Pandora Asked Their Employees To Work For Free For Two Years
In the year 2000, Pandora convinced investors to give them $2 million so they could take the radio and cram it onto the internet. Just one year later, they'd spent all their money, Pandora still hadn't launched yet, and at the rate they were going, they'd never convince even the limpest of Bizkits to license their catalog.
Interscope"They've agreed to do it for 'The Nookie,' but that may still be outside our present fiscal means."
Founder Tim Westergren still believed in a world in which the Bizkit could blast from every internet-connected device on the planet, but he needed a way to convince his team of 50+ people to stick to the mission. So he simply asked his employees if they'd be willing to "defer" their salary for two weeks. Then, after two weeks, he asked if they'd be willing to maybe defer for another two weeks until they got another round of funding. Then, in two weeks, he had some good news -- if everybody would defer their salary for just another two weeks. Westergren kept this fortnightly tradition going for two fucking years before he could actually pay anybody.
To his credit, Westergren himself wasn't making any money either. He dug himself into enormous debt, borrowing money from everybody he could and pouring it back into the business. Eventually, in 2004, financiers decided to give Pandora a little more money -- most likely out of pity -- so employees could finally afford funerals for their internet radio brothers who'd died of starvation months ago. To be fair, at a certain point, it's on the employees for not wising up to such an obvious scheme. We'd have bailed after 18 months, tops.
Inexplicably, this strategy worked, and Pandora is still alive today. They did lose a bit of money recently, but if things get too bad, they can always just not pay their employees again. Honestly, why has no other company thought of this?
Jordan Breeding also writes for a whole mess of other people and also the Twitter. Judith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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