A Day in the Life of Ryan Sims of Rdio

For this month’s Designer Dailies, we take a peek into the working life of San Francisco-based designer Ryan Sims, who leads the design team at Rdio, the groundbreaking digital music service that is reinventing the way people discover, listen to, and share music. Let’s follow him through a typical day at the Rdio office, with a few excursions along the way.


8:30 AM: Start the Friday morning off with a cup of coffee, checking email and hanging out with my German Shepherd/Corgi mix Chauncey. The apartment is in the Mission district, just a few blocks away from the Rdio offices in a Victorian apartment. At about 9:30 AM, I head out for the half mile walk to Rdio.


10:30 AM: Catch up with Rob and Jess, fellow Rdio designers, on progress. The team is working on ways that listeners can discover new music and making that experience enjoyable. Formal meetings are kept to a minimum, typically with only one per week, so that everyone can maximize their time designing. Rob Naber was previously the director of online design at Current TV and Jess was a designer at 7 for All Mankind, and both are musicians. Instruments of choice are bass guitar and the harp, respectively.



12:00 PM: On Fridays, everyone heads to the “Streatfood” food truck park for some local food. On a sunny day, it seems that all of the startup scene floods the giant converted parking lot for some sun and good conversation. Senor Sisig, Filipino fusion, is a team favorite.


1:30 PM: Back at the office, some sneak up to the top floor of the building, currently under construction, for a view of the city. One of the major pluses of this building in the Mission is that it’s got an absolutely incredible view. Sunsets are different every time. Sunrises are another thing. Probably only a select few have been at the office early enough to see it.


1:45 PM: Showing off the first place prize won in a recent San Francisco Berlin-Style Ping Pong League tournament together. Office challenges are always accepted.




After a couple more hours of cranking out work, the design team heads out onto the streets of the Mission for a coffee break.


Heath Ceramics is a beautiful local artisan shop, home to artists’ studios and a Blue Bottle coffee stand. We order a round of coffee while the team decompresses. It’s nice to appreciate physical craft in contrast to digital design.


6:30 PM: Finally, unwinding with some beers at Southern Pacific Brewing Company, another local gem with outdoor patio seating and homemade brews.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ryan and the Rdio design team, consider applying to Bridge, a designer-in-residence program that connects experienced designers with top startups in the SF Bay Area. The Bridge Fall 2013 application period closes July 14th.

Photos by Helena Price.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.