Expanding Virtual First

Author: Bryan Tsao | VP, Growth and Data Sciences |US — New York — NYC

It’s been a year and a half since Dropbox employees worldwide (including me!) made the move to our entirely reimagined way of working — Virtual First. With this shift, we made an early and opinionated declaration on our future of work strategy, making it possible for us to leverage the greatest parts of both remote and in-person experiences with an emphasis on preserving in-person connections, flexibility, and work-life harmony. And, as a company that builds tools for and works within distributed teams, we’re now in an exciting, unique position to predict where the future of work is taking us.

Bryan with Dropbox NYC Product Managers in Bryant Park

I’ve always been extremely proud of the way Dropbox has taken initiative. Central to our Virtual First strategy has been embracing being more globally distributed, and the experience we’ve gained as a distributed company the past two years makes this the perfect time to accelerate our expansion into new geographies, with Poland as the newest addition. We’re not starting from scratch — we already have hundreds of people in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region who play a critical role in our business. For instance, on our Growth team, a Munich-based Principal Growth Manager helped drive a global cross-org initiative to improve targeted conversion campaigns while reducing spammy upsells, creating a better experience for our customers and making a big impact on our business.

We originally only planned on focusing hiring in Poland in three teams:

  • Content Security and Protection, which keeps users secure by protecting against content leaks and building Dropbox Passwords
  • Platform Infrastructure, which drives developer productivity and scales our hybrid infrastructure
  • Product Growth, which helps our Basic users find the right features and paid plans to fit their needs.

But everyone’s been so excited about the engineering talent there that we’re also opening roles to work on Data Infrastructure, Quality Engineering and HelloSign.

One of my favorite things about the Growth & Data team at Dropbox is that we’re a very international group. I spent 10 years of my childhood in Taiwan, including a few years in a relatively small city called Hsinchu/新竹. Three members of my leadership team grew up in India, while our Director of Growth was born in Egypt and spent part of his life in Italy. Today, we’re also one of the most distributed teams at Dropbox. I live in New York City, but less than 10% of Growth & Data is based here. So when the opportunity to lead Dropbox’s EMEA EPD strategy came up, I jumped at it.

Bryan at Angel’s Landing

For the last two years, we’ve been on the front lines of adopting this Virtual First way of working and expanding that across the Atlantic felt like a natural next move. According to our Director of Virtual First, Terry Wiener, we’re seeing really positive results from Virtual First work:

  • 72% of Dropboxers feel more productive
  • 80% feel more effective
  • 72% feel like they can better balance work and personal life

It’s taken some adjustment, but working from US Eastern Time, I’m able to collaborate with my EMEA colleagues first thing in the morning, get deep work done around lunchtime, Zoom with my West Coast teammates in the afternoon, and still sit down for dinner with my wife in the evening and turn off Slack until the next morning. With travel opening up, I’ve met my teammates at events like our Austin Leadership Offsite to work on our transformation strategy by day and sing karaoke with our CEO, Drew Houston, by night. I’ve even spent almost two weeks working from Portugal this year, speaking in company All Hands and conducting our Weekly Business Review with our executive team without missing a beat.

The ability to travel and connect with teammates around the world as part of my job has always been important to me. Over a decade ago, I got to help with the launch of my mobile gaming startup’s Beijing office. My product team worked on several hit games with teams in Beijing, and we got to watch that office grow and eventually launch the highest grossing iOS app of 2012. I also developed a lifelong taste for jianbing (煎餅) from a street cart strategically located between the hotel we always used and the office. And now that we’re expanding to Poland, I can’t wait to meet the Polish Dropboxers we’ve already hired, to learn about their culture from them, to add to the already diverse and international culture at Dropbox, to scale our distributed team across the globe to better reflect our customers, and to see what we can all build together.

Interested in learning more about how you can be a part of something exciting and help us build a new community by joining our growing team in Poland? You can check out job openings here.



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