Hi! I’m Michael. I’m the co-founder of , the platform that’s democratizing audio by enabling anyone to easily create, distribute, and monetize a podcast. Anchor is the world’s largest podcasting platform ー now powering 75% of all new podcasts ー and was acquired by Spotify in 2019, enabling podcasters of all experience levels and walks of life to have their voices heard. In addition to my work leading Anchor ー and now all podcast tools ー at Spotify, I actively advise and invest in early stage, technology-enabled companies, including , , , , , , , , and several others that have yet to launch. While I’ve worked with companies from a wide variety of sectors and stages, I’m particularly inspired by technology-enabled businesses that empower people to be creative and “make stuff”.
Prior to founding Anchor, I served as VP of Product for Aviary, growing the photo editing platform’s audience to over 100 million creators before being acquired by Adobe in 2014. I also previously led Digital Product Development for Atlantic Records after starting my career as a consultant.
I studied Computer Science at the University of Delaware. Originally from New York, I now spend most of my time in Hoboken, New Jersey with my wife Carrie, our two daughters, and a cat named Gizmo.
1. Be kind
My parents taught me from a young age to age to be kind and treat everyone with respect. I try to take this lesson into all of my interactions, both in business and my personal life. I also try to meet and connect with as many people as possible, regardless of whether knowing someone may lead to some future benefit or value (I really dislike “transactional” relationships in business ー instead, I like knowing people because I simply enjoy knowing more people). I appreciate hearing new perspectives that I’m unfamiliar with or to learn new things. Which is a good segue...
2. Talking > typing
We obviously do a lot of typing and reading in 2020. While it’s hard to argue with the fact that email and messaging have made communication much more efficient, I personally value a live, human conversation above everything else, whether that be in person, on the phone, or via video (this probably has something to do with why I started a podcasting company!). As I find myself spending more and more time working remotely due to COVID-19, I’m trying to “pick up the phone” more often and connect with people live instead of always defaulting to sending an email. Not only does it make me feel like I can connect with someone on a more personal, human level, it offers me the ability to move around, take a walk, and free my eyes from the many hours they spend starting at screens.
3. Move fast (but recognize when to slow down)
Through my work on Anchor, I learned first hand that one of the best tactics an early stage company can deploy is speed. A small, nimble team shipping product at lightning speed and reacting to user feedback in near-real time can be extremely effective. While this seems to be proven time and time again every time a startup overtakes an older, bigger company, I’m also learning through more recent experiences at Spotify that slowing down to align cross functionally in a much larger organization can often be even more powerful. This is especially true when careful precision between dozens (or even hundreds) of people results in a much higher output, despite the lower frequency of output.
4. You can never have too much clarity
I appreciate clarity and feel like one can never be too clear with communication, regardless of the medium. Whether I’m having a conversation, designing a product, writing a strategy memo, or composing an email, I really strive for clarity. I find that so much time and efficiency is lost in ambiguity, and I always prefer communication (whether it be via language, design, etc) that is executed in its simplest, most understandable form. One area in which this often creates a tension is with product design. As a designer myself, I’ve often felt the pain of trying to make a screen within an app or website look beautiful, minimal, and uncluttered while also conveying a clear message that people understand the very first time they interact with the product. In these situations, I always choose function (clarity) over form. I have found time and time again that people’s tolerance for lack of clarity in products is not only extremely low, but almost always has a negative impact on the metrics that matter.
About this Doc
Through my various books, blog posts, and podcasts, I hope to give people a sense of what it’s like to work with me. I’ve noted a trend towards others doing the same (e.g. Luc Levesque calls this a ”, First Round calls this a “”). I’m hoping this will be a living doc to help people understand what it’s like to work with me.