At the inauguration of Dropbox's new development center offices today in Azrieli Sarona tower in Tel Aviv senior VP engineering, product, and design Quentin Clark said the company will double its current staff of 40 in Israel. He said that the company's development center, its only one outside the US, was planning to hire mainly information security and artificial intelligence personnel. Clark, the second highest-ranking executive in Dropbox, came to the company after serving in senior positions at Microsoft and SAP. He said that the move to Tel Aviv from its smaller Herzliya offices, "is designed to enable the company to expand and be closer to other important companies in the ecosystem, such as Facebook and Amazon."
Dropbox is renowned for its file saving and storage service. The company was a pioneer in saving and synchronizing files on the cloud but has been operating in an especially competitive market in recent years, mainly against Google and its comparable products: Google Drive and Google Docs. Dropbox is now trying to reinvent itself in the organizational sphere, but with a twist - not a heavy product to be deployed throughout an organization, but a product appealing to the individual employee that provides a solution for his or her daily work. The company is promoting a relatively new product for this purpose named Paper (corresponding to Google Docs). Paper, which offers users tools to efficient work management, supports Hebrew, thanks to an adjustment made by the company's development center in Israel.
Clark described the company's vision to "Globes," the justification for its existence, and what distinguishes it from its competitors. He characterized Dropbox with Paper as tools able to create comfortable and pleasant conditions for an organization in sharing documents and files, plus monitoring joint tasks and work. He says that Dropbox is not competing with the products of Israeli companies Trello or Monday, because those companies' products are designed to manage complex projects requiring a project manager to use them to actually design and produce the work infrastructure. In contrast to these companies, he says that Dropbox is enabling every user to manage his daily agenda and tasks automatically in synchronization with the services familiar to him or her outside Dropbox, including Google's calendar, SoundCloud's music, and YouTube clips.
According to Clark, Dropbox's product is designed to fit in with familiar work environments, which it does not aim to replace. For example, he says that thanks to the company's cooperation with Microsoft's Sailsforce and Google, Dropbox's work environment can be made accessible to employees within the products of these companies. He claims that the reason for preferring Dropbox to Google Drive or the corresponding tools of Microsoft is that this is not a core business for these companies, while for Dropbox, the emphasis is not on any particular feature or a competitive price, but on the user's comfort.
Dropbox's challenge goes even further. According to Dropbox Israel site lead Meir Morgenstern, Dropbox's aim is to revolutionize work efficiency. "60% of work time is wasted on things that are not work," Morgenstern asserts. "Dropbox wants to solve this problem by reducing 60% to zero. This is exciting and challenging for the team in Israel and requires talent and innovation behind it, so we think that there is no better place to achieve this than Israel."
Clark explains that the company is seeking to hire employees in machine learning in order to make progress in just this vision - enabling the system to teach the user and help him or her organize, prioritize, and order the work routine without human intervention. He says that by working with Dropbox, tasks that usually get lost in the shuffle because of the non-centralized character of the work will no longer get lost. At the event, Clark presented Dropbox's tactics designed to make it an important tool for organizations. He demonstrated this through the way it becomes in internal tool of the Pinterest social network. It makes the individual user the top priority and assumes as more users join the service, they will start cooperating with each other towards the final stage in which different cooperating teams seek to connect with each other.
Commenting on the current challenges facing Internet giants as a result of concern about privacy and information security, Clark emphasizes that security is top priority for the company. He asserts that this is why the company has not relied on a model based on advertising and information selling and will not do so in the future; it depends on payments from users. He adds that the company operates its own cloud, without relying on public cloud computing services.
Asked about the justification for holding an offering at a time when technology share prices are at an all-time high and given the recent paucity of offerings by Internet companies, Clark says that volatile trading and work that was not post-offering hype are typical, because, "In the initial months, the volatile price and the industry are trying to understand what the normal price should be. When Amazon and Microsoft held their IPOs, where were they? 20 years from now they will talk about what a mark of genius Dropbox's IPO was. When Microsoft held its IPO, its slogan was a computer on every work desk and people asked, 'Who needs it?'"
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 15, 2018
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