Kapor Capital Fellows visit Pandora

Guest blog by Janine Siegal, Kapor Fellow

There’s always something a little smug about teaching your own parent how to use something.  I use the term smug because it’s sort of like, “Hey thanks for changing my diapers way back when, now let me tap on a four inch wide screen three times and show YOU what’s up!”  See?  Smug.

But that’s how I felt when I showed my dad how to hook up Pandora to his sound equipment in the garage where he conducts the majority of the construction that he’s been doing to my childhood home in the last decade and a half.  No more Kenny G CD’s for THAT guy!  And he’s been a huge fan of it since then.  Needless to say, I was excited to be able to visit Pandora’s headquarters in Oakland with the Kapor Capital Fellows.

So I guess the best way to review Pandora Media Headquarters should go along the lines of how I would look at it as a potential employee or someone who would be interviewing.  The offices take up two floors on 2101 Webster in Oakland, which is great considering that that setup gives almost every employee a “corner office.”  The employees are unbelievably kind, special thanks to Steve, who, in the utmost blind trust, lent me his whole wallet with an access card in it so that I could use the restroom!

It seems like a fun, but hardworking environment.  They’ve got sound stages and full sets of drums in odd corners of the office spaces, as well as some interesting and eclectic artwork scattered throughout.  My favorite space was the “restaurant” area that had seven-foot tall illuminated RADIO sign that held private tables.

CEO Joe Kennedy was kind enough to come in and speak with the collective “us”, meaning my fellow Kapor Capital Fellows as well as high school students from the Hidden Genius Project.  Overall it was very informative, but what most got to me was the clarity through which he expressed getting “liftoff” of the original concept named Savage Beast.  One of the biggest challenges that Kennedy mentioned was the battle over royalties to songs and artists.  There was clearly a lot of work getting Pandora off the ground, and it’s sometimes nice to get a fresh dose of reality with major companies.

– Janine Siegal is a Kapor Capital Fellow currently studying Multimedia and Communications with a minor in Advertising at Academy of Art University.

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