Meet the Team

Finalmente Dropbox è arrivato in italiano!

Posted by Stefano Cayre e Pierpaolo Baccichet on November 12, 2012
Dropbox, Meet the Team / 44 Comments

Ciao a tutti,

Siamo Pierpaolo e Stefano, due bischeri italiani in trasferta a San Francisco.

Pierpaolo viene da Monza (fa provincia oggigiorno?), ha girovagato un po’ per il mondo ed è finito per restare a vivere a San Francisco. Lavora a Dropbox da un annetto come ingegnere. Io (Stefano) ho studiato al Politecnico di Torino e lavoro da un paio d’anni a Dropbox in User Ops.

Vivere all’estero ci ha aperto la mente, dato nuove prospettive ed aperto nuovi orizzonti, ma allo stesso tempo ci ha anche reso piú attaccati alle nostre origini, all’italianitá, agli “Amici miei”, alle “bischerate” fatte in compagnia e al desiderio di condividere le nostre malefatte.

Quest’estate ho potuto mandare tutte le foto delle vacanze alla mia amica Lucia. Tutte le immagini erano state magicamente caricate in Dropbox dal mio telefono Android.  Ho scelto le migliori e con un paio di click le ho inviate a Lucia: 

Dropbox ci aiuta a condividere i momenti importanti della nostra vita con le persone piú care. Ed è ancora piu semplice ora che è disponibile in Italiano!



Dropbox + Cove = <3!

Posted by Jon Ying on March 15, 2012
Dropbox, Meet the Team / 323 Comments

Hey everyone!

Dropbox is growing really fast! The team was at 30 people last March, and today sees us just barely over 100. But words can’t describe how excited we are about the newest addition to the Dropbox family: the Cove team.

Akhil Wable will add some engineering experience and muscle to the team. Akhil was one of the architects of Facebook’s search system, and built much of their core infrastructure for storing a graph database. You’ve probably used a lot of his work if you’ve used Facebook Share or Notes.

Joshua Jenkins provides some much-needed relief to Dropbox’s design team, and was Cove’s sole designer. Josh has the unique distinction of being the only designer (out of around 20) to pass Cove’s insanely difficult hiring process.

Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi have been amazing advisors and friends to us the past couple years, and we’re thrilled to make the gig official. Aditya and Ruchi both have legendary histories at Facebook (they were around when it was upstairs from a Chinese restaurant), and their experience working on products used by hundreds of millions of people will prove invaluable at Dropbox. The two of them will be taking up senior roles here, and we’re stoked to have them aboard.

So, what exactly is Cove, and how does it play with Dropbox? Cove has developed great tools for sharing and indexing your stuff across groups of people. Sound familiar? Seeing as our vision is the same and both teams are driven to build stuff that just works, joining forces was a no-brainer. It also doesn’t hurt that Cove’s backend infrastructure plays so nicely with Dropbox.

We think that this is the beginning of something really special at Dropbox; and given how ambitious our newest projects are, Cove couldn’t have shown up at a better time. Please help us welcome Cove to the team!

P.S. – We’re always hiring!

Meet the Team! (Part 4)

Posted by Jon Ying on July 20, 2010
Meet the Team / 38 Comments

Hi everyone! This edition of ‘Meet the Team’ introduces you to Rajiv Eranki. Rajiv grew up in Buffalo and, no surprise here– graduated from MIT before moving out to San Francisco. Rajiv currently devotes his time to making sure Dropbox’s servers run as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Tell us about your programming background– how’d you get into it?

I loved computer games as a kid, so I learned programming as a way to try to build them. I used to build a lot of stupid little games in Apple’s HyperCard, like “Slay the Peasant,” which involved killing the same little sprite over and over with an arsenal of weapons by clicking on the screen.

In high school I learned Perl and C so I could explore other things, like building websites and 3D programming. The nice thing about programming as a hobby is that it doesn’t cost anything to explore new things.

How’d you join dropbox and why’d you choose it over finishing your masters?

I really wasn’t enjoying doing a Masters, and I’m amazed that it took me so long to figure it out. I guess I just figured that misery was part of the austere life an academic is supposed to lead.

I knew Aston and Arash from school, and they had showed me this cool project called Dropbox that they were working on when visiting Boston. A few months later when I finally realized that the academic life just wasn’t for me, I sent an IM to Aston asking if they were hiring, and they flew me out. It took me a couple agonizing weeks to decide that I actually wanted to drop everything I had in Boston to do this, but I haven’t looked back since.

Which OS do you prefer?

