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Dropbox: The First Dead Decacorn, by Alex Danco


Stashed in: Dropbox, Awesome, internet, Storage!, Slack, Black Swans!

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So who will be the first Decacorn to fall? My bet is Dropbox. But not – as has been the worry for years – because of Google Drive, or Skydrive, or any cloud-hosted file storage solutions at all. As we’ve seen before, it isn’t your direct competitors that are the scariest.

  

Dropbox will die at the hands of Slack.

Interesting theory but I don't accept the premise because Dropbox is primarily used by consumers and Slack is primarily used by businesses. 

Here's the key paragraph I question. Consumers still care about files.

Dropbox does two things that matter: storing your stuff, and sharing your stuff. It’s great at both. But storage on its own isn’t a great business to be in anymore – the cost of hard drive space in the cloud has all but converged to zero over the last few years, in a furious race to the bottom driven by Amazon’s infrastructure and Google’s reach. Yet Dropbox has survived, not because it offers the cheapest or the most storage but because its file sharing and versioning tools are still pretty darn good. And they recognize that syncing files isn’t enough – providing services and experiences around that core function, they say, should do the trick. But Dropbox’s big existential problem isn’t how well it can deliver services around file management: Dropbox’s problem is the fact that it’s a great file management service – we just don’t care about files that much any more. 

Because iOS is such a joy to use with it's attempt to "protect" users from the concept of files? iPhone users are frequently helpless in this respect when they need to do something that isn't pre-programmed.

My reaction to this article is that the author is in love with his own ideological view, and wants to say something futuristic and profound so badly, that he has said something ridiculous.  Is the concept of a file really so problematic when it comes to say, an transferable entity representing a song, painting or document?  Of course not.  These things are not going away, so the concept of files won't be going away either.  God help us from a world where files -- a simple data-based concept that anyone can understand, and which clearly embodies user-owned data -- are replaced by the need to rely on programmers and intra-program "contracts" or behaviors to exchange and relate information. 

Is the idea that computers need to manage pieces of information at a level that doesn't well correspond to files new?  Not even remotely.  Does it have anything to do with Slack?  No.  Does it have anything to do with the stock market crash?  Nope.

Well said. 

Dropbox may very well die because it's expensive for the value-add, but it's not going to die at the hands of Slack.

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