How identity defines Spotify’s culture

From the outside Spotify is a company who has solved the riddle of scaling agile, but the insiders perspective might surprise you, with our structure more closely resembling a collection of startups sharing a wifi connection.

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Outline/structure of the Session

Spotify is experiencing rapid growth and although it’s success is a combination of factors, culture is widely seen as our strongest suit. We only hire incredibly smart people, who are enticed by the challenge of working for a leading technology company, but in reality most choose to stay for the people they meet along the way.

The tribe structure is often explained to those outside the company as a “collection of teams”, but in reality it is so much more. With each of these startups (aka tribes) able to define their own culture, employees may be proud to work for Spotify, but it is the emblem of their tribe that covers their laptops and hoodies. Not only do very few people leave the company, but hardly anyone chooses to move tribes, despite being given the freedom to do so.

In an organizational structure more similar to that of the armed forces than that of our technology rivals, by luck or judgement Spotify has managed to create a system where everyone feels like they belong, creating long lasting loyalty and some side effects that keep the agile coaches busy.

Learning Outcome

Understanding that creating a sense of belonging is fundamental to any great culture.

Target Audience

Anyone interested in learning more about unique differences of tribes at Spotify

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

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  • George Dinwiddie
    By George Dinwiddie  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hi, Benji,

    The abstract/description is where you entice people to the session by reflecting their situation and offering something valuable for that situation. Yours is pretty thin. I wonder if what's in the outline/structure was meant to be part of the abstract.

    In any event, the outline/structure doesn't give the reviewers much to go on. It's an intriguing topic, but we need to have a better idea about the session.

     - George

    • Benji Portwin
      By Benji Portwin  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi George,

      Totally understand where you're coming from, is it a little vague.

      I've delivered this talk twice now, in New York and Melbourne, receiving a warm reception on both accounts. It is open, honest and will help those in audience who have heard about the "spotify model".

      Hope that helps,


      • Bob Payne
        By Bob Payne  ~  1 year ago
        reply Reply


        To clarify you may want to move some of the details into the abstract as it is the principle data folks look at to pick a session.  Right now it is one sentence that does not tell folks what you will talk about.


        Bob Payne 

        • Benji Portwin
          By Benji Portwin  ~  1 year ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks Bob, makes total sense.

          Am hoping that the mystery will attract the perfect audience :)