Mac OS X. I’ve always been a huge Mac fanboy. I tried to switch to Linux in high school for street cred, but it was too much of a pain.

What’s the nastiest problem you’ve run into while here?

It’s hard to describe specifics, but the nastiest problems always involve bugs that pop up very infrequently, and for a very small percentage of users, but are still important to solve. In these cases you have to make educated guesses about what might be wrong and then come up with ways of testing the idea.

In a few sentences, what does your job at dropbox entail?

My job here is mostly to make sure that Dropbox continues to run smoothly as we’ve gone from thousands to millions of users and beyond. This basically involves figuring out how we can efficiently use hundreds of computers to spread out the work.

Most people at dropbox have their single ‘claim to fame’. What’s yours?

Before I started working on the server more full-time, I was helping with the code injection/reverse engineering stuff that we do on the Mac to be well-integrated with the Finder. Since then I guess it’s mostly been helping to scale the site.

What kind of music do you listen to? Favorite artists?

I mostly listen to classic rock, Motown, and pop, with occasional detours into classical and jazz, and my favorite artist of all time is Jimi Hendrix (he’s the most frequent on my “Top 25 Most Played” list, anyway). The one song I have on repeat right now is “Africa” by Toto.

Favorite sports teams?

Go Sharks!! They did great last season. It’ll be interesting to see what their roster looks like next.

What do you do in your freetime?

Hang out with friends, play guitar, ride my motorcycle, play golf (horribly), ski, and generally get involved in new things. My current project is learning to play ice hockey.

What are you working on right now?/What cool things does the server team have planned?

“Cool” for the server team is mostly “it still works?!” :) In some sense the server team is at it’s best when nobody notices it.

Meet the Team! (Part 3)

Posted by Jon Ying on December 08, 2009
Meet the Team / 14 Comments

Hi everyone!  This installment of ‘meet the team’ introduces you to a member of our web team, Aston Motes.  Aston originally hails from South Carolina, and… you guessed it, went to MIT before moving to San Francisco to work on Dropbox.  Aston is also Dropbox’s very first employee, and spends his workdays coding many of the things under the hood of our website (including the file browser that you’re sure to have used at some point or another).

What do you do/what’s your claim to fame at dropbox?

I spend my days on the web side of Dropbox. If you’re using, odds are good I coded it or broke it or fixed it at some point in time. Ostensibly, my claim to fame is being engineer numero uno (after the founders). Within Dropbox, I think my claim to fame is probably my ability to unintentionally generate company-wide catch phrases. I haven’t figured out whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing yet.

Since you’re the first employee, joining Dropbox must’ve been a difficult decision. What made you decide to join?

It was definitely a tough decision. At the time, I was the biggest Dropbox fanboy ever–I’d kept an eye on the product since I saw Drew’s original screencast, and I’d known Arash since before he started at MIT. However, I already had a really cool job in New York City I really liked, and the prospect of flying across the country to join this tiny, unproven company seemed almost too risky to consider. In the end I think I went with my gut that this idea could be a great, and that getting in on the ground floor would expose me to the startup world in a way I couldn’t get anywhere else. Two years in, and my gut seems right so far.

What OSs do you prefer?

For coding purposes, Ubuntu 100%. Linux has its charms. When it comes to less-serious business, Windows. My (ancient) desktop machine at home triple-boots Windows XP, Vista, and 7.

Was Windows 7 your idea?


Current favorite apps?

Canabalt and Words with Friends, both on the iPhone. With their powers combined, it’s impossible for me to be bored.

How’d you get into programming?

My first programming memory goes back to futzing with LOGO on the Apple IIgs machines at my elementary school and being told you could make games with it. I remember wishing I knew how they got the little turtle to make Oregon Trail. My first “real” coding experience was a few years later, when I discovered the web, or more specifically, Geocities. I learned HTML and Javascript solely to trick out my first homepage. I went to Computer Camp after 8th grade, where I found out I actually had an aptitude for coding (apparently, few 14-year-olds grok pointers) and the rest is history.

I hear you’re working on a rap about Python. Care to share any highlights?

These aren’t the highlights. These are all I have written. Basically just punchlines to unwritten verses. But if you insist…

Some cats complain to me sayin’ Python’s slow/I just look ‘em in the eye: dog are you psyco? (pypy!)
Faster execution model under Unladen Swallow/And Stackless is way faster than Go

Beyond comprehension like the lists I make/Need intel to predict which branch I’m gonna take.

I rock the GIL like an MVP/I be lockin’ threads atomically.

What do you do in your freetime?

