Meet the Talented Tech Minds Building Spotify in London
It’s no secret that London is one of the most vibrant cities in the world, but with Spotify UK’s move to a new office building this month, the conversation around London as an innovative tech epicenter has been growing. “Spotify in London has to be part of Spotify globally, but also must embrace the individuality and uniqueness of London,” says John Hayes, Director of Engineering. “No matter where you are from, you’ll find something going on in London that interests you and that you can learn from. There is a culture of top talent seeking the most interesting opportunities here.”
Late last year, Spotify announced that London would become the location for the Swedish company’s new tech hub. In the months since, Spotify has been busy building up a diverse and talented team of developers, data scientists, product managers and designers from around the world, people eager to add their stories to the company’s ever-evolving narrative. “We did a ‘getting to know each other’ exercise with the team,” John says. “To show where we were from, we all placed a pin on a map of the world. We had such a large mix of backgrounds that we ran out of pins and had to improvise with paperclips.”
And that’s just the beginning. “We spend time bringing the right people into the company who want to change the industry from a personal perspective,” John says. “It’s humbling to work with people who bring so many ideas from so many backgrounds.”
Like London itself, our newest office reflects many different cultures and experiences, but is equally connected to Spotify tradition. We’ve even put our own spin on the fika break: Sweden’s take on afternoon tea.
But who better to tell our story than London Spotifiers themselves? Below, meet a few of the many talented tech minds building out Spotify’s engineering team in London.
Name: Madalina Sicoi
Title: Software Development Engineer
I work on awareness and conversion for Spotify Premium. My day-to-day work is an exciting blend of coding, testing, liaising with stakeholders and supporting the rollout of various initiatives.
I had been keeping a close eye on Spotify long before the company established a tech presence in London due to my love of its product and the stories around its tech and culture. Spotify is a fun place to work, and I’m always surrounded by talented people that get the best out of me. Spotify brings a transparency that’s rare among large tech companies.
Name: Daniela Estevez Fernandez
From: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Title: Senior Product Designer
I love the idea of working with a product that is used by millions of people every day. Every single person that you encounter here at Spotify is insanely smart, and most of us come from completely different backgrounds. I think that’s a perfect fit for the London talent pool.
From a user experience perspective, it’s interesting to think about how we prepare ourselves for the future of audio streaming in a truly connected world with hundreds of different types of devices (mobile, web, smart speakers, consoles, smart watches, etc.). How can I deliver a consistent and seamless experience to all users? I’d love to think that everyone listens to audio in the same way that I do, but the reality is very different, so that’s why I need to pay extra attention to what are our users are telling me. I focus on trying to deliver the best experience to all users, regardless of their device and where they are in the world.
Name: Jon Hare-Winton
From: Berkshire, UK
Title: Quality Engineer
I work as an engineer in a small team, helping my team to ensure quality in everything we build. I’ve played drums in bands since I was 12, and have always wanted an opportunity to combine my professional life with my biggest passion.
The ever-changing nature of software development is kind of mirrored in the evolution of music streaming. It follows the patterns of early adoption, through to becoming mass market, followed by disruption. It’s a fascinating time to be involved in both fields, as nothing is going to stand still for long.
Name: Dimitrios Klimis
Title: Software Engineer
I listen to lots (and I mean lots) of music. Spotify has been a big part of my life for a few years now after a former colleague suggested I give it a go about six years ago. The ability to instantly have access to almost every album ever produced and discover new music was, and still is, mind-blowing. So naturally, when given the opportunity to become a Spotify team member, I couldn’t resist. Spotify is like a dream job to me.
It’s evident that technology has conquered most aspects of our lives today and, as we evolve, we ask more from it. We as users need ubiquitous, less-intrusive technology which assists us to achieve our goals. For example, to discover music without actually looking for it. I believe Spotify has made considerable steps in this direction and we’ll see more and more in the future. I’m excited to be part of that journey.
Name: Riccardo Buzzotta
From: Padua, Italy
Title: Senior Product Designer
My role entails delivering elegant design solutions for Spotify Premium’s conversion funnel, with the help of my design team, now spanning across several time zones. Furthermore, I support my teammates in shipping quality work that contributes to a long-term vision.
London was already on my radar as a city to work and live in. Spotify coincidentally came along and when it was clear we both liked each other, I simply could not say no. I strongly feel that Spotify will make for a killer presence in London. Not just as a renowned consumer brand, but also as an incredible powerhouse of ideas and excellence on many fronts, as it’s been known to do worldwide.
Name: Ambreen Subzwari
From: Welsh-Pakistani origin
Title: PI Manager for the Conversion Product Area in Ironbank
As a female of South Asian origin working in the tech industry, I can say firsthand that the landscape of gender equality has really shifted for the better over the last few years. Spotify, for me, epitomises the equilibrium of opportunities for men and women within the organisation. Not just because of the number of talented women we have in leadership roles, but also in the general company culture. For instance, as a working mother, I have been given full support by my manager and peers to work specific office hours to minimise disruption to my personal life— something that has not always been the case in previous companies. In addition to this, I also feel I have the same set of opportunities and support available to me as my male counterparts in order to climb my way up the Spotify career path. I have seen no distinction between the genders in what is required to achieve the next steps other than skills and performance.
Name: Yusik Kim
From: Daejeon, South Korea
Title: Machine Learning Engineer
I use machine learning to detect payment fraud. I spend a lot of time looking at payment data from different angles and select appropriate features to feed into the models. It mostly involves statistical modeling, implementing data pipelines, and ML algorithms.
When I was a student, I spent a lot of time discovering new music through buying albums and from what friends recommended. Once I had a job, I no longer had the time to invest in music discovery and I stopped listening to music for a while. Then Spotify came along and solved those problems for me. So I am passionate about making it even better.
Name: Muge Ersoy
From: Istanbul, Turkey
Title: Engineering Manager
I was inspired to work at Spotify when I gave a talk at a Women in Tech conference in Amsterdam. Spotify was across from our booth and I had the chance to meet many women in STEM and get to know their policies regarding diversity and inclusion. It amazed me and I immediately wanted to be part of it. Not to mention that I am a big fan of the product itself and its discovery playlists.
I’ve played in amateur bands as a drummer. I have always had a special connection to music creation and am a true believer of the power of music. It makes the world a better place.
Name: Nicole Shephard
From: Denver, Colorado
Title: Design Manager
I’m responsible for building and supporting a design team to explore what’s next for Spotify Premium. This means recruiting great design talent, working closely with our Product Insights team to deeply understand our customers, supporting designers in their exploration and testing of new concepts, and telling a great story around our hunches, experiments, learnings, and decisions.
My husband is a full-time musician, so the opportunity to contribute to Spotify’s goal of connecting artists with fans is quite personal. Music is one of the most powerful forces in the world—it has the ability to connect us, move us, and awake parts of us in a way only music can.