For this Friday’s interview, meet Roel van der Ven!
Hailing from Amsterdam in The Netherlands, Roel is part of the amazing front-end team responsible for developing the great interface that propelled SoundCloud to the…well, clouds.
How did you come to work at SoundCloud?
Oooh, long story. To make it short: I’ve been doing web-related work for a long time now. After school, I completed a graduation internship at Last.fm in London. Back in Amsterdam, where I’m from, I was freelancing and helped organize some conferences (and a Music Hackday!). We put on Music & Bits, a conference about music & technology. In the midst of contacting cool people to speak at the conference, I met Alex & Eric, the CEOs of Soundcloud.
I then moved to Berlin with 3 friends to start our own company: Your Neighbours. We did some very cool projects while working for a variety of clients. But being a small company has complications. For big projects, you have to hire other people, which means I had to take on project manager responsibilities. Being the middle man frustrated me – I ended up spending all day talking on the phone and sending emails. I learned a lot, but not the stuff I wanted to learn. So I decided to find a place where I could grow and learn in my field of interest. When I asked Alex and Eric for a lead, it turned out a lot better than I expected!
What do you do for SoundCloud?
I’m responsible for front-end development, which is basically the stuff you see in your browser. Katharina, our lead designer, creates the graphics, the look, and feel; and I turn that into something your browser understands. I do what comes after the design: make the site faster, load better, and behave better in your browser. It’s pretty exciting working on the interface of a product which is used by so many many people.
What’s your favorite thing about working here?
Working on an awesome product. We’re basically building the future of music here. Also, the team is incredible. People before me said this too, but I must agree. It’s such a pleasure working with this bunch of talented and motivated maniacs, incredible.
What kind of music are you into?
Hah, that’s hard to explain. It ranges from indie to electro, contemporary classic to balkan, whatever resonates the results of passion I guess. Berlin is supposed to be the city of techno, but I can get the shivers for example from singer/songwriter Fink, check it out:
Are you a musician yourself?
Not really – I used to play the guitar but I abandoned music-making because I got sucked into working too much. Music seems to get back on my track every time, so I definitely will pick it up again any time soon. I brought my guitar to Berlin, only have to get me some new strings!