When I moved to San Francisco, I shipped my drum kit out, too. It’s now set up in the corner of the Dropbox office, and I try to bang on it anytime the office is empty (a rare occurrence). I’ve also got a keyboard and microphone at home that I jam on when not at Dropbox, and I’m working on picking up a bass guitar to add to my arsenal. In general you’d be hard pressed to find me not doing something music related if I can be. I carry
headphones with me 24/7.

What’s in your recently played list?

This question should be “What’s on your Zune?” (yeah, I’m part of the Social). The most recent albums I’ve thrown on there are Wale’s “Attention Deficit,” Mayer Hawthorne’s “A Strange Arrangement,” John Mayer’s “Battle Studies,” and The Dirty Projectors’ “Bitte Orca.” All definitely worth checking out, especially “Two Doves” on that last one. Haunting.

What cool things are you working on right now?

We’ve got some heretofore unannounced things coming on the web that I’m super-excited about. Unfortunately, I can’t share them with you, so you’ll just have to wait and see! Half the fun of secrets is keeping them.

Meet the Team! (Part 2)

Posted by Jon Ying on September 08, 2009
Linux, Meet the Team / 24 Comments

Hi Dropboxers! it’s time for another installment of Meet the Team! Today we’d like you to meet another member of the client team, and probably the second most famous member of Dropbox; Rian Hunter. Rian originally hails from Miami, Florida, but went to school at MIT with most of the Dropbox team and now works at Dropbox HQ in San Francisco. Many of you may know Rian as the mastermind behind the highly anticipated Linux client for Dropbox, but he is also responsible for much of the seamless user experience when using the Dropbox client on your computer.

How did you get into computer programming?

I’ve always been interested in math and technology but especially computers. I started programming in Perl when I was about 15. I didn’t think it was fast enough so I moved into hacking Apache modules in C and using some mod_perl. I started getting interested in kernel hacking at about 17 and wrote a toy kernel that ran on top of L4 micro-kernel

Ever since I read “The C Programming Language” by Kernighan and Ritchie, I’ve been a lover of C and to this day I still can say that C is my favorite language to program in. But really programming is one of my favorite things to do and I love to learn about new algorithms, programming languages and paradigms, no matter how obscure. Big fan of Haskell and Factor.

Which OS do you prefer?

Debian for life! XMonad for life!! My first computer ran Windows 3.1 and I went through every version of Windows till XP. During high school I started collecting a lot of obscure junk computers that I could only get NetBSD to run on (old-world PowerPC Macintoshes, random Sparc64 machines). In college, I finally had some money to buy new machines and my world became a lot more x86 centric, so I bit the bullet and finally made the transition to Linux.

Vim or Emacs?

Emacs for life!

Current favorite apps?

Mixapp is sweet!! Etherpad is sweet!!! Meebo is also sweet!!

What do you do in your spare time?

When not coding Dropbox, I like to make graphic demos in Javascript (see below). Music is also a big part of my life and I spend the rest of my free time playing my guitar if not reading or crawling the web. Hanging out is also really fun.

What do you do for Dropbox?

I would describe myself as part of the sync quality team — I work on the Dropbox desktop software to make sure that the sync engine works as expected and always does the right thing. I do some OS-level integration hacking on Mac and Linux and basically make sure that the client is bug free with Arash (this is called QA for all you software people). My Dropbox claim to fame was the Linux port :)

How did you join Dropbox?

Arash and I actually lived in the same dorm. Several years ago we had a couple conversations about Dropbox and he told me a lot about the difficulties of architecting this kind of system. This sounded really interesting to me, and a year later he offered me a job which I accepted after graduation.

So what are your thoughts about having to work for a college dropout?

It’s very neat because Arash is one of the most intelligent people I know. He has a giant amount of passion for Dropbox which inspires all of us to work hard and make sure Dropbox is as high quality and painless to use as possible. It’s this kind of passion that differentiates us from the competition and I think our users can see that.

How do you use Dropbox?

I have a Mac at home, use Linux at work, and have a web server running the Dropbox daemon. I frequently edit files in my Dropbox to auto store things on my web server. I also use Dropbox to share music (all legal of course!) and files with friends and also use it as my main backup solution (a total of ~55GB in my Dropbox). I run our nightly builds on all my own computers and try to be as much of a stress test as possible to make sure there are no bugs come release time.

What can we expect from the client team in the near future?

