Drew Houston On Dropbox Startup Lessons Learned

Drew Houston On Dropbox Startup Lessons Learned



Drew Houston is Cofounder & CEO of Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily.

Drew Houston shares lessons leaned starting and growing Dropbox. Dropbox users now save 1 million files every 5 Minutes.

# No advertising spend in the beginning
# Mostly done by engineers w/ some guidance but no prior marketing experience
# Building a bulletproof, scalable, cross-platform cloud storage architecture is hard
#Learn early, learn often
# Simple landing page: capture interest/email address
# Dropbox’s minimum viable product:3 min screencast on Hacker News (Apr 07): Lots of immediate, high-quality feedback
# Biggest risk: making something no one wants
# Not launching painful, but not learning fatal
# Put something in users hands (doesn’t have to be code) and get real feedback ASAP
# Know where your target audience hangs out & speak to them in an authentic way
# Our Web 2.0 Marketing Plan:
-Big launch at TechCrunch50
-Buy some AdWords
-Hire, um, a PR firm, or a VP of Marketing, or something
# Hired experienced SEM & affiliate marketing guy ($$)
# Picked out keywords, made landing pages
# Hid the free account option for people arriving via paid search, replace with free time-limited trial
# On Google Adwords:
-Problem: Most obvious keywords bidded way up-
-Problem: Long tail had little volume
-Problem: Hiding free option was shady, confusing, buggy
-Affiliate program, display ads, etc sucked too
# Reached 1mm users 7 months after launch
# Lots of pressure (or guilt) to do things the traditional way. But think first principles
# Fortunately, we spent almost all our effort on making an elegant, simple product that “just works” and making users happy
# Hired the smartest people we knew
# “Keep the main thing the main thing”
# Mostly ignored (or woefully mishandled):
-hiring non-engineers
-mainstream PR
-traditional messaging/positioning
-deadlines, process, “best practices”
-having a “real” website
-partnerships/bizdev
-having lots of features
# Product-market fit cures many sins of management
#Why were conventional techniques failing, yet we were still succeeding?
-AdWords wasn’t the problem
-Nobody wakes up in the morning wishing they didn’t have to carry a USB drive, email themselves, etc.
-Similar things existed, but people weren’t actively looking for what we were making
-Display ads, landing pages ineffective
-Search is a way to harvest demand, not create it
# Give users better tools to spread the love
# Know your market type & how your product fits into your user’s life
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