Last week Dropbox Co-Founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi promoted Aditya Agarwal from the company's VP of engineering to its CTO.
No one blames you if you shrugged off the news — even if you read the blog post about Agarwal's accomplishments overseeing the builds of Dropbox Business, Dropbox Enterprise, Dropbox Paper, Dropbox Infinite and more.
Deep Questions from Aditya Agarwal
But there's a lot more to know about Agarwal, an early Facebook employee who is now eagerly awaiting the birth of his first child.
The tip-off: An article he posted on Medium the same day his promotion was announced, which posed a number of thought-provoking questions.
Why, if I can search through the entirety of human knowledge in less than one second on my phone, can’t I search the entirety of the knowledge my company has created from my desk?
Why, if I can quickly and easily find out about events around the world and events in the lives of my friends and loved ones, is it so hard to learn what has happened in my company last week?
Agarwal's Vision for Dropbox
Are these problems Dropbox intends to solve? Maybe, Agarwal said coyly.
While he wasn't ready to unveil any Dropbox product announcements beyond the iOS productivity news we covered last week, he told CMSWire Dropbox has some interesting visions for the digital workplace.
Here are five takeaways from our conversation.
The Future of Work is about end users, not enterprise vs. consumer
"You don't have to choose between the two. That is a false choice," said Agarwal. "The right question to ask is, 'What is the best tool to get the job done? People want software that is easy to understand, simple to use and provides an elegant, delightful experience without training."
The Future of IT is about embracing solutions selected, loved and employees
Gone are the days when corporate IT issued requests for proposals, waited for vendors to reply, built solutions over months, if not years, and then waited for workers to spend weeks or months in training before they could be productive.
In the modern enterprise, workers simply sample solutions until they find the ones that they like, he said. "Once they embrace a particular solution, IT will empower them."
Dropbox should have recognized earlier that IT administrators are also its customers
In a major admission, Agarwal said Dropbox should have built tools to make it easier for IT admins to provide privacy, security and compliance.
It’s worth noting that Dropbox has been working to remedy the problem at a furious pace over the last several years and the reception for its deep admin interface seems to be strong. Agarwal noted that Dropbox Business now has about 200,000 customers.
The "Dropbox problem" is resolved
The "Dropbox problem" was a phenomenon that kept CIOs up at night wondering how they could prevent their employees from storing and sharing corporate files in their personal Dropbox accounts. But Agarwal said that it is no longer an issue. His proof?
"When you Googled Dropbox a few years ago, 'Dropbox problem' ranked high in the results. That is not the case anymore," said Agarwal.
To any CIOs who still block Dropbox, Agarwal has a question: "Do you help your employees become more productive by blocking the software they want to use for those purposes?"
Dropbox managers aren't worrying about questions like Dropbox vs. Box (or any EFSS or ECM provider) or whether it's time to IPO
"We come to work each day with one goal in mind: to reimagine how teams can work better together and to enable that," said Agarwal.
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