Forget Facebook with their Waiting for Godot IPO teasing! Pandora may be going public.
I'm a medium Pandora fan. My colleague Tom Ulen showed it to me in Fall 2008, and I use it once a week or so. If you live under a rock, Pandora (and it's competitor Slacker) let you create your own streaming radio station by plugging in an artist or a song title -- then the algorithms pick songs that would fit that artist or initial song. You cannot ask the station to play a particular song, however. I listen to music mostly when I'm running, though, and I can't take the uncertainty. If I need something to inspire me to finish strong, Pandora may give me something less than inspiring. Once I set up a "Thriller" station, and I had "Don't Stop Believing" followed by "Don't Stand So Close to Me." That made me wonder if the algorithm used as a characteristic "the first six letters in the title."
What I found interesting about the article, though, was it's description of the founder, Tim Westergren, and his search for capital during its pretty lean first 10 years. The article quotes one of his eventual venture capital investors as saying
“The pitch that he gave wasn’t that interesting,” Mr. Marcus said. “But what was incredibly interesting was Tim himself. We could tell he was an entrepreneur who wasn’t going to fail.”
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