In other words, while I appreciate that it's nice to fantasize about the single hacker making $$$ off a side project they built over a weekend, reality is far more nuanced. There exists these people, to be sure, but they are far and few between. Most of the time, big companies valued in the billions of dollars actually do need headcount to help keep that business running.
The amount of work that goes into creating and selling a brand, running the actual business (selling, implementing, supporting), on top G&A, is way more than people realize.
On top of that, the amount of work that goes into raising money, preparing for IPO, etc. is also quite a lot.
That's before you get into building the actual product, developing the roadmap, working with product marketing, R&D, etc.
I run this issue especially when building software for parts of the business that aren't product - engineers are so condescending it's remarkable.
2) startups are always growing or shrinking. no point putting so much significant capital unless it is an established in for a long haul at a location where talent is surplus.
3) if you indeed have that much capital, you can pretty much dictate what you want and get some tax benefits (amazon, second HQ) or work with a city build a new building suitable for your long-term needs (apple).
4) not much inventory that meets your needs in SF market because the property prices are always going up.
5) the leasing company actually has limited leverage. finding another tenant esp. the size of dropbox is not easy. you can bin pack other tenants but you lose lot of money until all new tenants move in.
This can be true even at the SMB level. My employer sees only a couple of million in revenue yearly, we lease our warehouse/office space and we have more or less free reign to make any non-structural changes. If we decide to clear out a corner of the warehouse to put in more office space, we can (and we have). We just have to pay for the materials and labor. We've actually had our lease renewed on better terms over the years for being good tenants.
Interestingly that's exactly the case in Germany. Home ownership there is one of the lowest in the world so that tenants stay in one place for longer. It's normal for tenants to change apartments as they like during the tenancy. Landlords don't care as long as it's in a good state at the end of the tenancy.
Well yeah, but you can still pay someone else to do it, even if you own the property.
Dropbox is a decade old, at this point...
If you think about it - do you want to invest in 'real estate' or your 'high growth business'. And buildings are very expensive so it would be a huge amount of cash. And cash-flow is always an issue in a growth company.
Of course, it would mostly be financed with a mortgage, but then you get into a weird balance sheet situation - massive asset, and if the company folds, or wants to move, what do you do with it? It's hard to just 'flip' a building. Do they want to 'manage a property' in that 'old area they used to be in'?
Aside from the operational/cash flow issues, it wonks up the companies metrics as well. This 'big ball of assets' can distort all the reporting metrics.
Companies really don't want to 'own' anything unless it's a totally core thing to their experience.
Long-term leases can be negotiated with future pricing in mind.
Think Hotels: Four Seasons and Fairmont don't even own most of their hotels! They get big, long-term funds (think Saudi sovereign funds) to buy the real estate, and then sing a super long term lease-deals and then the hotel is really just an 'operating company' with those physical asset off the balance sheet.
'Owning property' is usually a fundamentally different business than whatever is going on inside the buildings.
If you are a 'growth' company, your cash is almost always better used in your business.
If you are a 'massive fund' (or a bank) that needs to park gazillions of dollars around the world long-term and you want fairly low risk but some kind of return - you buy property.
Is one way to look at it.
Some companies own their own real estate, but that involves hiring a number of people dedicated to managing it. It might be more efficient to outsource that to a landlord.
There are probably also tax implications to one or the other depending on the company's situation.
Target is a good example of this. It's a $32B company that owns $24B of real estate.
When they lease a space, it's a contract, so they could put in favorable language for renewing the lease. Guinness brewery famously has a 9,000 year lease paying only £45 annually.
If they grow to be big enough, then they can move out at build their own campus. Equalises the leverage at that point.
Also, the lease term will be for more than a few years (IMO 5-10) and that’s good enough time to figure out growing plans.
That's a far cry from
So, they currently have ~300k square feet. They are expanding to a space with 736k square feet. And they have 102 job openings posted, which they were all filled would expand their workforce by less than 10%. What exactly do they need all this new space for? Even if they have huge plans to somehow expand their filesharing business, doubling their workforce at this point seems quite optimistic.
https://www.dropbox.com is in the same style and I find it looks very unprofessional, even if it is targeted to regular users. It looks like an art gallery? https://www.dropbox.com/business on the other hand looks clean and trustworthy.
So do I, but now I have a reason to finally finish that nextcloud VM I've been meaning to set up for ages :-)
Bold move, Cotton.
It's not URL hijacking.
They have an EV cert.
