Except perhaps in the case of an acquihire; if they're going to pull the plug on the service, there's not much point in advertising what you can't have ;)
It is also really bad when all the links point back to the blog
I have a half-written blog post from months ago on why Dropbox should by Quip for this reason - they should be trying to leapfrog Google Docs to stay competitive.
Best of luck to the team!
So for me, this acquisition seems like a loss. I realize that Hackpad has said that they'll keep the site alive, but I expect it to be less functional if everyone maintaining it is a full-time Dropbox employee now. Fingers crossed that there will someday exist a good collaborative doc editor for hackers that doesn't fall over when >10 people connect or require a Google account!
Full disclosure: I have written code and done security auditing for Hackpad. I tried to get them to add vim mode. :)
Honest question, why is that irony?
In this case it is more like having the kids grow up and being successful than anything nefarious. And YC gets to put 'acquired Apr '14' in the box of outcomes.
A toast, then, to Hackpad. Well done.
Where it isn't, set up shop in a smaller market that isn't the valley and have a separate office. Execs can split-time between the locations if necessary, but standing up an office in Houston, Austin, Atlanta, or wherever, and hiring another manager for that location can pay for itself quickly, considering wage-market discrepancy.
My office is in Mountain View, but I live in Annapolis, MD. We have an office in Georgetown, DC, that's about an hour away from me. I work from home, but have the convenience of the DC office in the event that I need to physically sign papers, get stationery, or whatever, and I fly out to MV for a week every couple of months, or every quarter.
Our company has a services division as well, that is mostly remote (though, remote in that scenario is generally on customer premises), and while sure, we have a need for office in some spots, we most of the time don't, so we oversubscribe desks and such. I think we have 6 desks in the Georgetown office for 20-something employees, and it's extremely rare that they're ever full.
There were articles that Google's employees in satellite offices were alienated due to perceived lack of power over decisions, power struggles with the mothership (Mountain View engineers would schedule meetings at a time that's convenient to them, forcing their foreign office to be online at ungodly hours), and project visibility.
Yes, it's expensive, but no, it's not 8k, it's half that.
Moreover, what on earth would that have to do with acquihires?
The GP's assertion was hyperbole. Acquihires are not the "default hiring method."
That's insane. I can live in a 4,000 sq foot 2 story 3 car garage in a very swank Chicago suburb for that price.
Yeah, it turns out there's a lot more space in suburbs than urban centers.
I still believe SFBA real estate to be insane.
There are still places which are considerably cheaper and even still accessible via regional transit like BART, but they're cheaper because they're not considered "interesting" neighborhoods. In another 6-12 months we may see a lot more people deciding the East Bay isn't so bad after all.
Congrats to the Hackpad team and to Dropbox here. Solid deal.
What's the state of the opensource alternatives? Etherpad development seems to have plateaued a while ago.
And, raw Etherpad has a lot of usability problems as well. Plus it's challenging to integrate it with an outside authentication mechanism.
I've looked at the code some and while on the one hand this could all be added, it's a clunky base. Node's come a long way since etherpad lite started.
If collaborative editing were the main focus of what I was working on, I'd say "yay, market opportunity!" But as it is, I just want to be able to plug in (and contribute to) a good open-source option. Which may wind up being Etherpad, but I'd like to do better ...
For me, three big ones are the checklists, @'s to refer to people and pads, and the much better display of who's changed things.
Dropbox's core business is unsustainable, and they can't compete long-term with rivals like Google and Apple.
They're flailing in all directions at the moment; pushing for the enterprise/government market with the appointment of Condoleezza Rice, now burning a load of money acquiring businesses offering tangential services, in the hope they can diversify their business model.
It won't work. Acquisitions like this never go to plan, and they are almost always a waste of money.
In the case of Dropbox, they need to go head-to-head with the Drive/Docs/Apps provision coming from Google. They're not as well-positioned to do that as they could be, and I'm not sure hackpad will be close to sufficient to get them there. But it's certainly a step in the right direction; documents are moving off the hard drive entirely, and there's no reason Dropbox can't help with the move to the cloud by expanding their offerings with moves exactly like this one.
What I don't understand about these acquisitions is how tangential it is to Dropbox's original value prop of being a "dumb" folder that would magically sync all of your files and stay out of your way. Now, instead of Dropbox passively running in the background and letting me do my thing, they want me to start actively engaging with the software.
I agree that it's necessary and overall a smart move, but still a very large and difficult pivot to make.
