Podcast: Drew Houston on ‘How Dropbox Got Started’

Podcast: Drew Houston on 'How Dropbox Got Started'

Drew Houston describes his journey as an entrepreneur and his creation of Dropbox in this podcast series. He shares an in-depth view of the idea behind the design, how it got the name, his struggles with getting investors, and the methods he used to gain an audience.

How Dropbox Got Started: Drew Houston

Drew’s personal experience where he needed to finish some work while on commute sparked his idea of cloud storage. He was able to identify this inconvenience and how he, and other people, could benefit from uploading all kinds of files and being able to access them at any time on any device.

His goal in mind was to make this product available on several platforms. Dropbox’s success was due to its compatibility with a lot of different devices, be it Apple or Android. Drew tells how he started with the business model, and how he hired people from MIT to be the engineers for the software.

There were several difficulties along with the implementation of the business model and Drew shares his story of how he was originally aiming to get funding from Y Combinator. His persistence to get the product noticed was unrelenting and he used a variety of methods. He describes some of these as unconventional. 

Drew tells how Reddit was used as a platform to check for a niche for the product and his expectations for the number of people who would sign up for the service. He also tells the story about the main audience for his product being professionals and their need for a product that enabled collaboration. 

Only 4 percent of the entire customer base provided the profits from the service. Adopting the freemium business model was Drew’s main method for securing a steady cash flow. The service had attracted some potential entrepreneurs who wanted to acquire it. Facebook and Apple were two of these companies.

What’s surprising about Dropbox is Drew’s withdrawal from the consumer business. He narrates how circumstances provided a foreshadowing of the future of the company. Listen to this podcast and find out in detail how Drew Houston carried Dropbox from its infancy to its retirement.


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