Daniel Ek - Enabling Creators Everywhere - [Invest Like the Best, EP. 242]


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Today is a special episode because it marks five years since I released the first episode of Invest Like the Best. Over those years, I’ve learned so much from so many investors and builders, but today’s guest may have taught me the most.

Daniel Ek is the CEO and founder of Spotify, and I find him to be one of the most thoughtful business leaders in the world. Daniel is the perfect guest for this special occasion because he exemplifies the curiosity, humility, leadership, and dogged determination that I think characterizes the best investors and operators.

In our conversation, we discuss the differences between the world of bits and atoms, how Daniel gets up to speed in challenging new fields, and why Europe might be a sleeping giant about to wake. We then bring the discussion back to Spotify, the evolving creator ecosystem, and Daniel’s frameworks for leading the business into its next chapter of growth.

Over the past 5 years, we’ve produced more than 300 of these shows and reached nearly 30 million people. I am deeply thankful to the guests who’ve been willing to share their knowledge with us all and even more thankful to everyone who has taken the time to listen and learn alongside me. This has truly been the greatest pleasure of my career, and I don’t plan on ever stopping this journey.

Now, Please enjoy my conversation with a great friend, Daniel Ek.

For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.


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Past guests include Tobi Lutke, Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger, John Collison, Kat Cole, Marc Andreessen, Matthew Ball, Bill Gurley, Anu Hariharan, and Ben Thompson.

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Show Notes

[00:03:37] - [First question] - Building atoms versus bits and if we’re destined to return to atoms

[00:08:04] - What makes early-stage atoms companies more challenging to build

[00:10:20] - Whether or not we’re starting to see cross-pollinating of infrastructure companies into other sectors

[00:13:00] - His process for learning about new fields when he knows nothing

[00:16:12] - Big and interesting problems that we will need to solve

[00:19:35] - The nature of healthcare’s technological adoption compared to other sectors

[00:24:13] - Downstream unlocks of collecting and observing big pools of data

[00:30:00] - What he has found effective about taking an idea from 0 to 1

[00:33:40] - Lessons learned about compounding change and staying patient

[00:37:17] - History of European technology and its unique regional characteristics

[00:42:40] - Cultural and continental traits that may make Europe a technological leader

[00:45:42] - Characterizing the major lessons learned from his time at Spotify

[00:50:31] - How artists are changing the ways they connect with their fans via Spotify

[00:55:44] - What he would change about the legacy music industry given today’s tools

[01:00:15] - The influence global exposure has on internet companies and creatives

[01:03:02] - Interesting observations about the recent explosion of podcast popularity

[01:07:36] - Working with, carrying, spreading, and maintaining Spotify’s sacred source

[01:12:37] - Ways we can improve and sharpen our decision-making skills

325 episodes