If that's really the play, Hackpad isn't the right acquisition. The real value is in the sheets/excel space, and the knowledge of collaborative document editing doesn't naturally translate to spreadsheets (the general nature of edits are not linear)
EtherCalc was, is, and will remain a F/OSS infrastructure project, not a business enterprise.
But even Search wasn't enough for Google; it's not wrong
for companies to expand their offerings.
- How awesome would it be if I could dump a bunch of mp3 files and an html page or index file or something, get a URL from the service and suddenly my band has a website. Then if I go to www.dropbox.com under some "music" category see my band listed there next to a bunch of other bands. Voila, instant promotion. Now the entire independent music industry has a promotion venue. Setup some kind of friendly payment processor and now bands can sell their music direct. (and oh yeah, you get automagic copyright protection since they can scan all other user's accounts for illegal copies of your music).
- How about letting my Dad dump some word documents in a folder called Chapter 01.docx Chapter 02.docx etc. get a URL and people can come check out his book's site with automatic conversion to various ebook formats (and a payment processor to handle the transactions)?
- Or in my "podcasts" directory dump an mp3 of my latest podcast and have it automatically publish out to iTunes and various other podcast search engines?
- Completely annihilate flickr and other services by letting me dump a bunch of photos into a folder, get an admin URL so I can type up descriptions and other metadata (and geolocate stuff on a map) and a publish URL to give out to people. Let me do that with with both a personal folder and a "pro" folder. Let people go to my publish URL and buy photos from me (auto watermarked by DB) or partner with a photo print service so people can buy prints at various sizes.
the list goes on and on and on and I'd bet people would pay a little money to be able to do some of this. It seems so obvious and the little bit that DB supports (like photo albums) is so lackluster its almost not worth using. It would get people to start filling their spaces up with stuff further upselling them on the need to buy more space. With a little finagling they could even wrap a social network on top of all this content and back door into Facebook's space.
I just don't get it.
I must say I do like your auto monetization angle though. If carousel is anything to go by, their 'we build UX ontop of your content' execution is so far a bit meh.
Trouble is, as Twitter showed, there's no long term joy in building a competitor to a service using its API.
Timing (sometimes) matters. 
It is entirely possible that they might actually have offerings
like this planned but prefer to offer them either later or in stages in order
to keep up some type of growth that investors expect.
Similarly it's common in some types of businesses to hold off booking sales until a later time period if recent revenue is "good enough" for a particular purpose.
That way you can continue to grow and not, for example, "shoot your load" all at one time.
Of course I have no clue as to why what you suggest is not being offered (independent of whether it is actually a good idea or not). But in business there are definitely reasons not to offer all the things you can do just because you can.
(And of course there could be a slew of other reasons as well, I'm just offering one perspective.)
 Another example might be (happened frequently in "olden times") rolling out software features not all at once so customers have a reason to buy a later version of the product.
Exactly. And both tech people and people with the ability to understand these incremental changes are not in a position to know what amounts to "to much" which can be a problem. Because they might have higher level abilities or they are just processing the incremental features which are relatively easy.
I remember at a company that I owned constantly adding new machinery. I could understand it on delivery same day. Employees who had to operate it couldn't. So I ended up with a bunch of machines that also when new employees were hired were tied together in a very complicated fashion. It caused many problems and complicated the process and offerings.
(Thanks for reminding me of this I had forgotten that point.)
With that said, recent releases (Carousel, Mailbox) point that due to the dearth of applications built on top of Dropbox they're bootstrapping the application layer themselves.
The problem is that DB caps your outgoing bandwidth so hosting even moderately large number of users will kill your site dead pretty quick.
It's obvious that people want to use it for these use cases, but DB hasn't been able to execute on that demand.
If they were to do this, I think it would have to be spun out as its own service. This makes it much easier to market and message. You are seeing similar things in the mobile space with Facebook unbundling its app.
Why can't I just make a "web-server" folder in my dropbox, drop a bunch of html, js and css and a few image files in there, get a URL and voila, instant website?
You sorta can already in truth, but they don't like it and the bandwidth is pretty severely capped on these kinds of sites. Make it part of the paid account (with x-fer up to 1GB/mo or whatever) and have high bandwidth users pay more?
I like dropbox, don't get me wrong, but they need to recognize the core value they brought to the table (and may still have) is better user experience design, not infrastructure. Simply offering more apps that are bound by the constraints of one's Dropbox account seems profoundly myopic.
I don't know their vision, but both of these make sense to me in many possible contexts other than "floundering."
