GROW2012 - The Future of the Cloud - Dan Levin, Box


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Dan Levin, Chief Operating Officer Box
As the COO of Box, Dan is responsible for maintaining the goals of the company and driving the business forward on metrics and execution. Prior to Box, Dan held senior executive roles with Picateers, Intuit and co-founded multiple startups. When Dan isn't flying his airplane, he builds ham radios, writes Python and practices Aikido.

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  • Hi.I’m Dan Levin.COO of Box.Quick show of hands.How many of you are familiar with Box?Ok.[(If a lot).Cool. Most of you.][(If some).Cool. Some of you. Well, you’re about to know a lot more, but let’s start with the basics.]For those that don’t know who we are, Box is all about cloud-based collaboration on content.We focus on enterprise customers. We’re a SaaS model. And we’re growing really fast. Probably one of the fastest enterprise software companies ever. Although it wasn’t always that way, as we’ll talk about.By the way, if you are familiar with Box – or even if you aren’t – how many of you follow our CEO, Aaron Levie, on Twitter? If you do, you’ll know he’s always tweeting – mostly seriously – about entrepreneurship and what it’s like to build a start up.I’m an entrepreneur myself, and Aaron and Dylan Smith, our co-founder, and the challenges of not only starting, but especially building a start up are pretty much always on our mind.I know many of you are also entrepreneurs building companies.So today, I’m going to talk about the short history of Box and some of the lessons I’ve learned as a leader at the company.And I’m going to talk about what I think is the most difficult time in the development and growth of the company.I think about it like this...(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Every company starts out as just an idea, and every entrepreneur starts out full of enthusiasm and energy and optimism.
  • Then reality sets in. This shit is hard! But we struggle through, we flesh out our idea, and if we are lucky, we build a product and we raise a bit of money and we hire a few friends and...
  • We are off to the races. Still early in life, but equipped with all of the basics that we need to succeed.
  • Thanks and Good Luck.We all need it.(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Momentum.You have to create it, even if it’s not 100 percent real.You have to keep it. You can’t slow down.And then you have to make it 100 percent real.It’s not about faking it ‘til you make it.But it is about leaning very far forward and being truly disruptive. You have to act bigger than you are.It’s about acknowledging that it’s not enough to build a good, even the best product.There’s a vibe, especially in the Valley right now, that success all comes down to the product, to the technology.Just build the best product and the users will come.Yet history bears out that while we all think we’re in a beautiful product meritocracy, reality is different.You have to have a good product to win. It is necessary, but not sufficient.You also have to invest in the kind of aggressive marketing and thought-leadership that builds a great brand, even if you’re “small.”Rest of Talking Points TBD(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Oracle Openworld SF
  • You have to cast a bigger shadow then you are in real life.Maybe you’re too small to have a global user conference? Then have a global user conference?Be epic. 10X it. You keep momentum by turning small successes into huge successes and making sure your current and future customers know about them.Rest of Talking Points TBD(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Momentum builds success.You have to reinvest that success into the product, the company and your customers.You may have leaned a little far forward when you started.But when it catches on you have to make it real for customers, and fast.Rest of Talking Points TBD(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Need 10 new customer logos like Toyota and NetflixGapReaders DigestBAA AirportsVWSF Giants
  • So, that’s what we’ve learned from Box.These ideas, I hope, in some variation will work for you.But Box isn’t my first time around.So I actually want to leave you with a little secret (build)Even if you break out of the pack. Even if you’re as big as Box is now.You’ll always be asking...(build)Now what?Because...(build)It Never EndsWhich is why we do it.Rest of Talking Points TBD(NEXT SLIDE)
  • Thanks and Good Luck.We all need it.(NEXT SLIDE)
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