Creator of Dropbox accumulated failures to turn new billionaire


In Silicon Valley, say that failure is a matter of honor – and practically a prerequisite for success.

Thus for Drew Houston, the newest member of the largest hub of billionaires in the world technology in California club.

Houston, 31, founded Dropbox – a service for sharing files online -. Arash Ferdowsi in 2007 with The company, founded just seven years ago, is now valued at $ 10 billion (approximately U.S. $ 22 billion).

But he failed several times before achieving success.

While studying computer science at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), had the idea of ​​creating a computer program to play poker with real money on the network.

But the game had a defect.

“There were errors that caused the player passed all rounds and stay out of the game. Was an automatic way to lose all your money,” he laughs.

The first serious business idea was an online course to help students prepare for entrance exams in colleges.


The three years he worked on this project have not yielded nothing but frustration for their work in collaboration with colleagues became the inspiration for Dropbox.

“I was on a bus going from Boston to New York with a great list of things I wanted to do. Looked all my pockets until I discovered I had forgotten my stick,” he explains.

“I thought, I never want to have that problem,” he says.

With four hours to spend and nothing to do, he decided to start writing code, and thus was born Dropbox, a tool for file storage cloud online.

Initially, investors received the idea so warm because there were many other tools for cloud-based storage.

“But I asked: ‘Do you use any of them They always said no,” he says.

Today, seven years later, Dropbox has proved a success, recently reaching 300 million users – an audience that he says he never could have had with their previous ideas.

And that, he says, is part of the key to success. “Make something people want. This seems so obvious, but when you analyze why companies fail, it is usually because they have not enough customers.”

The timing was also good for Dropbox – Houston launched the company at the time that users were migrating to other devices, from mobile phones to netbooks and then tablets.

To Houston, and develop an easy to use product, the other essential ingredient for the success of a product is a good distribution.

“With Dropbox, enough people tell to your friends and collaborate. When you go to work and start a project with colleagues you basically recruit them to turn Dropbox users, because you are working on a joint project.”


It is clear that the notion of risk is part of the very idea of ​​entrepreneurship, but Houston believes there is exaggeration in this view.

“It is a misconception to imagine that entrepreneurs love risk. Actually, we all want things to go as expected. Must have a blind optimism and tolerance for uncertainty.”

He says that when he started the company, would have been intimidated by the idea of ​​having 700 employees, like Dropbox have today.

“The good news is that it happens gradually,” he says.

“One of the great things about moving to Silicon Valley is that you are surrounded by people who have done it before. This place is an assembly line that takes people with twenties to cover everything they need to learn.”

“It takes commitment to learning and put on the edge of your comfort zone to develop skills that do not come naturally.”

And upon entering the billionaires club?

“It’s very disappointing, actually,” he laughs. “It would be great if there was just a switch that lights up with happiness. But of course I feel very happy, and increasingly self and others in Dropbox will spend more time thinking about how to give a good return to the community.”