European Business: What is the most significant change in the Dropbox company history since its foundation?
Geraldine MacCarthy: Let me get back to the beginning. Dropbox was founded eleven years ago by Drew, who is our CEO and founder. Travelling by bus, he realized that he had forgotten his USB-stick and at that time he thought: “There must a better way to do this”. That’s how Dropbox was born. From there, it became the Dropbox a lot of people know and love, which is about file saving and sharing, and having documents in the cloud. Recently we made some really exciting announcements relating to business collaboration. In June, we announced the new Dropbox desktop app which allows people to do all their work in one connected workspace.
For a long time, Dropbox has been a magic folder that lets you have all your stuff in one place. In the new Dropbox, the magic folder evolves into a magic workspace where you can do all your work in one place. Firstly, we moved beyond files — the new Dropbox is a workspace for any kind of content (whether that’s a Google doc, MSFT Powerpoint, or Airtable). Secondly, we have integrations with a lot of the other best of breed tools out there, like Zoom, Slack and Atlassian, so it’s easy to do all your work from one place. And finally, we brought teams together so people can stay coordinated, assign tasks, share feedback, track progress on a project and so on, all from within Dropbox. It is a really exciting time for us as we can enable people to work in a much more connected way, no matter what tool or application you need in the workspace on a day-to-day basis.
"When you think about the variety of competencies and different ways in which people work today, it is clear that people need the freedom to choose the right apps and tools to enable them to do their best work." Geraldine MacCarthy
European Business: You just mentioned that Dropbox is perfect for working on projects and documents at work. But what are the advantages of using Dropbox at work?
Geraldine MacCarthy: When you think about how people are working now, and how people’s working methods have evolved over the last while, there is a huge use of apps in the workplace. You might think about basic productivity tools like Microsoft and Google - those that everybody uses on a day-to-day basis - or you might think about things that are more specific to particular ways people work. For example, finance or project management tools. One of the things that Dropbox does is to allow the connection of all of these together in one connected space. I would say, that is the first advantage of using Dropbox for business. Secondly, it allows people to be connected across different teams, across different businesses or external collaborations, and to collaborate no matter what tool you yourself are using. It is quite powerful.
European Business: You recently introduced a paid version, Dropbox Business. What are the advantages for business people in using the paid version?
Geraldine MacCarthy: Thank you for asking. One of the great things about Dropbox Business is its ease of use and its focus on the end-user. It feels really comfortable for people to use on a day-to-day basis, while at the same time giving the level of control and governance that you would need and expect for the environment. So, you really get that balance between the end-user and adoption and usability, while at the same time getting control and governance. What we see when it goes into businesses is that it has an impact on people because of the way we handle the balance between the control and governance.
European Business: How long do you think it takes to see the results that make a difference?
Geraldine MacCarthy: We see it straight away. A lot of people will have used Dropbox on some level before. The change management required to use Dropbox is pretty low relative to other solutions that you might be implementing in the organization. In fact, we have had one or two customers where we turned on Dropbox in their business and they went from zero to hundreds of users in only one week, because people want to use it and know it.
"Dropbox Paper sits within the Dropbox Business solution. Paper enables teams of people to come together and collaborate in real-time on any type of workflow.” Geraldine MacCarthy
European Business: I have tested the Dropbox Paper. Can you explain to our readers how it works exactly?
Geraldine MacCarthy: Dropbox Paper sits within the Dropbox Business solution. So, it is part of the solution and enables teams of people to come together and collaborate in real-time on any type of workflow. When you open a Paper document for the very first time, you get a blank sheet of paper, which allows you to work in a way that makes sense to you. Perhaps you are starting on a creative project; it allows you and other people to come together and work creatively. Perhaps you need to do some project management associated with that project; there are project management tools and tasks in there so that you can actually track how your project is working. It allows previews of over 300 file types as well as 30 different apps such as Twitter; you can drag and drop in images, videos, tweets, tables, and documents, and then access, edit and create with your co-workers in real-time. For example, if you want to drop a video clip into Paper, you can actually play it in Paper and see what´s going on. It is a really effective way of coming together and collaborating, and it provides visibility to a broad set of teams into the work underway.
European Business: We have already talked about two new things in the company. But what are the next company milestones?
Geraldine MacCarthy:We have a lot coming up. We have our User Conference, Work in Progress happening in San Francisco on the 25th of September. We are looking forward to talking a lot more about where Dropbox is going and how people at work can benefit from Dropbox Business. You can expect to see some further significant evolutions of Dropbox and the delivery of tools that are pushing the boundaries in the way we define the future of work.
Interview: Vera Gaidies | Photos: Dropbox