Silicon Valley Insights with Spotify's Juan Manuel Serruya

For our second Silicon Valley Insights event, STRV flew Juan Manuel Serruya, a software engineer at Spotify, to Prague to give us an inside perspective on life at one of the fast-growing music streaming startups in the world.

Juan Manuel Serruya and David Semerad during fireside chat
Juan Manuel Serruya and David Semerad during fireside chat

“While Spotify may not be headquartered in Silicon Valley, it is one of the tech industry's greatest success stories: an innovative startup that climbed its way to the top at lightening speed. I am pleased STRV was able bring Juan to Prague to share his professional insights with the phenomenal IT community here,” said STRV CEO David Semerad, who sat down with Juan during an intimate fireside chat on September 18.

The sold-out evening was held at Cinema City Slovansky dum in the Prague city center, where STRV has its development offices.

The discussion ranged from the nerdy (Swift versus Objective-C) to the hip, including a lively debate over Spotify's most-touted features, like Running, which synchronizes your music taste with your running pace.

“Everyone in the world is realizing that streaming is the future of music,” Juan said. “We need to keep doing what we are doing.”

A native of Argentina, Juan was working in Berlin a few years ago when he came to the attention of Spotify's hiring managers. Today he is part of the technical team that helps bring in the best engineers on the market.

“My job is to differentiate the good engineers from the great engineers – the process is really tough,” Juan told the audience, adding that for those who are really serious about landing a job in this field, it is important to be “really strong in computer science.”

Equally as important, Spotify – much like STRV – places a big emphasizes on company culture.

“It's not only really important to have good engineers, but to hire people that will feed our culture,” Juan said. “I am really blessed with the people I have around me. I've learned so much from them.”

With the development team working on numerous different projects, engineers are broken down into “squads” of eight to 12 people. “It really gives you a sense of mission,” Juan said.

STRV’s regular Silicon Valley Insights series brings together leaders from the global tech community to share knowledge and experiences. Media partners of the latest installment were Mediar and Dotyk Byznys.

Don’t miss our next event! We will post more information here on our blog and Facebook page, as soon as we secure our next guest speaker, so stayed tuned!

Check out the photo gallery from the event on Facebook.