Ok, you got me, I have no idea how you're pulling it off. Some kind of silly hacker trickery must be the explanation, because there's absolutely no way that a company with such a long track record of tasteful design would intentionally put something that hideous into production. Right? Right??!
Taking screenshots with different tools reveals two other pages (I assume the first is what you're seeing):
Reasons might be ui/startup designers being pushed into territory they dont know. It might be management dumbing down "too cool" design. But overall it feels like strange hybrid without much energy or appeal.
But i applaud them for trying something new.
Only corp that manages to sucessfuly bring this kind of design approach is bloomberg. https://www.bloomberg.com/businessweek
> mugsie: Wow. that is (from my perspective - but only mine) terrible.
> supernintendo: This is the worst UX I've seen in a long time. Not only that, it's visually garish.
> chrissnell: That typeface is just dreadful.
To me, it makes Dropbox seem like a place where people are encouraged to care about their craft!
The response from 'ordinary' users on Twitter has been tepid at best, I guess people just want their files reliably synced, rather than "inspiring creative energy" (Dropbox's word choice, not mine!).
You meant a parking lot, didn't you ? :D
Snide remarks aside, there are nice drawing of Octavia Boulevard in https://www.amazon.com/Boulevard-Book-Evolution-Multiway-Bou... and an interesting (at least to me) backstory of its development in https://www.amazon.com/Street-Fight-Struggle-Mobility-Franci...
This is exactly why SF sucks to live in. You have to live there to be close to work, but you're in competition with your damn office. Talk about screwing over your employees.
The reality is that the market has determined that, with the limited resources available given current building codes, it is more profitable to build and lease commercial space. I don't know that I would blame the employers so much as the actual existing residents fighting against more dense housing.
Fun to see people playing the game... A lot of small allocation projects right in the high 49k sqft, as you would expect.
Also, the large project pipeline is currently at negative seven million sqft. Looks like projects have to get in line early to try to secure space. Some projects are big enough to take more than one year of allocations!
>> "I wish I could pay them more for that 1tb storage.
And not his intended:
>> "I wish I could pay them more for more than 1tb storage."
(His mis-spelling of that/than was kinda confusing)
(speaking from webhosting experience, same deal applies)
You are paying "more" for "1TB" that you won't actually use to fund the cost of people who actually do use it..
If the price was 1/10 of the TB price for 100GB, all the physical storage would be full and they wouldn't make any money since they couldn't ride the float from the overprovisioning..
With Arq you can do backups with versions (independent of db versions) there. It is useful if you want to have history of something.
What i am trying to say is that syncing is not only way how to use that 1TB.
That is just a portion of their infrastructure engineering activity. They also have product engineering - frontends, backends, mobile clients, integrations, etc.
It's not just a server under some college kid's desk.
This part really was highlighted to me when I contacted support over a bug. They linked me to an introduction to Dropbox which was kind of offensive since I've been a user for 8 years and they completely ignored the bug report it seems :-(
I guess it hadn't registered in my brain that a company with as many users as they do has customer service not unlike a larger Acme Co. tech support desk.
It is overkill!
Where else would they be?
Presumably relatively few of those people are really technical. The rest would be handling DMCA requests, support calls, enterprise sales, etc.
Still seems like a lot of people. I think that a lot of the time, middle management argue for hiring staff because having lots of reports gives you credibility -> seniority -> more money. Sure, it reduces profits, but if the majority of your remuneration is salary then that doesn't matter.
Anecdotal, but everyone I know who uses Dropbox is an engineer or engineering organization who has a healthy distrust of salesdrones.
Syncing quite often fails for small files too. I hope they will be able to pay some attention to these things in their nice new building.
I had a personal Dropbox account, that I upgraded to a business one (because I wanted certain of my devices to only have access to a subset of my files, for instance when traveling). Except that breaks auto photo uploading from mobile, so I reverted back to personal. Everything seems to have reverted, except the auto photo uploading tab, which now is stuck on telling me that I need to connect a personal account.
Keep in mind that this is one of only 4 tabs in their mobile app, so you think it'd get pretty thorough debugging. It blows my mind how so many companies can blow tons of money on useless signaling things (like the recent redesign) while neglecting to test very basic functionality of their product.
Why should it be one? Wouldn't you pay less to be in a functional building instead? I know that choice means that SF will never be a Chicago, but that ship has long sailed, no?
(Dang, I was just joking, but then, "NSA document indicates that it is planning to add Dropbox as a PRISM provider": https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants... )