File syncing. Superset of backups, which people will pay for.
Good. Single founder. Bad. But at least he's looking for more
people. Went to MIT, 1600 SAT. Probably fairly smart. Wrote a
poker bot. Now I'm starting to get interested; has the right
attitude. Description of the software sounds plausible but generic.
Maybe it's good, but who can tell. But little sister uses it;
that's impressive. Scroll down to what he understands that competitors
don't get. Wow: very concise and unequivocal. I'm now basically
sold. Scroll through the rest. No red flags. Did not make the
usual joke single founders make when asked how long the founders
have known one another. Good answer to what might go wrong. A-.
(Would be an A with a cofounder.)
An A- means "I want to interview." An A means "I want to interview, even if Rtm and Trevor don't."
I only gave 2 As in s2007. (We funded both those companies, and both did badly.)
Regardless whether you oblige or not, all those applications, all those admitted (and rejected) to the YC, and the life-time of their startup or, if they're fortunate enough, the state of their startup would serve a most interesting entry-point for an essay.
What's the usual joke?...
That is probably the most amazingly succinct and interesting elevator pitch I have read/heard. It clearly defines the product, the problem it solves, and provides metaphors for better understanding.
case in point, the pitch to his sister is/was: "You'll be able to keep track of all your high school term papers, and you wont need to burn CDs or carry USB sticks anymore."
Needless to say, I was losing on this deal. So, one day she emails me and asks how much a server would cost. In an effort to save her money, I ask her why she needs a dedicated server. Her response was, "To share files with a new part-time helper." OK, so you sure don't need a dedicated server for that and I recommended that she try Dropbox and if she doesn't like it, let me know and I'll spec out a server for her if that is what she really wants.
A week later she asks me to give her the login details for her account so she can move her email and files over to a new server. Surprised, I ask her what provider and how much she's paying. She signed a 13 month contract with a no-name, 1 person company for $750/month. Oh, and he's not hosting the website...just files and email, so I get to keep managing that.
1) I'm apparently charging WAY too little for services rendered.
2) Don't break your neck helping people for nothing, expecting some kind of return later.
3) Don't recommend Dropbox (j/k)
The experience made me seriously rethink everything I'm currently doing.
One of the most remarkable things about this application is how accurately it predicted what Dropbox would be. The idea isn't hard to grasp, but its brilliant execution continues to distinguish dropbox as a surprisingly good product.
For me, what makes this application as a sole founder stand out from the many other talented people who apply?
> How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet?
There's a joke in here somewhere.
I'm curious about what other sole founders answered here. I believe I wrote "Does a man ever truly know himself?" once...
Anyway, thanks for posting this. I'm a huge Dropbox fan and it was cool seeing a bit of their history.
Even though I understand why the SBIR submission is the way that it is, the simplicity of this application form makes me jealous. :( I've been doing 6am-2am for two days in a row now and not even writing code.
Interesting read. I wish dropbox had gone ahead with their initial plan to charge $5 a month for individual users. I would happily pay for this service, but $120/year for personal backup is too much. Something in the $50-60pa mark sounds better. Instead I use dropbox all my shared docs, and backup to my own S3 account for larger backups and one-way sharing of bigger files.
I love this part of the plan.
You've got to appreciate was the directness of the answers to questions on the application.
In less then 12 months either Apple, Google or Microsoft will buy DropBox for more than 500m$
Maybe they'd buy DropBox just to get people who know how to market this shit.
I think, "Brilliant!" To my eyes, you can tell the applicant is sharp, has put a lot of thought into the problem area, has a breadth of technical skills, has a track record that shows he had ambition, vision and can execute, and oh, by the way, he's out to solve a real problem that people have every day. So yeah, that's a good application to study. And it helps that, since then, at least in my opinion as a big user and fan of Dropbox as it works today, he has successfully executed on that vision and plan. Well done, man. Well done.
And bonus points for having Python in the stack. :)