You could sense the excitement around Box’s first developers conference before it even began — there was an all-star line-up of venture capitalists, tech executives and, of course, Box’s own CEO, Aaron Levie on the agenda. The night before there was a picture of Levie rehearsing his keynote, in what looked to be peach-colored pants posted on Instagram (they were not Khakis).
A Box employee had put up a tweet that links to a funny, old video of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer shouting “developers, developers, developers” while sweating. He was taunting Levie that he would be calling Box developers to action in the very same way the following day.
No matter what you could point to, it was clear that yesterday was planned to be a big, potentially pivotal day for Box. A pivot which could move the company beyond its present status as cloud-based file sync and share provider to that of a platform vendor for computing’s next era.
In it Together
It was also a day that likely took Levie away from thinking about his company’s horrendous financials, which were revealed to the world on Monday when the company announced its IPO filing, and into the future where Box would become the future of enterprise software development. Or, at least, that’s how former Microsoft Windows President Steven Sinofsky put it in a tweet.
While this is clearly a lofty aspiration, Box is acting as if its very existence depends on it.
“Our survival is based on third parties building apps around us,” Chris Yeh, Box’s SVP, Product and Platform, told the 1000 plus strong developer audience at the conference, this according to a tweet.
There’s little doubt that they were on board.
Why not? Their success and Box’s success could be one and the same. They could make it to the big-time together. Though we don’t know if the VC’s who spoke said anything like “pitch us with the apps you build on Box’s platform,” the suggestion had to be there.
The VC’s Box called to the conference weren’t small players. There was Jerry Chen of Greylock Partners, Ben Horowitz of Andreessen Horowitz, Mamoon Hamid General Partner — The Social+Capital Partnership, and several others
While we don’t know that these guys were actually around to hear some of Box’s third party developers pitch their products at the conference, a dream had to have been planted within the crowd; you can participate in building the future of computing and make a mint, if you build your app on the Box platform.
The dream was clearly put into place as articulated by Box employee Dan O’Leary’s tweet.
Favorite thing about #boxdev? Meeting the founders and devs of other startups who are building amazing things.— Daniel O'Leary (@danieloleary) March 27, 2014
Testifying to the Power of Box
According to Yeh, 35,000 developers are building on Box, the platform receives 1 billion third-party API calls and the Box OneCloud ecosystem just reached 1,000 app integration partners. He adds that in the last year usage of third-party apps by Box customers increased 292 percent.