Host Ryan Heath interviews Daniel Ek, the CEO of global music pioneer Spotify.
The music world was a notorious graveyard for online entrepreneurs: until Spotify. In this episode, Ek explains why he thinks Stockholm-based Spotify is different to Silicon Valley companies, what he wants from EU regulators, and becomes the first major tech CEO to give his full support to the #metoo movement.
Ek also spills the beans on his favorite politician, his first 2018 resolution, and how firing 20 staff as a 17-year-old shaped his approach to building companies.
Upbeat on Europe: Ek says "Europe has made tremendous progress just over the last 10 years" in closing its funding gap with Silicon Valley. He nominated fintech as the tech niche where Europe is achieving global leadership.
EU regulators on right track but too slow: The development of an EU digital single market would be "very useful" because it would give "easy ways for people to be able to scale up" their companies before having to deal with multiple regulators, putting them on a par with U.S.-based firms. Ek credits EU officials for the right moves, but says they are too slow in making them.
Vestager fan: Ek says it's time for fairer marketplaces — "regulation can actually help small firms" and more competition — a message that is music to the ears of European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. "We want there to be more people to compete: that ultimately will bring more innovation. It's really simple as that. And from my vantage point, she seems to be all for that."
Time for equality in tech: Having two daughters made Ek realise "how unfair the world is" and that, even in Sweden, girls grow up bombarded by "stereotyping." With a clear note of frustration, Ek said: "I think there's so much bullshit being used by people like me in terms of saying 'oh, well, there's not enough females in technology so we can't be gender-balanced. That's bullshit." Spotify doesn't allow age and gender to be listed on its job applications now, but Ek says there's much more to do.
Bring on the #metoo revolution: "Our view is obviously that #metoo is a real thing. Personally, I highly recommend and support all the women that are coming forward with these stories and I'm appalled honestly at how widespread this is," Ek said. He added, "We have a lot to do, as men, on what kind of work environments [we create] and the level of standards we're setting."
Poland's new look: POLITICO reporter Joanna Plucinska joins us to discuss Ek's comments as well as the new-look Polish government and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's dinner with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
EU WTF moments: Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn join us to discuss online hate targeted at an Austrian baby, a strange Brexit letter written by David Davis, and a new survey that found nine in 10 women living in Brussels have experienced sexual harassment.
You can contact the EU Confidential team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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