Drew Houston

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Son of a Harvard university graduate Dew was born in Acton, Massachusetts in 1983. Drew gained primary education from Acton - Box borough High school. Drew had a deep interest playing with computers from beginning. He learnt basic programming in computer which was given by his father. At very young age in his high school, he successfully managed to transform his ideas into possible startups. In the later time he graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology widely known as a MIT with a degree in Computer Science & Electrical engineering.
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Drew is known for his contribution to develop Dropbox. However, in his early life he was also very active and worked on startups projects like Accolade, hub spot.Dropbox is known to be his sixth startup as his main focus was to create a file hosting service.
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Everyone is aware of the Dropbox. However, very few people know the actual story behind the idea of developing one of the finest technology named Dropbox. Dew used to carry his thumb drive with him all the time and it was very difficult for him carry data from one place to another every day. Once he was travelling from Boston to New York he forgot his thumb drive and he decided to get over this issue once it for all and managed to write down some codes in his editor to develop something unique which can help him to carry his data from one place to another without his thumb drive. But that was just beginning.

Dropbox (September 2008)

Dropbox service offers cloud storage, file synchronization and many client software. Dropbox function in a very unique way as it creates a specific folder on the user’s system and pass it to synchronize with Dropbox’s server which can eventually function in the computer of the other people who already have Dropbox installed in their PCs.

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Drew Houston said in the press conference that “He was trying to get rid of thumb drive which he always keep forgetting to carry along himself. Drew also mention that in the beginning he was just trying to solve problem for many people who were facing the same issue carrying their data using thumb drives and other USB storage devices.

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Dropbox use freemium business model, which offer a free account with a fixed storage size. However, people can get access to premium version of Dropbox by a paid version. It offers many features ranging from more storage capacity, advanced sharing controls and also remote wipe. Initially Drew and cofounder of Dropbox Arash Ferdowsi both were clear about their product as they just didn’t want to provide free storage to people but also concerned about security of that storage. Moreover, they managed to lift security standards after collaboration with IT leaders. Since Dropbox launched, they were under the impression that it might be more suitable for an individual or the group of employees who works on the same project at the same time. In November 2013, after receiving a positive response from Dropbox users, Dropbox announced newer version of Dropbox known as a “Dropbox for business” which enable users to share their personal and professional content. In January 2017, Dropbox came up with new idea “Smart sync” especially for Business customers. It allows both Windows and Mac users to access their files in the specific Dropbox folder but can only download specific files.

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A user friendly service offering online storage back up. Dropbox offers applications for Windows, Mac OS and Linux computers as well. Dropbox managed to get initially funding from Y-Combinator. Moreover, in 2007 Dropbox raised 1.2 million USD from Sequoia Capital.

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Drew mentioned in one of his interview that attracting people towards your product is completely different than actually developing a product. He also mentioned that, in the initial stage you only focus on creating a unique product. However, you also need to know how you can distribute product in order to give the credit to your hard work. Drew also believe that communication with your product users is equally important as employees. It can provide you some improvement suggestions as they use your product daily. Dropbox do offer Account management for special Business customers as well as personal assistance through tech support team. Dropbox team is also very helpful through social networking to provide best customer service.
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Dropbox was initially developed with funding help from Y Combinator startup funding company it is known as the most successful investment till now. It was officially launched at the TechCrunch50 annual technology conference in 2008. However, like any other startups there were some serious issues regarding its trademark with Proxy. In the later time company signed contract with companies like Sony Ericsson and Soft bank which helped them to lift number of users to 50 million by October 2011.

Drew strongly believe that the timing of the beginning of the company was one of its key factor behind company's success. Moreover, he added that user-friendly interface and overall good distribution played an important role behind Dropbox's overall success. In November 2012, Drew made an announcement of 100 million users. Due to overall success and development of the Dropbox, Drew managed to secure his place in top 30 entrepreneurs as well as Dropbox was listed in one of the best 20 startups in Silicon Valley.

Story of Drew Houston in Dropbox’s Dublin HQ

“Instead of trying to make your life perfect, give yourself the freedom to make in adventure, and go ever upward” – Drew Houston

Personal takeaways

It is obvious that you should have business mind to become a successful entrepreneur. Additionally, your behavior towards your cofounder, employees and users should be friendly in order to gain their trust and respect. As I have studied Drew’s life and achievements I’ve realized that he is so humble & friendly. First thing I have learnt is to create cheap yet effective product which can attract customers easily. Like Dropbox, gives 2GB of free storage which is one of the key factor behind Dropbox’s success. Even for people who are working in groups and share larger amount of data can sign up for extra 50GB of date only for 10$ a month. In order to run a big company, you must have leadership skills which you can develop through reading articles, books on business, management and so on. It’s always better to solve your problems rather than running from it. If Drew kept ignoring his issue with thumb drive, he would have never thought above developing something called Dropbox.