Posted by: steveonfilm | February 1, 2011

Dropbox FTW

I’ve talked about Dropbox before, and even shown a video demonstrating how it works. It’s a phenominal service for people who use multiple devices and need access to the same body of work everywhere.

One of the reasons that Dropbox works so well is because it’s feature set is straight and to the point. They don’t messy it up. They don’t put in “value added” features. They designed the services to work the way people needed and used their files. They didn’t let some marketing team or spreadsheet deterine their features so they can “compete in the marketplace.”

Too many times I see software devices and programs that have TONS of features, but none of them work well or the way you want it. This is one of the reasons I ended up moving to Macs. They don’t do as much as Windows does… I’ll admit that, but when they do something they do it well. Whether it’s an iPod, iPhone, iMac, Macbook Air, or iPad… they all work the way you’d expect in the vast majority of cases. I run Dropbox on my iMac, Macbook Air, iPhone, and work PC, and it works FLAWLESSLY on all platforms.

Part of this gap comes at an expense. Windows is far more customizable than the MAC OS, but at the same point, that customability in many instances is implied. Sure you can do it, but how many of you out there do? Same goes for LINUX. You can do whatever you want with it. But who knows how? There’s something to be said for vertical integration. Honestly, I think Windows would be even better if they did more of that between the XBOX 360, Windows Phones, and their OS. The potential is there, they just haven’t hit the mark yet.

But anway, the whole MAC vs. PC vs. Linux thing isn’t what this is all about. It’s about Dropbox…. and here’s Michael Wolfe, CEO, of ccLoop, Inc.’s response to the question “Why is Dropbox more popular than other tools with similar functionality?”

Well, let’s take a step back and think about the sync problem and what the ideal solution for it would do:

•There would be a folder.
•You’d put your stuff in it.
•It would sync.

They built that.

Why didn’t anyone else build that? I have no idea.

“But,” you may ask, “so much more you could do! What about task management, calendaring, customized dashboards, virtual white boarding. More than just folders and files!”

No, shut up. People don’t use that crap. They just want a folder. A folder that syncs.

“But,” you may say, “this is valuable data…certainly users will feel more comfortable tying their data to Windows Live, Apple Mobile Me, or a name they already know.”

No, shut up. Not a single person on Earth wakes up in the morning worried about deriving more value from their Windows Live login. People already trust folders. And Dropbox looks just like a folder. One that syncs.

“But,” you may say, “folders are so 1995. why not leverage the full power of the web? With HTML 5 you can drag and drop files, you can build intergalactic dashboards of stats showing how much storage you are using, you can publish your files as RSS feeds and tweets, and you can add your company logo!”

No, shut up. Most of the world doesn’t sit in front of their browser all day. If they do, it is IE 6 at work that they are not allowed to upgrade. Browsers suck for these kinds of things. Their stuff is already in folders. They just want a folder. That syncs.

That is what it does.

Wolfe points out how USERS use a service, not how ENGINEERS use a service. I don’t care if it’s a CRM software platform or FInal Draft, you design a system around how users will actually use it, not how your sales team wants to pitch it. If you do that, and you do it well, the software will almost sell itself. You save money on support, and your sales team can close deals left and right, because it’s easier to sell something that works than something that doesn’t. Not to mention your customer base will be happeir, and stay around longer. Give them something they want that works and they will never leave. Period.

-Steve

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