On September 29, Drew spoke at the three-day German tech festival, Bits & Pretzels, that brings together the world’s leading entrepreneurs and investors. Other speakers included former president Barack Obama, actress and founder of The Honest Company, Jessica Alba, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. More than 5,000 founders, investors, and startup enthusiasts attended the event in Munich.
Drew talked about his own evolution from coder to CEO. “It’s important to keep your personal growth curve ahead of the company growth curve,” he said. Throughout, he’s been motivated by the things that frustrated him—first thumb drives, and now the increasing lack of focus for knowledge workers and “why we’re using all these apps that don’t work together.”
His current frustration is the problem Dropbox is now trying to solve with the smart workspace. “What we need is a different mindset: we need to value our time, creativity, and attention more than anything else,” Drew said. “If you don’t frame the problem that way, you’re not going to design the right products. Hopefully we put a dent in this problem and lots of other companies do, too. But we have to start with this shift in perspective.”
In closing, Drew advised fellow entrepreneurs in the audience, “One thing I would tell my younger self is learn to love the struggle. And you have to take care of yourself, because no one is going to do that for you.”