Pandora Pandemonium

The other day I had a meeting at Pandora. The music streaming service, not the diamonds.

As I slunk into their uber-cool Uptown Oakland office, mere blocks from the old Sears building that the actual Uber just purchased to occupy in 2017, I realized more than ever that we in the Bay Area are living in extraordinary times. Tech has truly taken over. pandora ear shot paula mangin

Add this to the pile of things that makes me feel old. But not before my Pandora reception experience, where during check-in via ipad, my face appeared on-screen inches away, both horrifying and startling me backwards so fast that the camera snapped a photo ID badge of my ear. (See photo at left. This is not a joke.)

Ha! I’d foiled their plan to use facial recognition to activate the “old” trapdoor dropping my ass at Amoeba between the crates of The Clash and Camper Van Beethoven. pandora oakland sign 2


I love music, always have. So after I got past the photo trauma and was given a giant glass of water (hot flash), I was met in the lobby by my hosts who took me on a tour of the company.

Other than nods to music, the space was much like every other Silicon Valley, San Francisco and now Oakland tech firm with scads of money and a workforce too young to have heard of Day on The Green or Faith No More.pandora radio sign 4

If I’m being honest with myself, I’m secretly thrilled I get to see the guts of so many tech Giants turned normal parts of everyday life. It seems each salon, store, or space I visit is tuned to Pandora (I love trying to guess the artist they picked), and so it’s fun to see what actually goes on where it all happens.

And yet, every time I meet at one of these firms, I feel fucking ancient. But once I get over the initial “good god, they could all be my kids” horror, I start to relax and feel, well, lucky. Lucky that I got to spend hours on end at Tower Records rifling through records. Lucky to have read miles of liner notes. Lucky that I got to see the Ramones and the Buzzcocks and Big Star. And Lucky to go to shows where people cared more about what was happening on stage than in their Instagram feeds.

So excuse me while I tune my radio to KALX. Yes, I still listen to music on the radio (KALX is the Cal Berkeley station and plays the best music in the world.) There is a KALX app, so I suppose I’m not that much of a luddite.



4 Responses


    Hi Paula! I loved reading this and I can SO relate. I work for/at a lot of these tech companies doing corporate videos. I was at Google a couple of days ago and was thinking about these two men that I was doing makeup on and how young they looked. Like babies! I thought that they had to be in their early twenties and they both were 31! Then calculated how much older I was. Ugh!
    That being said, I’m also glad that I worked at Tower Video and watched videos on end, got to see the Police, The Violent Femmes and The Stray Cats (with Jennifer) all in my youth. That there were no iPhones and Instagram accounts and that we actually spent time with our friends instead of exchanging texts and i-messages. I love your personal stories. They make me laugh and are so relatable! xo

    1. Paula

      Stacy! Thanks so much for writing, and I’m so glad you like the post. EVERYBODY looks like a baby. That skin! I honestly don’t ever remember being that smooth. And wow, you worked at Tower? I would spend entire afternoons there, and always loved how they’d post giant album covers on the walls out-front on the Columbus store on Tuesdays to announce the new “drops”, and I’d be so excited to get my hands on those new records. The whole vibe inside made me so happy. xoxoxoxoxo

    1. Paula

      Thanks so much Rachel! I really appreciate it. Hope you and the store are great — will be stopping by soon and we need to finally get that dinner on the books. xoxoxoxoxo

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