Spotify CEO Daniel Ek Opens Up About the Struggles of Wanting to Be Liked

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Daniel Ek opens up

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Photo Credit: Kmeron for LeWeb11 / CC by 2.0

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek opens up about his ‘guiding motto’ and the struggles of wanting to be liked — and gets responses from fellow tech billionaires Mark Cuban and Elon Musk.

Sometimes, even the rich and famous struggle with wanting to be liked, as evidenced by Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek’s post on Twitter about his “guiding motto” that keeps him going each morning. The tweet drew commentary from some of the biggest names in tech, including Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Daniel Ek shared his “guiding motto” on a wall in his house, a quote from George Bernard Shaw that reads: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

“I am not sure about other entrepreneurs,” Ek continued, “but for me, being unreasonable is a difficult thing. Like many others, I struggle with wanting to be liked. So, seeing this on my wall every day when I wake up serves as a reminder to not worry about conforming, and to persist. Because without it, companies such as Spotify and many others wouldn’t exist.”

The post received praise from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, who replied: “Feel this in my bones. Thanks. I forgot about this quote.”

While Ohanian, whose second daughter with tennis star Serena Williams was recently born, seemed to find the tweet inspiring, other entrepreneurs seemed less enthused with the quote — or the concept of trying to be “likable.”

Elon Musk responded, “I have overcome the desire to be liked,” along with a laughing emoji, before adding, “For what it’s worth, I like you.”

But Mark Cuban had the most to say about the quote. The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star said, “I hate this quote. Sorry.”

“Maybe it’s semantics,” he explains. “But it’s not being unreasonable to create change. It’s not being unreasonable to challenge the status quo. It’s unreasonable to continue to do things because that’s the way it’s always been done and it’s unreasonable to nostalgically try to return to the past. The only thing constant in life is change.”

Unsurprisingly, Mark Cuban believes people shouldn’t be criticized for their desire to innovate. Currently, Cuban is in the process of trying to change the pharmaceutical industry with the launch of his CostPlusDrugs.com.