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Has Dropbox lost its cool? Internal disagreements point to management issues

Dropbox was one of the coolest startups a few years ago, known for refusing an acquisition offer from Steve Jobs, fighting the good fight against cloud corporations like IBM and Microsoft and making cloud storage simple for everyone.

In 2015, Dropbox is starting to lose its cool, hiring ex-CEO of Motorola Mobility Dennis Woodside, focusing heavily on the business side of cloud computing and reportedly struggling to keep engineers interested.

Add the fact Dropbox only made $400 million (£255 million) revenue in 2014—much lower than estimated and not worth the $10 billion (£6.3 billion) valuation—it is clear why investors are worried the cloud company might fall before it goes public.

The culture at Dropbox has turned from engineer orientated to corporate structured. Instead of allowing engineers to work on projects, change teams and organise without consultation, almost everything is run through HR managers or the higher-ups, slowing down progress.

Some engineers enjoy having the HR delegation and overview, claiming it allows projects to finish without issues, but others believe the management style of Woodside does not operate well in a fast moving startup.

The effects of this management style are being felt throughout Dropbox, with a surge in hires over the past 12 months and little-to-no large changes on the cloud storage side.

Dropbox going public today wouldn’t be a huge deal, in fact we might brush it off similar to Box’s IPO earlier this year. It doesn’t have the revenue stats or the burst in performance to warrant a huge valuation like $10 billion (£6.3 billion) and other startups like Uber, Snapchat and Airbnb have shown more innovation in a less competitive market.

Source: Business Insider (opens in new tab)

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.