Tips for Modern Life

Dropbox and Uber are worth billions but are very fragile

In an interview with WIRED this past fall, Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston acknowledged that his company has almost no margin for error. If Dropbox accidentally destroyed just one person’s file, he said, it could erode the trust of all its users. “This is like the same sort of genre of problem as the code that you use to fly an airplane. Even if it’s a little bug, it’s a big problem.”

The risk for Dropbox is that at its core, it essentially does only one thing: It syncs your files across all your devices. On the one hand, this single-mindedness has brought Dropbox its tremendous success. Founded in 2007, the company concentrates on doing thing and doing it well. But that strength is also its greatest vulnerability — Dropbox is not diversified. Many other companies large and small now offer much the same service. If Dropbox loses your trust by messing up the one thing you thought it did best, you could easily switch your allegiance to another company.

Uber, the ride-sharing startup, is facing its own moment of crisis. Over the past months, many people — and many news stories — have complained about the company’s “surge pricing,” where it raises fares during times when lots of people want a ride, such as during snowstorms and over holidays. Now, a different kind of anger has surfaced: Paris-based blog Rude Baguette reports that, in France, protestors are attacking Uber cars, throwing eggs, slashing tires, and breaking windows. Uber confirmed the attacks.

~ Marcus Wohlsen Wired.com


Better think about expanding into other services or merge with one of the really BIG guys.

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