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Snapchat Hires Longtime Pandora Executive Tom Conrad as VP of Product

Conrad will report directly to CEO Evan Spiegel, a hands-on product CEO himself.


Snapchat has hired longtime Pandora executive Tom Conrad as its new VP of Product.

Conrad spent a decade at Pandora and was running product and also serving as the company’s CTO by the time he left back in 2014. Now he’ll report directly to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, who is a very strong-minded and hands-on product CEO himself.

A Snapchat spokesperson confirmed the hire. “We’re excited to welcome Tom to the Snapchat team,” the company wrote in a statement shared with Re/code.

It’s an important hire for Snapchat. For starters, it should give Spiegel more freedom to focus on building Snapchat into a business, a much-needed step as the company works to validate its $16 billion valuation and move toward an IPO. The company is targeting $300 million to $350 million in revenue in 2016, a jump of six or seven times its 2015 revenue goal. Hitting that number will require a lot of attention.

Just as critical, perhaps, is the importance of getting the head of product hire just right. Exhibit A is Facebook, where CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Product VP Chris Cox have figured out how to balance a hands-on CEO with a day-to-day product boss. Twitter, on the other hand, has had four product heads in the past two years, a constant change-up that has crippled the company’s attempts to bring on new, more mainstream users.

Snapchat will have the same challenge as Twitter: Building a relevant product that will also help scale its user base, which is currently north of 100 million daily active users.

Conrad started at Snapchat Monday.

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