How Dropbox Won

A couple of days ago, I came across something very interesting Dave Winer shared on twitter. It was a link to the application Drew Houston, the Dropbox founder submitted to YCombinator for their Summer 2007 cycle. I opened it out of curiosity and found it very interesting and thought provoking to read. Here’s is the answer from the application, to the  question: What is your company going to make?”

“Dropbox synchronizes files across your/your team’s computers. It’s much better than uploading or email, because it’s automatic, integrated into Windows, and fits into the way you already work. There’s also a web interface, and the files are securely backed up to Amazon S3. Dropbox is kind of like taking the best elements of subversion, trac and rsync and making them “just work” for the average individual or team. Hackers have access to these tools, but normal people don’t…”

The moment I read this I realized how well Drew saw the future of his product way before even anyone else sees it. He had a very clear vision what the product is and how it’d help to solve what he waned to solve. And looking at the success of Dropbox, it’s obvious that he has executed his plan precisely. This sure is a winning mix. I’d be surprised if a product fails to achieve suceess with the founders having this kind of insight about what they’re going to do. I’m sure Paul Graham had his winning smile when he saw this one… well, here’s exactly what came to his mind when going through the Dropbox application Y Combinator received that summer…

125 points by pg 452 days ago | link

What happens when I read this:

File syncing. Superset of backups, which people will pay for. Good. Single founder. Bad. But at least he’s looking for more people. Went to MIT, 1600 SAT. Probably fairly smart. Wrote a poker bot. Now I’m starting to get interested; has the right attitude. Description of the software sounds plausible but generic. Maybe it’s good, but who can tell. But little sister uses it; that’s impressive. Scroll down to what he understands that competitors don’t get. Wow: very concise and unequivocal. I’m now basically sold. Scroll through the rest. No red flags. Did not make the usual joke single founders make when asked how long the founders have known one another. Good answer to what might go wrong. A-. (Would be an A with a cofounder.)

Very interesting indeed. It seems PG sure knows when he sees a killer idea and a brilliant mind behind it.
The application is full of very interesting questions like What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?”  and brilliant answers from the Dropbox founder. It’s really worth a read if you are a startup minded person and I strongly suggest that you answer yourself to this application for any products you are building.
Oh and btw, If you haven’t used Dropbox yet, Trust me! you have no idea what you are missing.
-SeeJay

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