And thank you HN — I’m pretty sure the upvotes on the original screencast helped us get into YC and on Paul & Jessica’s radar to begin with!
Even you BrandonM — https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9224 — my favorite HN comment thread of all time :)
I like to think that I've gained a lot of perspective over the last 11 years; it's pretty clear to me that point #1 was short-sighted and exhibited a lot of tunnel vision. Looking back, though, I still think that thread was a reasonable exchange. My 2nd and 3rd points were fair, and I conceded much of point 1 to you after your reply (which was very high quality).
Obviously, we have the benefit of hindsight now in seeing how well you were able to execute. Kudos on that!
Congrats on your success! I wish you nothing but the best going forward!
Also, one thing I think people ignore is that BrandonM's comment was notable because it was voted to the top.
Which means that the people reading and voting on the thread, at the time, thought it was the best reply. But no one will ever point a finger at them, because they're anonymous. They also have less chance for self-reflection - who remembers an upvote?
(Which does of course raise the question: were people upvoting for that part, or despite it? We'll never know)
I don't know what's the best system to make people reconsider their actions, however. After all, giving a single upvote and walking away is incredibly easy. Coming back to recognize your mistakes is hard.
" No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame." for the original iPod, springs to mind.
I thought dropbox was a great idea from the very beginning... but I've been repeatedly amazed at the scale of the opportunity. People working cross-mobile/desktop must be a big part of it.
Or just multiple computers. Also don't forget file sharing and collaboration.
I'm a long-time Dropbox user, and my first use cases were, in order:
- shared folders with friends at university, when we were working on projects together
- shared folder for myself between personal computer and a station at work
Nowadays I use it mostly as a way to sync up my time/task tracking (in Emacs/org-mode) between multiple machines and mobile devices.
OTOH, my SO regularly uses Dropbox at work to exchange bundles of 200+MB files with other companies, and it's telling - there really is no better, safer solution for a regular user to send someone larger files when they no longer fit in an e-mail.
You seem like a great person & I wish you well with your own projects.
I think the typical HN user has morphed a bit at this point(re: crypto) but it’s great to be able to reference the totally aloof engineer that existed at that time.
I bet that describes a lot of the early HN (originally: Startup News) users. I don't think it was really "totally aloof engineers", but instead young geeks without much perspective on the world. Most of us weren't even engineers at that point, by any reasonable definition of the term.
However, the fact it has not died and is in fact 'a success' from the capitalist side of things, means what I think about filesharing being an OS service, doesn't really matter. Microsoft and Apple and all the other vendors are asleep at the wheel - but it has to be said that its just a distro upgrade away from being the end of Dropbox for a lot of people.
I mean, I guess I'm glad they didn't pull a Google and break it in new and exciting ways every 6 months, but really, it should have been changed back a week after they screwed it up.
Big congrats to the Dropbox team, though -- I use their product personally because it Just Works. Interviewed there back in 2011 when the office was (next to?) the old Fry's in Palo Alto.
The % used is seen when you click on the settings. I think because, honestly, they're trying to abstract the idea that you need to do that (the average user just cares that it works not the %).
Get where you're coming from tho - it's not the most clear or clean UI.
“Imagine all your devices—PCs, and soon Macs and mobile phones—working together to give you anywhere access to the information you care about.” Wait a minute. Something smells fishy here. Isn’t that exactly what Hailstorm  was supposed to be? I smell an architecture astronaut.
And what is this Windows Live Mesh?
It’s a way to synchronize files.
Jeez, we’ve had that forever. When did the first sync web sites start coming out? 1999? There were a million versions. xdrive, mydrive, idrive, youdrive, wealldrive for ice cream. Nobody cared then and nobody cares now, because synchronizing files is just not a killer application. I’m sorry. It seems like it should be. But it’s not.
Has he made any public comment on synchronizing files / killer app in the intervening years?
I think it's interesting to go back to that thread, look at what the author (BrandonM) has done since then and learn some important lessons about being able to step outside of your own head to see the bigger picture.
Looks like he's still working for another company and has an unfinished blog (http://shebang.brandonmintern.com) but he seems like a really smart guy. The takeaway I got from the thread is "Don't be afraid to try something and finish it".
You guys had a lot of courage and perseverance to take an idea that people trivialized, have a working implementation, build a company around it and then IPO.
It's very easy for tech people to say, "But it's totally easy, you just [long string of steps that they've learned over the course of years]." It takes time to learn that no, easy things for you can be hard for others. If you want them to use the thing, you have to make it dead easy. I note that Apple made a shit-ton of money because so many tech companies (e.g., MP3 player makers) refused to really learn this lesson.
His second point, that USB sticks were still necessary, wasn't bad, just not forward-looking enough. He wrote it before the introduction of the iPhone, after all. But back then, high-quality connectivity was much less common. Then, Dropbox would have worked better for some than others.
And his third point was correct. Charging cash money is important.
So really, it's not a bad comment for a CS student. And it reminds me that I'm very thankful that most of my youthful opinion-spouting happened in offline and pre-web contexts.
The people we really should be raking over the coals are the VCs who didn't invest. Spotting good products is their job.
if every Brandon out there was able to see the big picture, Dropbox would have had A LOT more competition, when Dropbox was still in the early stages. It would have made it a lot harder for Dropbox to succeed, right?
So in a way, the fact that the millions of Brandon's out there who think curlftpfs is the best, and are not capable of seeing the true value of Dropbox--perhaps that was a positive thing for Dropbox, right? Otherwise they might have tried to make a similar product and competed with you years ago :)
Unlike investing in the stock market, where you want to hit lots of singles, angel/startup investing is all about hitting home runs as the vast majority of the time you are going to strikeout.
Edit: someone posted an archived link: https://web.archive.org/web/20100817162301/http://dl-web.dro...
One of the highlights of my MIT experience was going to your ~yearly tech talks that you did at the beginning of the fall semester. I’m excited to see Dropbox continue to grow as a company. :)
2. He misunderstood initial description of Drop; that the files will reside locally even if you lose internet connection you still can access those.
3. He was wrong about "viral" but right about inability to "make money off of this" :)
Congrats on listing!