lived in Philadelphia, Virginia, NYC, and now San Francisco. Before working at Spotify, I was managing the developer community for a small startup called SimpleGeo. I was dead set on moving to New York and Spotify didn’t have someone like me yet, so I reached out to some friends that I knew there and told them to hire me.
What is your role at Spotify?
My title is Global Hacker Advocate, which stifles customs officers when I travel internationally. I manage the community of developers, big and small. I travel around the globe and attend “music hack days” where engineers, designers, and business minds gather to build something awesome in a weekend. The best hack that uses Spotify gets two free years of our premium service as a prize. I had never been out of the country before working at Spotify, but now my passport is almost full.
What is your most memorable concert?
My most memorable concert was Kanye West’s first tour in 2004. I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech and my friend Torey and I waited outside for a while to get in. Cee-Lo Green opened up with an explosive set and the crowd was ready to see Kanye. After about an hour of DJ music, we were starting to worry. Why would Kanye come to Southwest Virginia to open his first tour? At 11:00 p.m. we were about to leave and then there was an announcement saying Kanye just landed at the airport and is on his way. The crowd got very amped up and about 15 minutes later, he showed up. Since campus curfew was midnight, the show was short, but it’s still my favorite live music experience ever. He was very humble and stuck around afterward to sign autographs.
What has been one of your coolest moments while working at Spotify?
I think one of the best moments was going to Sweden during the midsummer festival and dancing around the maypole with my colleagues. Second best moment was last night: we had a Christmas party in NYC.
What about Spotify do you love most?
Spotify is the best place I’ve ever worked. Everyone is super talented and smart. The office culture is laid back but everyone works really hard. I watched the NYC office grow from 20 to 250 and it still felt like a startup. Now I’m in the San Francisco office and we have about 25 people. I also really love working for a music company, alongside other passionate music fans. I enjoy working on a product that I use everyday and something that changes peoples lives for the better.
Which album would you say defined your adolescence and why?
I think Jay-Z’s 1998 release “Volume 2: Hard Knock Life” changed my music habits forever. I was very much into rock back then, playing guitar all the time. After hearing that album, I got into hip hop. I went back and bought Jay-Z’s previous albums and started getting into the lyrics and production of hip hop.
What song do you have on repeat right now?
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J – Dark Horse
If you had to describe yourself in one song, what song would it be?
Haim ft. Kid Cudi – Red Eye
If you could choose to be in any band throughout history, which would it be?
What is the best band name ever?