And my analysis of the situation is different. I see it as dropbox adding a services layer on top of the platform of storage they built. You already see other companies doing this -- using the dropbox platform. If I'm dropbox, I see a lot of opportunity there.
At the moment, their business model doesn't extend much beyond brokering storage space. They are simply a middle-man between end users and Amazon S3, whose value add is some software that makes the process of storing and sharing files relatively pain-free.
They're good at what they do, and their software is nice, but in the long-run, there isn't much money in what they do.
Diversification is the obvious course of action, but it pits them against major players like Apple, Google, and Microsoft. All of these could probably afford to offer unlimited storage to all their users tomorrow, and if they got the software right, could render Dropbox redundant.
They avoid storing duplicate files between users which dramatically reduces storage space on S3 in ways single users can't. But, also allows them to add cheap versioning as there not storing 1 copy per user of each file.
The way I see it, Dropbox wants to be the filesystem and personal hard drive of the Internet. Easy enough business, just sell hard drive space. And as always with any software business, with users, you have data, and with data, you have potential advertiser money and a lot of investor interest.
Why can't they rival Google/Apple? Yes, bigger companies have a lot more resources. But that doesn't mean that only big companies can succeed. If small companies have nailed a service that big companies can't wrap their heads around/move quick enough to take over, then they'll outperform big companies in that market. Once upon a time, Apple was a small company, too. But they did personal computer and personal computer software better than competitors long enough to become a large company. Not too long ago, Google was a small company too, competing with large companies. The reason they succeeded to go on to become a big company is their superior product. Yahoo and other search engine competitors just couldn't tap into what Google had, whether it be because they didn't possess the genius/talent/skill/anything-other-than-resources Google employees had that made their product better, or because Yahoo was too large to move strategies fast enough to beat Google to market. Even more recent than Google being a small company, Dropbox was just another Y Combinator application that was shat on by oblivious HNers who thought "Don't people just use rsync and ftp?". But because they could provide a product that people wanted before big companies could catch on in time, they grew in size. Small companies have a chance against big companies. If they didn't, it'd be a pretty fascist society where everyone'd be forced to use the same products and services for all of forever.
How is this "flailing"? Google integrates cloud editing (Docs) with cloud storage (Drive) pretty well and that great integration is what's allowing Google to enroach on Dropbox's vision of being "the file system and hard drive of the Internet." Google has just shown us that integrating content creation tools with content storage tools isn't "flailing" or feature creep or anything; it's a valid strategy to boost content storage. And Dropbox is catching the hints. That's why this acquisition exists. So they can integrate content creation (HackSpace) with content storage (Dropbox). Now claiming HackSpace is going to put up a good fight against Google Docs is pretty absurd, but 1. now they're being backed by Dropbox, which should aid in the fight, and 2. remember what I said about small companies having a good chance if their product is good enough? With proper leadership (Drew Houston and Condoleezza Rice [moral issues aside, she has business and leadership skills that are completely separate from her political views which wouldn't affect anything about her position at Dropbox] -- check), resources (Dropbox -- check), and product design and development (this is the risk Dropbox is taking by purchasing HackSpace -- will DB be able to produce a better product than Docs?), yes HackSpace can beat Docs.
"Acquisitions like this never go to plan, and they are almost always a waste of money."
Why does HN do this? Toss around bold and interesting rhetoric that is completely baseless and has no substance or logic. Like the Michael Bay of writing.
This is so absurd, I don't even feel like I need to argue against it; it's like saying "The idea of companies never go to plan and are almost always a waste of money." It's just so ridiculous and against the way the real world works that it's more on you to prove your radical theories than it's on me to prove them wrong.
If acquisitions didn't work to produce a net benefit, then successful companies wouldn't do them, period.
If dropbox goes down that path, not only would they lose a huge chunk of their existing customers, they would definitely perma-ban themselves from enterprise market. And that is where the real money is.
Most people really don't give a shit about massive data collection. I mean, sure, everyone's a Reddit slacktivist nowadays, throwing around words like "spying!" and "privacy!" but no one really cares, or else we'd all be using rsync + ftp and BitMessage and all that idealistic free software stuff that RMS peddles. People just want to seem special and cool and smart and advanced when they post about how EVIL the government is for spying on all of us. The art of saying "I don't use Facebook; they sell my info to advertisers", then turning around to use Google products (which are fucking unavoidable on the Internet, by the way, did you know fucking ReCaptcha is owned by Google? You'd have to completely avoid the Internet to avoid Google at this point) , is the 2014 spin on the 1990s art of saying "I don't own a television".
