This conversation on Quora started when somebody asked, why is Dropbox more popular than other programs with similar functionality? A responder said:
Well, let's take a step back and think about the sync problem and what the ideal solution for it would do:This response, though humorous, speaks to a point we might consider as we continue exploring academic technologies. There are a lot of good ideas out there, and our job is not only to find innovation but to look deeper. Many of the tools we're discussing are trying to address some underlying issue with today's student experience, so the tools which are focused and simple are probably also easier to pick up and use.
They built that.
- There would be a folder.
- You'd put your stuff in it.
- It would sync.
Why didn't anyone else build that? I have no idea.
"But," you may ask, "so much more you could do! What about task management, calendaring, customized dashboards, virtual white boarding. More than just folders and files!"
No, shut up. People don't use that crap. They just want a folder. A folder that syncs.
"But," you may say, "this is valuable data...certainly users will feel more comfortable tying their data to Windows Live, Apple Mobile Me, or a name they already know."
No, shut up. Not a single person on Earth wakes up in the morning worried about deriving more value from their Windows Live login. People already trust folders. And Dropbox looks just like a folder. One that syncs.
"But," you may say, "folders are so 1995. why not leverage the full power of the web? With HTML 5 you can drag and drop files, you can build intergalactic dashboards of stats showing how much storage you are using, you can publish your files as RSS feeds and tweets, and you can add your company logo!"
No, shut up. Most of the world doesn't sit in front of their browser all day. If they do, it is IE 6 at work that they are not allowed to upgrade. Browsers suck for these kinds of things. Their stuff is already in folders. They just want a folder. That syncs.
That is what it does.