Ode to Dropbox

Being confident enough to focus on consistently improving the one thing you sell is hard as shit.

Google Search is still leading search even without changing its UI, and Amazon has become so reliable that I buy my toothpaste from them.

Similarly, one of the (many) things I love about Dropbox is that it solves the niche problem of file-sync confidently and succinctly. Then it shuts the hell up.

Even the mobile app doesn’t attempt to sell me — “do you want us to sync your photos/videos?” it asks … I select “yes,” it syncs, and doesn’t bother me again. Lovely. 

People who throw around the word “engagement” like I do the word “awesome” could seriously benefit from asking themselves: “Have I built a daily-use product/service?”

If so, and acquisition or churn rates suck, then improving product or marketing makes sense.

If not, all the marketing and feature development in the world won’t help — finding a daily-use application for the problem you’re solving is the answer.

It’s really not rocket science, but it DOES require stepping away from “the vision I have for what COULD be” and recognizing that users’ incentive to adapt you into their lifestyle DOESN’T EXIST until you are relevant to them.

When I was working on FastCustomer, we did a bunch of design and marketing work before recognizing:

  1. We had been solving a problem for very happy users since Day 1, that our users didn’t have the problem but just a few times a year, and that THIS WAS ALL TOTALLY OK
  2. Business was booming on the enterprise side because these people had a daily problem we could solve, at a huge scale of need, and WE COULD FOCUS ON THIS TO GROW 

Of course, brilliantly solving a problem people REALLY have on a daily basis is way harder than adding “share” buttons.


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