Rarely do audiences get to hear from so many different characters about the same events, but that’s exactly what The Playlist does. Former Spotify CTO Andreas Ehn (Joel Lützow) has provided such a tale. The fourth episode, titled The Coder, is driven by the story of the introverted programmer who managed the core team that created Spotify.
In addition to his role as Chief Technology Officer, Andreas Ehn was Spotify’s very first employee. He was there for about three and a half years, which is an eternity in the world of the music streaming business.
Furthermore, in his role as CTO, he helped shape the company’s infrastructure. Ehn played a key role in the organization, recruitment, and management of the company’s technical and production staff in addition to his role as a system architect.
Was Andreas Ehn’s Departure from Spotify Portrayed Fairly in The Playlist?
The Playlist introduces the audience to Andreas Ehn, a developer stuck in a rut at Stardoll. He quit his job at Stardoll to become the first employee and chief technology officer (CTO) at Spotify, a music streaming service founded by Daniel Ek that offers free, legal music to everyone. Ehn personally selects the team that creates Spotify, which faced and overcame several challenges along the way.
After Petra Hanson (Gizem Erdogan) is hired as Spotify’s new legal counsel, he is shown to become increasingly dissatisfied with management and the company’s new direction. Ehn was annoyed by Hansson’s attempt to commercialize Spotify as part of her commitment to sustainability. Lisa (Hanna Ardéhn), Daniel Ek’s partner, left him as a result of this and other problems in his personal life.
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Following the signing of the contract with Pet Sundin and the formal launch of Spotify, Ehn is seen departing the launch party and choosing to embark on a world tour with Lisa. The underlying story behind Ehn’s departure was much more intimate than what was shown in The Playlist.
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Ehn explained his departure from Sweden to Startups in an interview, saying that it was for “a personal education initiative.” He made the following statement:
“I want to learn more about the world. For this reason, I’ve set up a framework for myself where I should live in 10 different countries for the next 5 years. My goal is to get to know these places, the people, the cities, and the startups.”
The reason for Ehn’s departure from Spotify, as well as his thoughts on his portrayal in The Playlist, remain a mystery.
Where is Andreas Ehn Now?
After leaving Spotify, Ehn served as a Board Director at Ocean Observation. Shortly thereafter, he co-founded and served as CTO of Wrapp, a mobile online-to-offline client acquisition business. As of a certain time, Wrapp has operational workspaces in 18 countries, including Taiwan and Brazil.
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After that, he joined the boards of Shootitlive, Opbeat, Automile, EQT, and Middle East Venture Partners as a director, advisor, or member. He’s still a part of a few of them up to this point. Ehn is still a multi-hyphenate who dabbles in a wide variety of businesses. Contrarily, he does not consider himself to be a creative mind. Ehn said:
“I just want to make things better.”
Andreas Ehn is a Partner of Approach, a Singapore-based company that provides business consultancy and services. He also serves on the Southeast Asia Fund Investment Committee at Antler, a global VC firm.
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