(Founder Stories) Houston On Pitching Dropbox: “Tom Cruise In Minority Report Is Not Carrying Around A Thumb Drive”

Dropbox co-founder, Drew Houston recently sat down with TechCrunch Editor, Erick Schonfeld to discuss the origins of Dropbox – a service that allows users to upload and access their files from virtually any device, anywhere. With $250-million in funding and 45-million users, Dropbox is shaking up the world of digital storage.

The roots of Dropbox were planted when Houston was a student at MIT. “You could sit down at any of tens-of-thousands of computers on campus and not only your files but your whole environment was just in front of you and kind of followed you around.” Then graduation hit and Houston says he was thrown “back to the stone age.” He had just launched a company but didn’t feel secure carrying it around in his jeans on a thumb drive.

Solving his own issue, Houston created Dropbox and pitched it to Y Combinator with the premise that “Tom Cruise in Minority Report is not carrying around a thumb drive.”

He was accepted.

Below, Houston briefly describes how he tested Dropbox – without actually releasing Dropbox. It’s a strategy Eric Ries recently wrote about on TechCrunch. 

Aware that releasing a flawed beta would result in customer backlash, Houston made and posted a video describing his software. “It turns out we got the same feedback from all of our prospective users that we would have gotten from putting code in their hands, except it was a ton less effort.”

Speaking of feedback, when asked about the “file folder structure” of Dropbox, which was created before the iPad, Houston says Dropbox will apply a “post-PC non-file and folder centric approach to everything” it does.

Make sure to check out the full video for additional insights.

Past episodes of Founder Stories, featuring conversations with Eric Ries, Scott Heiferman, and Fred Wilson are here.

Episode II of this interview is coming up.