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Box CEO Aaron Levie: The post-PC era and our partnerships will help us win

John Gallant and Matt Rosoff, CITEworld | April 5, 2013
It's no surprise that Box, the content management and collaboration company born in the cloud, has met with so much success among small-to-medium businesses. The service provides SMBs with the kind of enterprise-class content capabilities that they didn't have the money and resources to deploy before.

MR: Don't you have a board member from Google or something that you could get a demo of that?

AL: Not from Google. We do have a board member from GE, ex-GE, but we do have some high-up employees from Google. But I'm confident that we'll be able to get Google Glass, I'll put it that way. It would be impossible for us to discuss whether or not that's going to be successful. I'm not going to make any sort of assumptions or predictions on that. But it's a good example of how people are going to access information will change over time and we're building a platform that will support any of those new kinds of end points or environments. So, whether you can pull up a document from your glasses, that's the kind of capability that, obviously we would want to build for it if that actually becomes a core part of our future. Again, I have no ability to know whether or not that's the case. But our view is that we want to work wherever people are and we want to work on any device that people are accessing information from. We're pretty excited about a lot of the innovations going on. I think the wearable computing trend is really fascinating.

Sometimes I am embarrassed to admit it, but the good news is so few people have heard of it that it tends to not be that embarrassing. Microsoft had this watch back in the early 2000s that I owned that let you pull up sports scores and stock ticker and email from your watch. So I've always been very excited about this idea that we should have really convenient ways to access information and we would want Box to be a core part of how that happens in a business context.

MR: I remember the SPOT Watch. I never owned one.

AL: I'm glad you know the name. Nobody, literally, I can be in the geekiest of groups and nobody ever owned a SPOT Watch.

MR: Is there anything cool going on at Box that we didn't ask about?

AL: There's definitely one thing. Because of mobile devices and because of all these new platforms that have emerged, the barrier to create software is actually dropping quite dramatically. What we're seeing is much more distributed innovation all throughout the world for building applications on these mobile devices and these mobile platforms. We're seeing these five and 10 and 20 person startups that are emerging that are building applications that are being used by hundreds or thousands or millions of end users inside of businesses.

The challenge is those companies don't often have a very straightforward go-to-market path within the enterprise beyond the end user. We actually see the emergence of what we're thinking about as kind of an enterprise app economy which is -- how do you make it possible for all these apps to be more enterprise-ready than they are by default? How does that then create a possible monetization channel and a possible economic opportunity for those app developers that they wouldn't otherwise have access to? This is where our OneCloud Platform comes in. But the bigger idea is we're moving to a world where you might have thousands or tens of thousands of developers and application providers that are able to create really meaningful businesses because of the post-PC revolution and change. But it's going to take new kinds of economics to make that happen. That's something we're exploring quite a bit internally. We're hoping to figure out ways that we can really introduce our customers to these app developers and these application providers and then create a really compelling business model for all these apps that are focused on the enterprise.

 

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