By Tobias van Schneider Published September 14, 2015
As some of you might know, for the past two and a half years I had the honor to work with the fantastic Spotify team in New York. Since then a lot has changed not only for Spotify but also for me.
(This article was written on September 14th, 2015)
Today marks the last day as a full time employee at Spotify. I will remain as a consultant & a good friend of the team, but my focus will switch onto something new.
Spotify has tripled in size (company size & users) during just those two years, and I had the opportunity to work on a range of interesting projects. From helping to establish our product design guidelines to evolving our brand identity, it’s been a blast. While some projects launched, others are of course still confidential and have yet to find it’s way to the world.
As you can imagine, this decision did not come lightly. I loved working with the team. But let me explain:
Understanding security & priorities
You have to know a little bit more about my prior experience before Spotify. I always used to work on my own, I had my own company and always preferred moving at my own pace. I never had a traditional 8h full time job, and if I did, it wasn’t for long. I’m terrible at climbing corporate ladders.
I have a different understanding of what security means to me. Getting a monthly salary, running on company insurance, having a company phone contract, free lunch etc. makes me anxious. I feel as I’m locked in a cage, even though it might be a golden one. (yes, first world problems)
All I do, and all I own is not in my hands. While some would see a monthly salary as secure, I see it as the opposite. I’m afraid of getting comfortable, losing control over my own circumstances, not being myself anymore. These things have a big impact on my health & well being.
“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
I love freedom, and not getting a monthly salary means freedom to me. I like being forced to constantly stand on my toes, being challenged to survive on my own.
Taking risks (small or big) make you feel alive. They are the pain in your muscles after you worked out, it’s pain but it feels good — Because you’re growing.
A couple weeks back I wrote an article called “The Cake Is A Lie”which has been on my mind the last couple months. The article describes everything I’ve been thinking about recently.
For me, it’s time to let go of the cake and try something new. It’s time to reset and start over. There is something magical about it.
If you would ask some friends or colleagues, they would tell you I traded everything for nothing. It’s a logical response to someone who just left the familiar well payed job, heading towards the unknown.
If you ask me, I’d tell you that I just traded a little something, for everything else. And that’s why I consider it exciting news. Rushing into the unknown is exhilarating.
To be more specific, I’m not joining any other company, I don’t have a grand plan for a startup, nor am I’m planning to freelance. I imagine something new, which is hard to put in words just yet.
But with pressure to pay the bills, you can be sure that I won’t get bored. For the next couple months my focus is on building my new company.
Nothing will change with this weekly email, I will continue writing. I also promise you, you are the first to know about new projects and the new company I am working on.
And to finish this email, one of my absolute favorite quotes by Jack Kerouac which always helps me to get inspired and push myself.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”
I’m terrified, but excited. Onto something new, let’s do this!
PS: And yes, for those saying I'm speaking from a place of privilege, I do. Privilege is relative, but in my case it means I'm able to take risks like these. Not because I'm wealthy (quite the opposite) but because I'm lucky to be able to work in a job where I have options available.
Thank you for reading,
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the founder of DESK, nice to meet you!