How the habit of forgetting became a $10 billion business idea

Drew Houston- How the habit of forgetting became a $10 billion business idea

‘Drew Houston’ is one of the most popular names which is often heard of, when the talk is about the youngest billionaires of the world. He is currently the CEO of a company which has 500 million users all over the world, making his net worth as high as $1 billion, according to Forbes.

Here comes the interesting fact:

It happened while Drew was studying Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Drew often used to forget his USB flash drive because of which he couldn’t access the files he needed to. Sounds like a trivial problem, doesn’t it? Well, Drew took it seriously! He was on a bus ride, when he wanted to work on a project but he had forgotten his USB drive and couldn’t work. Out of frustration he started coding then and there. In the company’s official blog, Drew mentions,

“I worked on multiple desktops and could not remember to keep my USB with me. My home desktop’s power supply literally exploded one day, killing one of my hard drives, and I had no backups.”

To get rid of this problem, he conceived the idea of “Online file storage”. Rather than storing the data in USB or hard drives, he thought of using cloud. That’s the story behind the birth of “Dropbox” which is now amongst one of the most reputed American companies offering services like cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Drew also says that during his college days the existing online services had a lot of limitations.

Image Source: Twitter

At first, DropBox was just his personal project. But after realizing its potential, he decided to make it public, just for the benefit of others. Today, the company’s value is $10 billion.

Someone very rightly said, “To become an entrepreneur, you just have to look at a problem and find its apt solution.” Forbes announced Drew Houston 18th richest entrepreneurs under 40 in 2016.

He founded Dropbox Inc. in June 2007 along with Arash Ferdowsi (Drew’s MIT classmate). They met each other through a mutual friend and soon became partners.

Drew Houston (middle) with his co-founder Arash Ferdowsi (right) at MIT 147th Commencement as a speaker. Image source: Twitter

Remembering his initial memories about Dropbox, Drew says:

“I think we started like most of these tech companies begin. Just a couple of guys in their boxers coding in a dark room. We just kept our heads down and built.”

Did you know?

At first Dropbox’s official domain name was “”. In October 2009, it acquired its current domain, “”.

Dropbox also maintains a five value policy, which are:

  1. Be Worthy Of Trust which refers to taking care of user’s data.
  2. Sweat The Details And The Elements Of Craft which refers to love for people who give their utmost in their work.
  3. Aim Higher.
  4. We Not I which means acknowledging the value of people as individuals.
  5. (a picture of Cupcake).
Image Source: Dropbox

What the “Cupcake” symbolizes?

It shows that they are employee-centric and also a fun loving group. And actually, it is the gift which a new joinee receives from the company. A box with a small smiley face on the cover and a cupcake inside it, with a letter from Dropbox expressing their excitement for the new joinee.

In June 2013, Drew was invited to MIT to address the 147th Commencement. Below are some part of his inspiring speech:

“The hard thing about planning your life is you have no idea where you’re going, but you want to get there as soon as possible. Maybe you’ll start a company, or cure cancer, or write the great American novel. Or who knows? Maybe things will go horribly wrong. I had no idea.”

“I’ve thought a lot about what’s different about the life you’re beginning today. I’ve thought about what I would do if I had to start all over again. What got you here was basically being smart and working hard. But nobody tells you that after today, the recipe for success changes.

“The last trap you might fall into after school is ‘getting ready.’ Don’t get me wrong: learning is your top priority, but now the fastest way to learn is by doing. If you have a dream, you can spend a lifetime studying and planning and getting ready for it. What you should be doing is getting started.

This was the story of an entrepreneur who took a step to make others(and his own) life easy and life rewarded him well in return. So, get on your feet, stop dreaming & start doing.

If you feel that you are facing a problem, try to come up with solutions. There is a good chance that there are many others out there, facing the same problem. And who knows, in solving a problem, you may just become the next superstar entrepreneur!

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