Right now we are fervently working on making sure our Snow Leopard integration is perfect. We’re also in the middle of testing our latest client with LAN Sync, Explorer/Finder toolbar integration, and lots and lots of performance enhancements. The next release we’re working will feature Selective Sync and we’re also tackling preserving resource fork data and Spotlight comments and other extended attributes on the Mac. Soon after we’ll be adding the capability to watch any folder on your machine.

Can you give us an idea of the music on your playlist right now?

I’m a HUGE bossanova enthusiast. If you enjoy listening to recordings by Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim then you know what I’m talking about. I was really into 50s cool jazz for a long time also and I frequently listen to KCSM. In past lives I was into My Bloody Valentine, Depeche Mode, Stereolab.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to all the Dropbox users in the world?

Meet the Team! (Part 1)

Posted by Jon Ying on February 05, 2009
Meet the Team / 22 Comments

Starting today, we’ll be running a recurring series to introduce the members of the Dropbox team.  Ever wanted to know who wrote the client, or maybe who drew all of our error images?  Starting out the series is Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox.  Drew, like most of the team, is an MIT graduate, and brings experience from several other startups to the team. Drew’s a talented coder, hardcore Pearl Jam lover, and a fan of mediocre food. On top of being CEO and the mastermind behind the Dropbox idea, Drew spearheads development of the client team (the other teams being web and server), and is largely responsible for the look and feel of Dropbox as you know it today.  By the way, all of these questions were provided by our users in the forums.

Drew \

What was your inspiration for dropbox?
I needed it badly. I worked on multiple desktops and a laptop, and could never remember to keep my USB drive with me. I was drowning in email attachments trying to share files for my previous startup. My home desktop’s power supply literally exploded one day, killing one of my hard drives, and I had no backups.

I tried everything I could find but each product inevitably suffered problems with Internet latency, large files, bugs, or just made me think too much.

Nothing just worked, so I started hacking something together for myself and then realized it could solve these problems for a lot of other people.

What operating system do you prefer?
My main development desktop runs Windows Vista x64. Someone’s gotta do it.  Of course, I use all 3 major platforms every day — I’ve also got synergy linking my Mac desktop to my Windows machine and I use a Macbook Air as my primary laptop, and have a variety of Linux VMs and servers (I’ve been a Linux fan since the Slackware days.)

What’s the coolest use of Dropbox you’ve seen?
Dropbox being used to coordinate multiple tractors on a farm …I don’t even know where to start.  We’ve seen some pretty awesome stuff from users on our Wiki too.

What is the most annoying thing you hear from Dropbox customers?
We get feature requests for things we already have. These are particularly bad because it means that even though we’ve implemented something, our users can’t find it — so we pay close attention when that happens.

How much sleep do you have and are you more the morning type or do you prefer to work in the deep of the night?
Definitely late night. We’re all night owls — I’m usually up till 3-4am and get between 5-8 hours of sleep a night.

To be a little bit psychological:  If you were a tree – what kind would you be
I have an idea of which tree our investors would like me to say :)

Where do you see dropbox in 5 years?
What we want to do as a company is let you sit at any computer (or device) and have access to all your stuff.

For example, in college I could go from one workstation to any of the thousands of others on campus and not only could I see all my files but my entire desktop and environment. But after I graduated, I was on my own.

So we’re trying to build that kind of seamless experience for the rest of the world. It’s a simple idea, but very challenging to build — certainly enough to keep us busy for the next 5 years.

How much impact do you think will the recent developments on the financial markets aka crisis have on your business?
Everyone will be negatively impacted to some extent. However, while other companies are cutting back, we’re fortunate enough to have the resources to grow.

Great companies are often built in down economic times. A lot of talent is available and there’s less distraction — and it keeps you focused on making something people want and are willing to pay for.

Did you ever think Dropbox would get as big as it is today?
Yes and no.

Yes, because it was clear that the world needed an elegant solution to these problems, and in “the future” they would simply not exist. As we would later explain to friends and investors, it’s hard to imagine Tom Cruise in Minority Report sending himself files via Gmail or lugging around a USB thumbdrive.

No, because we’ve been repeatedly surprised at how well Dropbox has resonated with our users, from the phenomenal response from Digg to the rate of growth and positive feedback that continues today. That said, we are our own harshest critics and have an almost endless list of things we want to improve.

What can Dropbox users expect in 2009, and what’s your favorite upcoming feature?
I can’t go into too many details, but I’m most excited about the new and unannounced ideas we’re working on around sharing and collaboration. So far we’ve only scratched the surface.

Of course, we’re also furiously working on the most-requested features like the ability to watch folders outside your Dropbox, selectively sync files on different devices, define more controls on shared folders, and so on.