The problem with requiring people to be loud and angry to get things done is that you’re now surrounded by people who are loud and angry.
What makes you feel less bored soon makes you into an addict. What makes you feel less vulnerable can easily turn you into a dick. And the things that are meant to make you feel more connected today often turn out to be insubstantial time sinks – empty, programmatic encouragements to groom and refine your personality while sitting alone at a screen.
There’s no such thing as a niche that’s too small if the people care enough.
If you imagine, clearly and frequently, the worst case scenario, you can work on coming to terms with its consequences. Usually they’re far less dire than your worries would lead you to believe.
One of the things I love so much about working for Sonos is that stuff like this can get made. And what a great idea!
The vast majority of my career has been spent working in and around music and media technology startups. Most recently I ran Operations at a company called Topspin. I was at Topspin for nearly five years, which was longer than I spent at any other company. I learned more about myself, my true strengths and what I wanted to do next than I had previously. It felt like the place where all the things I had learned in my career up to that point were called upon and applied. It was the best job I’d ever had, working with some of the most talented and passionate people. I got way out of my comfort zone and the reward was clarity about my career that I really never had. I owe a lot to Ian, Bob and Andrew for seeing something in me that I hadn’t quite realized in myself. They took a chance and I will never forget that. Topspin was an incredible journey that got me to where I am today.
When I started thinking about what I wanted to do next, I had a priority list. Here are the top five:
1. Feel like the dumbest guy in the room
2. Get out of my comfort zone
3. Be able to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what I do
4. Be passionate about the product
5. Work around people who love what they are doing
There was one company in particular where I could put a check next to every single priority. I did an entire day of interviews and it was immediately clear the company was full of insanely smart people that I would learn a tremendous amount from. The company was 850 people and growing, which easily makes it the largest I’ve ever worked for, but not too big. Everyone I interacted with at the company was amazing and clearly loved what they were doing.
I got up this morning at 6am and drove north along the PCH to Santa Barbara for my first day at Sonos. If I’m going to have a commute, it’s not a bad one and certainly not at that hour. The low clouds, the coast, the ocean, the mountains, the surfers and almost no other cars on the road once you get out of Santa Monica. It was a pretty spectacular way to begin a new chapter in my career and I could not be more stoked about working for one of the most incredible product teams in the world. There’s not another company that is more focused on creating the best music listening experience in people’s homes. When it comes to dream product companies, Sonos is up there with Apple, Patagonia and Nike for me.
I’ll be the Operations team where I will be looking at insights and data to help guide the company on surfacing information back to customers in ways that improve the product experience across software, customer care and retail. It’s a new position, which means I’ll be helping to add even more definition to the role.
This is a dream job. This is the next chapter in my career. Perhaps it’s the next one in yours as well?
A question that avoids a ‘no’, a question that starts a conversation, a question that opens the door to emotion… those are the questions that build careers and create value.