It is all a long way from January 2000, when Mr. Westergren founded [pandora]. Trained as a jazz pianist, he spent a decade playing in rock bands before taking a job as a film composer. While analyzing the construction of music to figure out what film directors would like, he came up with an idea to create a music genome.
This being 1999, he turned the idea into a Web start-up and raised $1.5 million from angel investors. It was originally called Savage Beast Technologies and sold music recommendation services to businesses like Best Buy.
By the end of 2001, he had 50 employees and no money. Every two weeks, he held all-hands meetings to beg people to work, unpaid, for another two weeks. That went on for two years.
The article goes on to mention that Pandora reported its first profitable quarter and $50 million annual revenue in 2009. It pays to persevere.