Friday, as keynote speaker of their #StartupColumbia entrepreneurship festival, CORE hosted a conversation between Walt Mossberg (JRN ’70), editor of Re/Code and Dropbox founder Drew Houston. We sent Artur Renault, our reporter with his head in the clouds, to cover.
Houston, pronounced like the street downtown, not the city in Texas, could be a GS student in your introductory CompSci class from his informal demeanor and long-sleeve shirt; you’d never guessed that he created Dropbox, the world’s largest file-sharing platform. In fact, when Mossberg asked the room how many of us used Dropbox, you’d be hard-pressed to find an arm that wasn’t raised. “What, nobody uses Google Drive or OneDrive?,” he asked next. When a few hands went up, Houston shrugged—”Nobody’s perfect.”
Being that this was an entrepreneurship event, many people were interested in how Dropbox came to be, so Houston told us the story in detail. He was waiting for the Feng Wah Chinatown bus in Boston’s South Station and realized he had forgotten his thumb drive containing all his work. He also didn’t have any Family Guy episodes left to watch on his laptop, and he didn’t feel like the lady next to him, who may have been carrying a bag of crabs, would be interested in much conversation. Realizing that his four-hour trip had been doomed to boredom by the simple misstep of forgetting a thumb drive, Houston began coding what would become Dropbox on that very bus ride.