After just over 4 years, 3 different job roles, 7 desk changes, 19,281 sent emails, 10,547 unique tracks and 2,036 unique artists discovered*, and 27 advertising team members, today is my last day working for Last.fm.
I’ve never been much of a Facebooker, Tweeter, blogger etc, but I thought jotting down a few thoughts on my time at Last.fm would be a good way to start. So here goes…
On a grey September day, the rear entrance to Last.HQ is quite a depressing sight. Even on a sunny day like today, it has to be one of the sorriest looking buildings in London. But to me, and the 150+ others who work there now and in the past, that has never mattered, because the stuff that happens on the 1st floor of this building is amazing. The ideas, the passion, the work-ethic of the people in this building is amazing.
For me Last.fm has always been a very do-it-yourself kind of place to work. When I joined, everyone was crammed into the north office, and space was pretty limited. New starters were (and still are) expected to just get on with it. My working space was by the kitchen table, just in front of the fridge. The ads team’s working area was the kitchen. It was pretty chaotic and I felt a bit in the way, especially when people were trying to eat, but it kinda felt like that was the normality.
I’d been introduced to most of the team, including a chap called Felix, who was busy fixing the door to the gents loo. It was around this time that it seemed the press were pretty eager to speak to founders of this company I now worked for and here I was in a small kitchen, 3 metres away from one of these founders fixing a busted bog door.
Then Eye Of The Tiger was blasted loudly, someone called Matt was dancing around excitedly telling me to press F5 on my profile page, I got a welcome handshake, a red icon, and there: I was officially on-board.
It was also very much encouraged to go to the local pub, The Arthur, after work. I liked this encouragement. I felt this was the kind of place I wanted to work.
I’m very lucky to have worked with so many interesting people who all have such focus on what they are doing, a shared love for the company, and like to go the pub a lot too.
I’ve only just realised that it is very rare to be able to walk around town with the logo of the company you work for to be plastered on your T-shirt, and really feel proud about it. Not many people can do that.
It is also very rare to work somewhere where even the hardest days don’t really feel like proper work. Late, late nights, early mornings and weekend work have never felt like proper work. It has always been challenging, sometimes frustrating, but not really felt like work. Lots of working people spend their mornings waiting for lunch, then counting down the hours for leaving time, 5 days a week… It is impossible to think of that situation at Last.fm.
Another rare thing is for your place of work to be more like a giant playroom than an office. When I showed some friends round for the first time, they were stunned. Stunned at the arsenal of Nerf weaponry, people playing Halo on the projector, bottles of beer everywhere, a drumkit, a skateboard lying around, a big toy dog, table-tennis table, a pub pretty much on the doorstep, a fucking ballpit!
It is a fantastic place to work and I’m really glad to have been part of it, especially as it was my first ‘proper’ job.
And even though Last.fm is such an enormous presence on the web that millions of music lovers use daily, I still quite like it that most of my family don’t really get it; they still just assume I work for some East London pirate station.
But after 4 years, I think its time to try something new.
I will miss Last.fm and the people there a lot. I will miss the car parking space, I will miss the chance to shape Last.fc into the world-class team is so nearly could have been, I’ll miss the cool email address, the free Ribena… I could go on. And I am really looking forward to all the cool stuff that will be released before the end of the year.
See you at The Arthur.
*sideb0ard dug that up, cheers!