DANIEL EK:There’s something called the allemansrätten and its literally translation is “everyman’s right” and this comes at the core of Swedish. For instance, if you own a piece of property in Sweden, people are allowed to walk your property. If the property is large enough, they’re actually even allowed to tent at your property for 24 hours.
HOFFMAN: “Everyman’s right” is a very Nordic notion of the social contract. One that sounds kind of crazy to American ears. Try to imagine yourself walking onto someone’s property in the US, pitching a tent, and proclaiming it’s your allemansrätten as you roast marshmallows over an open fire. You know how that story ends.
But Swedes have a totally different conceptual framework. You have to grow up in it to fully understand it. And this is lesson one about trust: It has different baselines across different cultures. In Sweden, for example, everyone’s tax returns are publicly available.
EK: This notion of “private versus public” just doesn’t exist to the same extent. Like all income is public in Sweden, like every single one. I think that, plus the fact that it’s such a small society, means that the number one thing the whole society is built on is trust, like you can’t screw people over. You have to honor your agreements.
HOFFMAN: Daniel sees this deep, Swedish concept of trust as an advantage. And it’s fair to say we have Sweden to thank for Daniel’s lifelong love affair with music. It started with his family.
DANIEL EK Daniel Ek co-founded Spotify in 2006, with the hope of legally delivering all the world’s music to every user. Today, Spotify has 140 million active users and has raised over $2.5 billion in venture funding. In 2017, Billboard Magazine named Ek the most powerful person in music.
“I had this idea of the kind of product I wanted to see in the world: What if we can build something that makes it feel like you had all the world’s music on your hard drive? If we can create that feeling, we’ll have built something much better than piracy.”
- DANIEL EK
"At the end of the day, it’s about trust. If you say what you're going to do, and then keep on doing that — you'll do pretty well." - DANIEL EK
"Whether you’re spinning through the sky at 10,000 feet, or trying to do something more grounded, there will be times when you need to build trust fast." - REID HOFFMAN
When Daniel Ek founded Spotify, he did what no disruptor had done before: He worked WITH the industry he was trying to reinvent. By hacking shortcuts to trust with all his constituencies (users included), Ek built long-term relationships – and a 140M-user strong music-streaming platform.