Back in the early days of Pandora, I was frequently the person who would post to our blog with news about the latest product enhancements and company milestones. Through the years others increasingly filled that role, but I wanted to pop up here one more time to share one last bit of news: after 10 years, I’m in the process of handing over product and technology leadership to others and transitioning to an advisor role.

I just sent the following email to the Pandora team and I wanted to share it with you as well.


In May of 2004 I met [Pandora founder] Tim for breakfast at a diner in Potrero Hill. I was there to learn about his company Savage Beast and consider the opportunity to join the team of 10 or so he’d assembled. While perhaps I had reservations about the business (music kiosks for book stores!), I knew at once that I wanted to throw my lot in with Tim. Fast forward 10 years and it has truly been the adventure of a lifetime.

The story of Pandora has had many chapters and through most of the twists and turns, I was solely focused on how I could help get the company to the next stage. Rarely did I stop to think about a world where I didn’t make my contribution to the next chapter. I confess though that maybe 18 months ago, I started to think about what I’d need to do to hand over the pen so others could author chapters after my eventual departure.

Then [Pandora’s former CEO] Joe’s decision to leave pushed all of those thoughts to the side. My focus for the last twelve months has been to ensure that the company landed confidently in the hands of an exceptional new leader. We’ve found that leader in  [Pandora’s new CEO] Brian. As I look at the revitalized executive leadership team he has put in place, consider the great leaders on my own team, and contemplate the exciting roadmap we’ve set for the future, I’ve decided that all the pieces are in place to allow me to step aside and let others write the next chapters.

So today we’ve announced that in three months I’ll be transitioning to an adviser role.

We’ve also announced that, effective today, [former Pandora VP of Engineering] Chris Martin has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and will join the executive leadership team representing our engineering efforts. We are also promoting [former Pandora VP of Technical Operations] Steve Ginsberg to Chief Information Officer today and he and his team will now report to [Pandora CFO] Mike Herring. I’m as proud of all the senior leaders on my team — Chris, Steve, [Pandora VP of Design] Tony and [Pandora VP of Product Management] Mike — as I am about anything I’ve ever accomplished here. These promotions are one reflection of that, and they are richly deserved. If there are successes from the last 10 years you credit to me, they’d almost surely more fairly be credited to Chris, Steve, Tony and Mike.

The company is also announcing today that we’re opening a search for a Chief Product Officer who will report to Brian. I’ll be staying on full time for the next three months and then in July, after a bit of a vacation, I’ll transition to a part time role advising the company and offering support as Brian sees fit. A big part of my role in the coming months will be to help the company find a CPO that we’re all really excited about.

Through all these years perhaps the most gratifying thing has been how the whole company has evolved. From the scrappy group that wrote those first lines of code to the dynamic and talented assemblage we have today, through it all we’ve benefitted from a group of men and woman that are without question the most talented, intelligent, thoughtful and hardworking team I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I’ll miss working with you terribly but I am incredibly confident in the trajectory the company is on, the leadership that Brian and the executive leadership team will bring, and Chris, Steve, Tony and Mike’s ability to do my job better than I ever did.

For those that have been on this journey for a while thanks for the memories and for all I’ve learned from you. Sorry for the moments when you had to suffer while I figured out what I had yet to learn. For those that are newer to the team, I wish nothing more than for you to come away from your years at Pandora as marked and improved as I have.

Take care of Pandora for me. I’ll think about you everyday.



  1. Dick Wingate (@dwingate)
    March 18, 2014 at 8:45am
    Best of luck to you, Tom!
  2. Janet Overbey
    March 22, 2014 at 3:46am
    Just saw this. Happy trails, Tom!
  3. Pam Zeller
    March 24, 2014 at 9:52am
    I am getting way to many advertisements , commercials! I have already renewed and have been on pandora a long time. Please stop this . It is very annoying and disappointing.
  4. HoundsOArtemiss (@HoundsOArtemiss)
    April 03, 2014 at 8:59am
    Another person NOT renewing due to the lack of an annual option. I'd pay more to support increased costs, but I DO NOT want a monthly payment.
    1. MARK
      July 28, 2014 at 2:01pm
      I can understand a justifiable price increase, but I do not like the lack of an annual option...I will not be renewing my subscription...I will take advantage of my Amazon Prime membership that has music as part of their package.
  5. suburbdweller
    July 24, 2014 at 10:39pm
    Is it odd to anyone that this lovely "personal note" was published the same date as the entry about the simultaneous price explosion and elimination of annual billing on the Pandora One? Things that make you go "hmmmm."
  6. Joe McDonald
    July 26, 2014 at 1:20pm
    I've been a long time annual Pandora subscriber. I was dismayed to see the price increase when I went to renew. What a huge jump. I was never given warning of an increase and not given the option to be grandfathered in. I was further disappointed to see no monthly option. I don't want to be billed monthly. I won't renew until this changes. Maybe they want to get away from paying subscribers. I don't see any other reason for doing what they are doing. I'll be streaming the Rhapsody I get for $5 a month through Metro PCS more I suppose.

Please complete all required fields.
Required fields marked with *. No worries, your email address will not be published.
Leave a reply