Thinking Outside the Dropbox

The visit to Dropbox on Thursday was truly an amazing experience. Our tour around the property included several spaces, from the verdant terrace on the roof to the ‘Mint Room’ that contained various musical instruments, creativity is constantly expressed as the cornerstone of this company. The walls exuded messages geared towards that passion while the offices expressed the open and inclusive culture, shown its lack of the typical cubicle style workspace. What really caught my eye of the Dropbox space was the name of the rooms. Many of the rooms that the employees of Dropbox utilize for what I assumed to be for serious work had really silly names. There was audio and video conferencing room going by the moniker ‘Video and Audio Dungeon’. The room looked nothing like a dungeon but the fact there is a sign next to the door itself made it hard not to actually love Dropbox. This was not a company that just had fancy signs plastered everywhere spouting buzzwords like ‘innovation’ and ‘collaboration’. In fact, Dropbox was actively expressing creativity by allowing it to exist within its own homely walls and reiterate to any person that walks through these halls that this company lives and breathes innovation everywhere and it makes this Dropbox’s mission.

Our conversation with Jessica Arnold CLAS ‘07 and Michelle Adams ‘90 was the highlight of my day. These were two titans working in crucial roles of a company that has succeeded rapidly over the years. In fact, midway through our visit at Business Insider, one of our panelists came into the room late because of the breaking news of Dropbox filing for an IPO. To hear them take the time to speak and give us advice to us on our journey was a humbling experience. I personally enjoyed the lax nature of Michelle Adams, the Vice President of Sales, telling us about her many pivot points in life and the highlights of her life. Michelle made sure to drive the point of having resilience and grit as the main ingredient of being in sales or surviving in many positions in the silicon valley. For Jessica, she enlightened us with her background of communications being instrumental in her current position as the Head of Sales in North America. She uses her communications knowledge to help her be a better liaison between Michelle and to the customers to make sure there is as much transparency as possible. These two titans work together everyday and still foster a very Villanovan bond as they talked to each other. Their team chemistry can be attributed not only to their Villanovan roots but also the company culture.

Before coming to the Silicon Valley I wondered if there was a company that would express that uncanny, creativity rampant, and rapidly changing vibe.  I found such a company. It is undoubtedly Dropbox. It has been an honor and privilege to experience such a place. I believe any Villanovan that attends this trip will surely find Dropbox as one their favorite places that they have visited in the program.