We use Chrome and Gmail and Facebook and OS X and Amazon and what-not, because the net benefit of having really convenient software developed by teams of hundreds (thousands, even, in huge cases like Google/FB) talented professionals that are putting in $120K / year's worth of effort beats the net cost of having to pay for that $120K by letting Facebook give advertisers all your user data to make up for the costs of developing and operating such convenient software (and whatever profit FB is hoping to make -- people don't start businesses out of the goodness in their hearts). I mean, what's the alternative? Paying for the $6 per user per year that Facebook makes? Would you really rather pay for these services than just aid in letting the advertisers know that 67% of young (18-34) males in New York City prefer Macy's over JC Penney? Is it really that significant, your tiny, indistinguishable contribution to our advertising overlords that isn't even tied to your personal identity? It's not like they know that specifically Omar Hegazy and Xerophyte clicked on this ad over that ad in A/B tests; they don't give a shit about the specific identities and that would be truly creepy. No, they obviously care more about aggregate statistics, like overall click through rate and what-not. And when you're just another brick in the wall of statistical analysis, is it really all that creepy? Do they really know all that much specifically about you?)?
So, people don't really care about privacy, and Dropbox wouldn't lose a huge chunk of their customers. Or else, Facebook and Google and Apple and what-not would've lost a huge chunk of their customers.
I agree, though, about the enterprise market. Enterprise is smaller than consumer-facing, because the set of all professionals in a certain vertical is much smaller the set of everyone. That means that spying on the enterprise market is much more personal and tied to identity than spying on everyone as a whole. So it really does lose you customers in enterprise. Also it's much easier just to charge people directly for money in enterprise; usually verticals have a greater demand for a proper solution than horizontals, cause they're a much more specific market to target and so their biggest pain points are easier to solve. People really would pay $6 a year, and even more, for a product that truly understands what their specific problem is.
But I disagree that enterprise is where all the moolah is. I just think that it's much, much harder to make moolah in consumer-facing software, and all the moolah in consumer-facing software goes to a select few very well-known winners. But if you become one of those winners, then you have much more money and historical recognition than any boring old enterprise company will get you.
It's really very hard to nail down "What's a problem that everyone is having but no one has solved?" -- but when you do nail it down, oh boy, you just solved everybody's problem, and it gets you the quickest company to reach $150bn valuation in ever and the founder becomes the youngest billionaire in the world. I think, if Drew Houston and Co. went down the consumer-facing route, they'd be playing their chips on the assumption that they really struck gold with answering that seemingly unanswerable question. And given how far Dropbox has gone in the consumer market, I wouldn't hold it against them for taking that risk.
That being said, they do seem like they're saving some of their chips for the enterprise route. So if they really were worried about ruining enterprise trust by being yet another consumer-facing company that gobbles all your data and feeds it back to advertisers, they'd just do the other thing I suggested - sell hard drive space. But something tells me Dropbox is trying to be more.
Dropbox would ultimately have to start matching them & then slowly starts a downward spiral. However, if they move into the applications layer, the pricing pressure is less intense.
Sell data to advertisers.
It's making Facebook $6 per user per year, and as company databases get more and more massive (Did you know Facebook has 300 fucking petabytes of user data? And 5 years ago, Google was processing 24 petabytes per day.) and machine learning / data statistical analysis gets more and more advanced and software companies have more and more cultural capital and industry reliance (Software is eating the world, etc. etc.) that number can only go up higher. Mix $6 per user per year revenue with the massive increase in users you'd get from consumer-facing vs enterprise (everyone vs. a single business vertical) and you got yourself a consumer-facing company that makes so much more moolah than the equivalent enterprise company.
But I agree there's more pressure. There are much fewer winners in consumer-facing than enterprise. But Dropbox is just betting they'll be one of those winners.
To me dropbox is very simple: a folder you stick your things in and it syncs. I'm sure Google/SugarSync/Box/Drive etc do that just fine. I rarely if ever go on the dropbox site.
Why haven't I switched to a cheaper option? Too much friction to move things over.
Buying virtual reality was the final smoke signal of danger.
Microsoft has a tough time competing with Google and Apple. It has decades of experience and loads of cash to burn and still be standing.
(note - for anyone not familiar, a common strategy just before an IPO is to cash out on a large chunk of capital so as to sweeten the deal for the much larger public capital raise)
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(My point here has nothing to do with the Iraq War.)
"NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said."
However, gender has nothing to do with it. Building your criticisms on top of misogyny throws your entire motivations into question. The foundation has already rotted out and the rest of your arguments fell through; it's doubtful that most here are taking you seriously at this point.
The films in the Hunger Games series (especially the first) really nail something: the way barbarians hide behind polite rhetoric and noble behavior. The brilliance of things like the original punk movement -- and comedians since time immemorial -- has been to mock that, to discuss the piggish behavior of corrupt elite deviants in appropriately piggish language.
Condi's behavior in the 2000s I believe merits a little mockery for the upper-class rules of conduct that people like her hide behind.
Of course I've had a mild personal disdain for the trappings of polite society ever since I did a stint in business consulting and watched the way white collar sociopaths conduct themselves in the real world. I'd rather count myself among the trash, thank you very much.
And as such, there's no place for it on HN.
Edit: just to make my position clear: this goes beyond Democrat/Republican ideologies or politics and into the realm of criminality. This is in a wholly different league from the Mozilla CEO gay rights controversy.
Condoleeza Rice and the rest of the Bush administration cynically exploited 9/11 to launch a completely unrelated war for no discernible reason other than to enrich their pals in the defense contracting industry and perhaps to pursue some crackpot political theories that were never publicly disclosed or discussed.
These people lied us into a war, and every indication seems to be that they did so intentionally. They committed fraud at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayer money and (conservatively) tens of thousands of innocent human lives. They are white collar criminals with blood on their hands and belong in prison.
Am I wrong? They've had ample time to explain themselves and have failed to do so. I think it's because they can't. Anyone want to link to a rational and defensible explanation for the Iraq war that does not reference crackpot baloney from a right-wing rag like Pajamas Media or Fox News? (Just so you know this isn't totally partisan... I'd say the same thing if a similar thing were done based on information from AlterNet or TruthOut or some other lefty rag. By rag I mean 'clearly biased to the point of being untrustworthy news source.')
What would you think if Dropbox had recruited -- say -- a Bernie Madoff type who happened to "get off" on a technicality for running a Ponzi scheme? What Bernie did did not (directly) kill anyone.
I'm very curious to see how the stock of a company that recruits crooks to their board does on the open market.
Sarah Palin is someone I pretty much disagree with on almost everything, but I would not use such language to refer to her and I would not advocate boycotting a company for appointing her to their board. I might roll my eyes or scratch my head but that's about it.
I've never even been to America, and I know fellow hackers who have also cancelled their Dropbox account over this. The Iraq war and American surveillance are not partisan topics. I'll be advising against Dropbox (and their new acquisitions) wherever I have the chance/influence.
I'm honestly not familiar with anything in recent American history as flagrant as the Iraq fraud. Even Vietnam made sense from a certain point of view and its supporters made their case and it was debated. It ended up being a bad idea, but it was technically a lot more democratic and less fraudulent. Some of its supporters have even admitted they were wrong.
My darkest suspicion about Iraq is that the reasons are either too corrupt or insane to even discuss... either flat-out premeditated fraud or something in complete fruitcake territory like trying to initiate the millennial Christian eschaton. The fact that nobody has even tried to make a coherent well-articulated case that doesn't insult my intelligence makes me wonder.
Therefore in modern society power lies with economic actors - people, capital, or any other entity that has economic impact and can be modeled as pursuing its own interests (self-preservation and some expansion).
A stable society would represent the interests of the people and the interests of the capital in proportion to their economic influence. Some actors will usually try to usurp the power at the expense of less diligent and/or less organized actors.
A great deal of the usurpation is based on demoralizing the opponent - if your opponent believes fighting for representation if power structures is pointless, you will have more power for yourself.
Cheney used to be the CEO of Halliburton, And strangely the Ben Laden family were investor in the Carlyle group:
https://www.google.fr/search?q=bin+laden+family+investors, as were former CIA operatives ,the Ben Laden family are bankers.
Not even going into who The Bush family friends are,but a lot of answers and explanations can be found in the "Kingdom", Saudi Arabia.
EDIT :i'm not a conspiracy theorist, yet when you just follow the money, things get really really strange. But it did not start with Bush 2, Clinton was highly corrupted with Saudi money too.
EDIT: Oh my, people are upset that I stated I don't see much of an issue being made over Rices appointment.
Also auto-embeds photos/videos/soundcloud when you paste in links and has prettier UI. Not sure if Google does the former.