Pandora: Crazy Stock, but Focused, Practically Unbeatable Company
While I was there I had casual chats with a number of different people from the company. I wish everyone had this opportunity. It would instantly clear up quite a bit of investor concern over Pandora's short- and long-term future. This is a sharp, smart and well-run company in perpetual startup mode; seizing its massive opportunity in radio, lndie concert promotion and mobile advertising requires an aggressive, startup mindset.
Allow me to riff a few key points I have basically been making all along, but feel even more confident about after spending more time at Pandora.
One: No matter the fate of the current royalty battle on Capitol Hill, Pandora has a Plan B.
This is not a passive company. It's a focused one. Focused on its core mission -- to build the premier personalized radio experience.
Two: There's a sense you feel when you talk to Pandora employees, including management, that all of the competitive encroachments on its turf -- rumored or real -- validate not only Pandora's success, but its ability to lead the Internet radio space going forward.
People from Pandora have expressed this sentiment publicly; but when it's conveyed in person, the company's shared focus and vision resonates. These guys hit the right note -- they're not overconfident, they respect partners and competitors (particularly Apple (AAPL) , who is both), but they're certainly not about to fall victim to obstacles they've overcome dozens of times along their rapid, un-stunted growth trajectory.
Not one soul at Pandora loses sleep over Apple doing something (that might end up looking more like Spotify anyway . . . let's call it iTunes finally packed with 21st Century features).