For Box to build the best mobile apps and cultivate a vast ecosystem of mobile partners, it is important that we hire that best talent. That is why I am pleased to welcome aboard David Still on the executive team as VP of Mobile Products. David will be responsible for product management for mobile, but will also be spending a considerable amount of time working across all teams to help drive a cohesive, holistic mobile strategy for Box. I asked him a few questions to learn more about his background and get insight into his goals for Box.
Chris Yeh: You have a long history building mobile strategies for various technology vendors. From your perspective, how has the industry evolved?
David Still: I moved into the Yahoo! Mobile group in 2000, where we were putting Yahoo! content (e.g. email, news, weather, etc.) on feature phones, via WAP pages, on extremely slow networks. I was convinced that mobile was going to be huge, particularly since every year back then was coined 'the year of mobile.' I was of course totally wrong until 2007, when the iPhone arrived and changed everything. It sounds pretty obvious now, but when Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, he called it "not just a communication tool, but a way of life." It has been a lot more fun to work in the mobile space since then, and now everyone has their device with them at all times. It has also been a lot of fun to see mobile applications turn almost into an art form with the focus on building simple, elegant, and visually beautiful applications.
Chris Yeh: Where do you think enterprise mobility is headed? What’s top of mind for you?
David Still: I have always been really intrigued by working on the ‘one source of truth’ concept – the ability to access a common source of personal information, preferences and content from any device. Ubiquitous smartphone adoption has already happened, and it is now old news. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how rapid the BYOD trend was 'accepted' by companies, as we are right in the midst of a significant transition from having mobile become a secondary device to being the primary device. I had dinner with a friend last night who is an investor that travels all over the world meeting with companies – he told me that Box enables him to work effectively from his iPad and iPhone without even bringing his laptop. That's pretty cool.
Chris Yeh: Why did you decide to join the Box team? What are your short and long term goals for Box’s mobile strategy?
David Still: When I left Skype, the three main criteria that I set for my next role were: 1) I wanted to be at a company where mobile was at the core of the company's strategy and future success, 2) I wanted to work in a company that had the opportunity for massive scale, and 3) I wanted to work on a product that had the potential for hyper-growth. I really felt like Box hit on all three.
At Box, we are going 'back to basics' on the product side. In the short-term, we are looking extremely hard at how we simplify our product, make it easier to tackle the core use cases, and bring some elegance and visual beauty back into the mix. We acquired an amazing company called Folders, with an extremely talented founder, and we are very hard at work bringing the latest version of Box for iOS to market later this year. It is a really exciting foundation for our future user experience, and sets the bar extremely high.
We are planning for a world where mobile devices (tablets, in particular) are the primary devices for a large percentage of the workforce. And finally, we are setting the high bar for UI. If we want users to use our products, they have to be as simple, elegant, and pleasing to use as the best consumer apps.
Chris Yeh: Why is the Box platform critical for driving mobile adoption? How do you encourage developers to build the next generation of mobile application Box?
David Still: At the core of Box is content. There is an endless set of really interesting services that could be created to access this content. Box simply doesn't have the time, resources, or vertical industry knowledge to create an app for every use-case that we'd want to cover. So, we wanted to create an ecosystem in which we could encourage third-party application providers to use the Box platform underneath, and provide a limitless array of functionality. We still have a lot of work to do, but OneCloud is a great start to making this happen.
You can learn more about all the exciting projects that David and his team are working on to help our customers become more mobile using Box by attending BoxWorks from September 15-17 in San Francisco.