Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Says He Feels ‘Inadequate Every Day’

  • Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek has admitted to not feeling good enough on a daily basis despite his success.
  • He told Norges Bank Investment Management’s “In Good Company” podcast that he often felt “inadequate.”
  • Ek has previously revealed that he struggles with wanting to be loved.

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Daniel Ek is a billionaire and CEO of one of the world’s best-known companies – but says he still feels “inadequate on a daily basis”.

The Spotify chief made the comment on the Norges Bank Investment Management podcast “In good company” last month.

When the founder of the music streaming giant was asked if he’s happy, Ek replied: “I still feel inadequate every day and I still feel like shit when I’ve screwed something up – even if I formulate something like two minutes ago, ‘ah, I should’. I did a better job.”

He adds: “That’s how I see things all the time. I constantly see problems as well as opportunities ahead of us, and I feel excited about having to do this.

Ek, which, according to Forbes, is value about $4 billion, says he tries to overcome this feeling by surrounding himself with people at work with whom he can joke and learn.

“I can send them weird memes, which they don’t understand half the time, and send back weird question marks, but it’s the way we deal with things and it brings me happiness,” says -he.

Ek has often been unusually candid for a CEO about his doubts. In a LinkedIn Post six months ago, he wrote that “like many others, I struggle to want to be loved.”

He said he had a “guiding motto” from George Barnard Shaw posted on a wall in his home, reminding him to “not worry about conforming and persisting.”

The quote reads: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

The Swedish entrepreneur became a billionaire after Spotify went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018, giving it a valuation of around $30 billion.

The stock has had a roller coaster ride, but it’s up 58% over the past five years and 91% over the past 12 months, leaving Spotify worth $46 billion.

The company has 239 million subscribers paying about $11 a month, plus hundreds of millions more using a free, ad-supported version. About 70% of its revenue goes to music rights holders such as record labels and artists.

Spotify did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside of normal business hours.

Are you a current or former Spotify employee? Do you have any advice? Contact Jyoti Mann at jmann@businessinsider.com or by direct message on @jyoti_mann1 on a non-professional device.