Why Dropbox Must Own Collaboration to Become a $100b Company

Dropbox started in 2007 as a file synchronization company.

Source: Dropbox

But it won’t end that way…

Today, eight years later, news of Dropbox Composer leaked.

Dropbox Composer, Source Maggie Bignell on Twitter

And it’s the beginning of a necessary transformation for the company that will define its future.

Dropbox must become a productivity and collaboration company. Now.

The world has changed and file storage is no longer enough to become a massive company. Why?

  1. File storage costs have dropped dramatically.
  2. File storage is a commodity. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Box…you name it.
  3. Files are dying. We create and collaborate in the cloud. URLs not .docs.
  4. Enterprise file storage is nontrivial. Competitors are years ahead.

File storage will not sustain Dropbox. No way.

But…productivity and collaboration. That’s where Dropbox’s future lies. It’s happened time and time again in software world.

Microsoft, Salesforce, Box, and many others have already figured this out

1. Microsoft: Started with the Altair interpreter and MS-DOS, quickly moving onto Windows and Office, which are all about productivity. Microsoft is a productivity company in my words and their words. “At our core, Microsoft is the productivity and platform company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world.” according to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, as he transitioned them away from being the ever-vague “devices and services” company in an historic company memo in July 2014.

2. Salesforce: Started with sales productivity roots through cloud CRM and has quickly redefined productivity in the context of sales, service, marketing, and much more in recent years. Salesforce for Apple Watch is all about enabling productivity and collaboration.

Salesforce Sales Notifications

3. Box: Started with file storage as well but went deep with enterprise-level service and its verticalized product strategy is all about making professionals in healthcare, retail, finance, education, and other industries more productive. What do you think “accelerate your business” depends on? Productivity. Competitive productivity.

And it looks like Dropbox is figuring it out, too…

So the only question is: Can Dropbox pull it off?

Dropbox founder, Drew Houston Source: Twitter

Indeed, Dropbox has product-market fit with file storage but it’s a declining opportunity. Pivoting a $10b, eight-year old company isn’t easy. It really is Dropbox versus the world.