Really enjoyed this piece by David Carr on former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam’s recent and very different Wirecutter, but this bit stuck out:
Mr. Lam’s revenue is low, about $50,000 a month, but it’s doubling
every quarter, enough to pay his freelancers, invest in the site
and keep him in surfboards. And now he actually has time to ride
them. In that sense, Mr. Lam is living out that initial dream of
the Web: working from home, working with friends, making something
that saves others time and money.
In what way is $50K/month — doubling every three months — “low” for a site with a small staff? I’d say that’s great revenue, and eye-popping growth.
Worth a re-link, Victoria Barret’s 2011 profile of Dropbox for Forbes:
Jobs presciently saw this sapling as a strategic asset for Apple.
Houston cut Jobs’ pitch short: He was determined to build a big
company, he said, and wasn’t selling, no matter the status of the
bidder (Houston considered Jobs his hero) or the prospects of a
nine-digit price (he and Ferdowsi drove to the meeting in a
Jobs smiled warmly as he told them he was going after their
market. “He said we were a feature, not a product,” says Houston.
Courteously, Jobs spent the next half hour waxing on over tea
about his return to Apple, and why not to trust investors, as the
duo — or more accurately, Houston, who plays Penn to Ferdowsi’s
mute Teller — peppered him with questions.
Jobs may well have been right that Dropbox is a feature, not a product, but it’s a hell of a good feature, and one that iCloud does not provide.
Warren Ellis, after describing his process for writing using an iPad:
Why do I do this? I’ve always hated lugging laptops around, and
have always looked for efficient mobile solutions. I had one of
those early Asus netbooks. I had a Treo. Hell, in the 90s, I had a
Handspring Visor. And I figured that since the iPad was light,
instant-on, built for wifi and supposedly fucking magical, I
should be able to make it work as a mobile work solution without
having to screw around with laptops and crappy batteries and all
the rest of it. In the mornings, I just grab the iPad and case and
go out into the back garden and sit at the table and am ready to
go. I go back to the office, wake up the laptop, and thanks to
Dropbox everything I’ve done is already there. It works for me.
The good news for Apple is that not only do many people work on their iPads, they enjoy doing so. The whole key to the growing popularity of iPads is that people enjoy using them instead of PCs (including Macs) for numerous tasks.
The scary part though, is that one recurrent theme I see in nearly every single “how I write on the iPad” story is Dropbox. It’s the linchpin in the workflow. Scary, because Dropbox is outside Apple’s control. Scary, because if not for Dropbox, many of these people would not be using their iPads as much as they are. Scary, because Apple’s iCloud falls short of Dropbox.
Long-time readers know that I seldom opine that Apple should acquire other companies. But Apple should buy Dropbox.
Update: Ideally, Dropbox will simply remain a thriving independent company, and iOS and Mac users will continue to use it as it is. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can even see how Apple buying Dropbox might make things worse, if Dropbox were “improved” to be more iCloud-like rather than vice-versa. Or if Apple turned it into an iCloud-only feature, locking out other platforms. Why I think Apple should buy Dropbox, though, is that if they don’t, someone else might. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook? (Microsoft is the only one of those that wouldn’t worry me, actually.)