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As the founder and CEO of Sonos, I am always trying to find leaders who are capable of taking Sonos to the next level. Part of that means assessing my own role. With Sonos now poised for a new phase of growth, I am excited to pass the role of Chief Executive Officer to a well-prepared Patrick Spence. Patrick demonstrated his leadership most recently with Sonos’ success during the holiday period, but more importantly, there isn’t a person who better embodies Sonos’ values and culture.

Patrick Spence and John MacFarlane
Patrick Spence (left) and John MacFarlane

Patrick’s leadership comes at a magical moment for Sonos. Music has made the transition to streaming. It took longer than we expected but it’s fully here now, leading with a handful of paid subscription services: Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Google Play Music, QQ Music, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Tidal, etc. There will be many more options for music lovers as the music labels learn to make a start-up friendly ecosystem and the paid subscription services build platforms. Today, a Sonos owner can play almost everything ever made, and tomorrow we will certainly be able to do that with all manner of preferences, niches, themes, and mixes. Music is a wonderfully unique and developing thing, making our mission the most motivational in the world. It’s never been a better time for connecting music lovers in their homes to music creators.

Add to that the advent of useful experiences with voice assistants in the home to complement the smartphone, tablet, watch and laptop in finding the right music, at any given time of your day. Here at Sonos, we all came to this epiphany differently and at different moments, but the work we’re doing now will deliver meaningful experiences for music listening at home.

Other elements around our home ecosystem are maturing as well. Home Wi-Fi is becoming mission critical, (the reason we developed our mesh network and Boost) and it is now reflected in the growing diversity and depth in the consumer Wi-Fi market. The smart home is on the cusp of becoming an experience beyond early tech adoption.

The pivot that Sonos started at this time last year to best address these changes is complete. For us, it’s now about accelerating and leading. I can look ahead and see the role of Sonos, with the right experiences, partners, and focus, with a healthy future. In short, the future of the home music experience and the opportunity for Sonos has never been better. Never.

There are no typical transitions of leadership, especially for founder-led companies where the strength lies in a central interpretation of the culture that is essential for the formation and development of a new company in a complex and rapidly changing environment. However, the culture must move beyond the founder, and that’s a unique path for every company. That moment has come for Sonos. I trust Patrick and the team with this growth.

Moving forward, I will remain as a Sonos employee, with a mission to help and advise. In addition to mentoring Sonos leaders, I will be focusing on two areas that I am most passionate about. First, I’ll help to center and potentially expand Sonos’ commitment to STEM education. Second, I’ll continue to work within the music and tech industries to help create a start-up friendly ecosystem.

It’s been a pleasure and honor working toward a mission of filling every home with music. The fifteen-year journey has been filled with fantastic adventures, hard learnings, and everything in between. I look forward to our next chapter.

Sincerely,
John