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Mulling on BOX

I’ve been mulling on BOX for the past three days. Since then the stock has risen about 6%. I finally bought some this morning.

Box

My interest peaked after watching BOX’s unbelievably impressive CEO, Aaron Levie on Charlie Rose last week.

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That episode starts with Michael Lewis on Flash Boys and ends with Levie.

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For the full Charlie Rose interview, click here.

I’ll start with my progress on BOX. The Charlie Rose interview is spectacular. I’ve listened to many CEOs. At 29, just turned 30, this man is one of the most impressive I’ve ever heard.

Then there’s his company. Imagine you’re running a group of 20 people. You all create documents which need to be stored and shared, and synced between everyone (so everyone works on the latest version). That’s what BOX and a zillion other companies — like Dropbox, Google, Microsoft — do. BOX adds security, so others can’t peek at your docs.  I have not tried BOX. But I have read reviews by the computer trade press:

InforWorld wrote:

In this article we’ll look at five enterprise-level file sync and sharing services (Box, Dropbox, Egnyte, Citrix’s ShareFile, and EMC’s Syncplicity), as well as one system you deploy on your own hardware (OwnCloud). What we found is heartening. There really is a storage service for just about every need.

…It may come as no surprise that Box is the leading contender in this space. Its feature set and third-party integrations rise above the rest, and it offers some of the most granular reporting, permissions, and user management features of any competing service.

You can read the rest of the review here.

I spent much of the weekend reading about BOX. Sentences I liked:

+ When you install Box, the program creates a new folder on your computer, and everything you put into that folder syncs across all the devices where you’ve also installed the Box app. You can drag and drop entire folder structures into the folder, and all the contents will sync. End of story.

+ When Box is active (on your device –laptop, phone, tablet, etc.) , you’ll see icons indicating whether syncing is in progress or whether it has completed. If your device is offline, Box will wait until the next time the device connects, and it will sync all your changes then.

There are a couple more pieces really worth reading also:

TechCrunch’s Box CEO Aaron Levie Talks IPO Delay And Growth Strategies.

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From TechCrunch:

Aaron Levie just turned 30 at the end of last year, yet he’s been at the helm of Box for almost a decade. The company he launched in a dorm room with co-founder and childhood friend Dylan Smith in 2005 went public earlier this year, a process that ended up taking so long, it proved almost anticlimactic.

Regardless, Levie didn’t have much time to savor the moment. He told TechCrunch in a wide-ranging interview last month that Box has no intention of standing still and he discussed his plans to keep the company growing, while trying to find ways to get more efficient. He also talked about the long road to IPO and what was behind Box’s thinking in delaying it for so long.

One of the key strategies moving forward appears to be around the Box for Industries initiative announced at BoxWorks, the company’s customer conference last fall. The idea is that Box will act as a central repository for content, and partners with domain expertise will build a set of tools on top of Box. The tools will change, depending on the industry, but Box will always sit at the center.

That takes advantage of Box’s strength as a development platform and gives it a chance to manage content across a range of industries in which it might have had difficulty gaining traction. It also provides a potential path to continued growth.

For the full TechCrunch piece, click here.

The last piece you need to read is from yesterday’s New York Times, “Secrecy on the Set: Hollywood Embraces Digital Security.” It’s a story about how Hollywood is now obsessed with protecting its material –chiefly as a result of North Korea hacking into Sony. In the piece:

Mr. Levie said Box, which already stores vast amounts of data for businesses, has been investing in new tools that allow owners to control who can view their data and on what devices. It also manages who can edit material and even how long they can do it. Mr. Levie said the company would start adding invisible watermarking to files this spring.

You can read the full article here.

Box is losing money, but increasing its sales dramatically. I have no idea when it will make money — if it ever will. To me there are three upsides: First, it’s cheap. Market cap is just over $2 billion. Someone will buy it. Second, it’s in the right place at the right time. Third, you can’t go wrong buying impressive CEOS. (There are so few of them.) You can read more on Box’s own site — Box.com.

Things I learned on the weekend:

+ You need a chest x-ray — even if you’ve never smoked.

+ You need to visit a dermatologist — even if you’ve never been in the sun.

+ You don’t need to buy Office 2013, especially if you’re using Office 2010.

+ Family is best.

HarryNewton
Harry Newton, who took a few days off to be with Michael, Anne and Eleanor. Eleanor (15 months) can walk, and sort of talk. Amazing how much progress a baby makes in a few days.