Everyone’s journey is a unique inscription through time and isn’t a path that can be retraced or duplicated. How We Got Here is a series of concise recollections of personal journeys as told by talented creative individuals with different backgrounds, careers, and interests who share their struggles and motivations to explain how they reached this point in their lives.
The series begins with a story from Anna Sian who works at Spotify as Head of Marketing in their podcasts division.
She’s been a steady presence in New York City having previously worked at Staple and VSCO. Read on for her account of how she got here.
— 34, New York —
Standing in the total darkness of the tiny bathroom in our East Village apartment except for a single amber light, I watched attentively as my dad ran a sheet of paper through a sequence of tray baths, explaining how I could use this process to develop my own photos. Later this week I wanted to further develop my latest song and there was also a poetry slam to prepare for.
Growing up in New York City was to be in the center of overlapping experimental artistry. My parents were architects and artists and they showed me the many possible avenues I could explore.
Even more than my nuclear family, the city cultivated the creative spark I’ve always felt. I saw what creative expression meant for individual New Yorkers, and in a big picture way what that meant for New York as a whole—and I wanted to be a part of it.
Like a sponge, I soaked up the influences around me and like coral I grew linked to the city’s extended reef of arts, creativity, and expression.
I love people. I love meeting new people and hearing the stories of other creative people. I pushed forward, following my various passions while remaining open to experimentation, and found ways to create that enabled me to understand other people better and inspire them to do things.
Even when people have diverse backgrounds, languages, and ethnicities, what we create and share serves as a unifying bond. That helps me make sense of the connections I cultivate—if we can connect over what we create, we can better understand how to add value to our lives.
“Marketing is often thought of as making hard sells, the carnival barker with the flashiest banner or the biggest button, but marketing done well meaningfully contributes to a community.”
“I love people. I love meeting new people and hearing the stories of other creative people. I pushed forward, following my various passions while remaining open to experimentation, and found ways to create that enabled me to understand other people better and inspire them to do things.”