The 32-year-old founder of Soundcloud, which has 250 million monthly users, tells Wired about his typical work day and his relationship with Eric Wahlforss. Explaining: "I don't consider myself a winner"
From that pulpit, someone might object. Or, to put it in German, Wer im Glashaus sitzt soll nicht mit Steinen werfen, Who lives in a glass house should not throw stones. Gi, because Ljung, – Swedish, 32, founder with EricWahlforss of Soundcloud, one of the most successful European startups – has no intention of enjoying a birrapomeridiana sitting on the bank of the Kreuzberg canal. For him, work knows no pauses. His glass house is a sound valve: founded in 2007, it counts today around 200 employees divided between the offices of Berlin, San Francisco and New York, and one of the very few Berlin realities to have reached a global stage. Between May and October 2013, the number of its users grew by about 50 million a month, for a total of 250 million listeners (200-210) and subscribers (40-50).
Of this great Ljung orchestra not only the director, but also the media face, the one who represents the company incongressi, lectures, presentations and relates to the media, constantly oscillating between Europe and America. "My daily agenda varies depending on where I am", explains to Wired.it. "In general, I divide my time between the American offices and eBerlino, e work seven out of seven an inevitable reality. Because of the time zone, it often seems that the days merge with each other. But I do not consider myself a workaholic: I am so passionate and involved in what I do that I somehow manage to manage ". A type all jet, no lag, as described on his Twitter profile. Convinced that collective success is more important than personal success: "I don't consider myself a winner," he explains. "I consider Soundcloud a winner".
Yet despite the large numbers, the platform today still needs external funding to grow. At the end of the year another 60 million dollars arrived at the cash desk, which they brought to 700 million the total amount of funds raised (in four rounds) from the moment it is launched. Resources that will serve to further work on product development and to focus more onmobile market, where Soundcloud needs to recover positions. Ljung, however, prefers to look to the past than to the future:"We remain faithful to our motto: Unmute the web, giving voice back to the web. To date we have given millions of audio creators the chance to share their original content, to discover new material and to collaborate with colleagues. Today, our community publishes 12 hours of new content every minute. 90% of these tracks are really listened to, half the first 24 hours ?.
Meanwhile, however, we must study new methods to increase the economic inputs: no funding and advertising, that suSC does not exist, paid subscriptions (in two versions: Pro and Pro Unlimited) are not enough to support the structure. According to the Wall Street Journal, Soundcloud would aim to tighten agreements with the majors record companies, to guarantee any publication licenses. A move that could create some discontent among the Soundclouders of the first hour would partially reflect the grassroots spirit of the beginnings. But Ljung doesn't get upset: "We have a robust and growing community, we want to open it up as much as possible: on the one hand the emerging artists who publish their demo made in their bedroom, from the otherJustin Timberlake who publishes his latest single". The 32-year-old admits that doubts and questions are part of the game:"Launching a startup an experience that is both exciting and terrifying. You keep asking yourself, "Are we responding to someone's need?", Are we facing it the right way? Basically, however, believing in your idea allows you to survive in the hardest moments, in addition to supporting the right people ".
About people, what is your current relationship with the co-founder, Eric Wahlforss? Long gone are the times when the two shared the same table in a coworking space at Rosenthaler Platz, where the platform became reality. "Eric and I work closely together, but we are still very close and we give each other strength. He has a great ability to actually translate technical concepts, and thanks to his leadership, the platform has reached current standards. As soon as we are in the same city, however, we try to find time to go out together. In these years, we have proven over the years to be a solid team ". Now the time of maturity has arrived: to the rhythm of electronic music that constitutes the lifeblood of Soundcloud, or of the rap that Ljung produces on the iPad and loads on the personal profile, the platformorange wave must continue on its path between the challenges of innovation. Trying not to lose even unbeat.