Box CEO Aaron Levie on finding opportunities for improvement — and competitive advantage
Video produced by Silber Studios
When Aaron Levie was a student at the University of Southern California, he encountered a practical problem: difficulty sharing data with classmates. That observation led him, in 2005, to leave school and found Box, a company that allows people to access their content from anywhere and to share it easily — a model that counts 14 million users and customers as diverse as Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) and Allergan Inc. (NYSE: AGN). In the latest in a video series produced by the NYSE Big StartUp, renowned entrepreneur, author and speaker Guy Kawasaki, co-founder of Garage Technology Ventures and former chief evangelist at Apple Inc., sat down with Levie to find out what lessons he might offer to other entrepreneurs.
Kawasaki: What are the key factors that have made Box a success?
Levie: One of the exciting things about being a startup is that you get to reinvent a lot of things. But at the same time, you must have respect for the talent and experience that’s out there — the people who have done it before and incredibly well. We’ve been able to attract an amazing team.
Kawasaki: Do you have any regrets?
Levie: That’s an hourly phenomenon. Every month or quarter we brainstorm what is and isn’t working, and we determine whether the things that aren’t working are failing because they’re fatally flawed or executed poorly. We get rid of the things that are fatally flawed, and we put those freed-up resources into what works; we’re constantly doubling down on what’s working well and killing off what’s not as effective. Most of our mistakes have involved not making a decision fast enough or executing fast enough.
Kawasaki: Any final advice to entrepreneurs?
Levie: Build for where things are going because of new platforms. Attack markets where the incumbent is making compromises in its products or how it works with consumers — these are the gaps that open up for startups. We’re at one of the most exciting and disruptive moments in technological history.
To see more in the Guy Kawasaki NYSE Big StartUp series, click here.