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As a man who is safely out of the closet for quite a while now, has seen the scourge of AIDS amongst my circles of friends, and has spent a great deal of time effort and money educating and promoting safer sex... this is disheartening.

And I realize we're pretty safe from violent gay-bashing here in SF, but this would be a terrifying map to see in less tolerant regions. Even as it is I fear that it'll be immediately passed about amongst religious zealots as the Map of Depravity.

We've got a long way to go. :-/

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I'm somewhat astounded to hear they have 972 employees. I would have guesstimated somewhere below 200. Even with a huge marketing push, I'm a little at a loss for what they all do.

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Isn't that insanely many people compared to what they deliver? Many more than DropBox (300+?) and JottaCloud (~10) without me being able to see why.

Edit: You were before me, so added my comment as a reply to you instead.

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They have a much higher-touch enterprise sales process, so my guess is that most of the extra employees vs. DropBox are sales, customer service, relationship management, etc. Even after the sell, big clients tend to want dedicated account managers, dedicated support staff they know by name, etc. (Still, it does seem like a lot.)

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Based on their revenues, it looks like they need to start charging more if that sort of head count is required.

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So is it a service business or a tech platform?

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Dropbox is actually > 600 now.

(Source: dropbox.com/about)

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Are you fully aware of what they offer? They have all kinds of well-known and arcane certifications, integrations with a few dozen products that are only relevant to large enterprises, a pretty big third-party ecosystem and the API to support them, and the large team required to sell and support these tools.

It's not just file storage for five bucks a month.

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Well, it kind-of explains why they have the losses they have.

In business, usually it's possible to achieve whatever revenue you want; the hard part is getting there without a headcount/other expense basis that makes you bleed money instead of earning it.

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None of the numbers I am reading here make any sense to me, but then I'm just a chump who programs computers all day.

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One word: Sales.

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Sales, Marketing, Operations, Technology, Finance, HR. Did I miss any?

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My point was that enterprise companies need more sales people than consumer facing companies like DropBox.

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[deleted]

I'm curious, is that really as big of a deal as the tech startup makes it out to be? When the team is young, small, and scrappy, I understand that technical skills on the founding team are highly valued, but after growing to nearly 1,000 employees surely the core leadership can hand off the technical day-to-day and platform architecture to a technical SVP.

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Technical executives have an innate concept of what is and what isn't possible. This allows them to better evaluate proposals for new features, refactoring systems, etc. This is one reason why I believe Microsoft succeeded under Bill Gates. Due to its size, Microsoft still made a lot of money under Steve Ballmer, who is non-technical, but it definitely lost its place as a technology leader. We will see if the new CEO, who is technical, will change that.

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From Ballmer's Wikipedia entry:

"In 1973, he attended college prep and engineering classes at Lawrence Technological University and graduated from Detroit Country Day School, a private college preparatory school in Beverly Hills, Michigan, with a perfect score of 800 on the mathematical section of the SAT... In 1977, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an A.B. in applied mathematics and economics... He scored highly in the prestigious William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, an exam sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America, scoring higher than Bill Gates."

I'm not sure if he coded, but Ballmer definitely has a mathematical/technical background. I'm not sure technical background is necessarily an indicator of success as an executive.

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I really meant engineer when I said technical. Engineers are both technical and are required to think in practical rather than abstract terms. Is that an indicator of success for an executive in general? It depends on the job and the company. But if you are the CEO of a company that produces technology, they yes I think it matters. Executives need other skills too.

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The founders coded the MVP...

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I'm so glad I live in Palo Alto

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I pay more like $200 a month for a significantly more expensive car in Palo Alto. I have a clean driving record and a mainstream insurance policy. You should get competitive bids!

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I dunno, I think a lot of us love LISP :)

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Walmart has circa 2.1M employees, but they are the only exception that comes to mind

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Surely you don't mean "ever been"? I don't know how long it took them to get to ten million players in the first place but I'm imagining it wasn't on day one :)

And semantic point aside, ten million users is still mighty impressive!

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Looks like 2005-2008 to get 10 million users: http://users.telenet.be/mmodata/Charts/Subs-1.png (from http://mmodata.blogspot.com/)

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As I write this it's circa $7000 from goal and I'm tempted to put it over myself. I loved that game back in the day, and it's being produced by the same guys who made the original.

I am very impressed with the prospect of how much Kickstarter could change the startup scene if you've already got a reputation to build on.

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People are fussing because the guys are homeless. If the mobile hotspot-wearers had been the usual crowd of imported booth babes, no one would have blinked an eye.

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Exactly. In my country nobody complains about students working by sitting for a whole day on the street, holding an arrow pointing to Subway or whatever.

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For better or worse, you're likely to get better results to your work requests by putting these same devices in chosen offshore locations; you're arbitraging median-skill median-lifestyle foreigners in lower cost of living areas versus lower-quartile lifestyle and limited-skill Americans.

Globalization is not friendly to the homeless and mentally ill. This proposal may buoy up some folks who have fallen through the cracks, but there are a number of other social safety nets (a la worker retraining) that offer that same sort of chance to those down on their luck but still able to turn around from a bad situation or bad break.

If you are not able to read coherently or quickly - this doesn't necessarily mean uneducated, it could simply be crippling dyslexia - this doesn't help you. And if you are suffering from drug addiction or mental illness or even poor lifestyle choices, this may be significantly less advantageous and doable than panhandling.

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