Week 3 Entrepreneurship Assignment

Description

NO PLAGIARISM!!!

Read the Box, Inc. case study (end of chapter 7). Answer these questions:

  1. Will Aaron be the next Bill Gates of flame out before Box can become profitable and really large?
  2. What is the culture of the company?
  3. What accounts for it being so open and freewheeling?
  4. How does the culture reflect the four founders, their history together, their ages, the culture of Silicon Valley, etc.?


Make sure paper body starts with a summary where there is a statement of thesis (overview of the points to be made), continues with a discussion (or specific answers to specific questions), and ends with a conclusion. The five specific questions should be annotated and have specific answers. Please double space—it’s easier for the grader to make comments.

All papers should be written in the third person (he, he, it, and they). Make every effort not to shift to second person (you, your) as in, “When starting a company you need money.” Try to avoid shifting to the first person (I, we) as well. It is distracting to the reader and bad style to shift persons in a paper—students often do it in the middle of a sentence.


The requirements below must be met for your paper to be accepted and graded:

  • Write between 750 – 1,250 words (approximately 3 – 5 pages) using Microsoft Word in APA style, see example below.
  • Use font size 12 and 1” margins.
  • Include cover page and reference page.
  • At least 80% of your paper must be original content/writing.
  • No more than 20% of your content/information may come from references.
  • Use at least three references from outside the course material, one reference must be from EBSCOhost. Text book, lectures, and other materials in the course may be used, but are not counted toward the three reference requirement.
  • Cite all reference material (data, dates, graphs, quotes, paraphrased words, values, etc.) in the paper and list on a reference page in APA style.

References must come from sources such as, scholarly journals found in EBSCOhost, CNN, online newspapers such as, The Wall Street Journal, government websites, etc. Sources such as, Wikis, Yahoo Answers, eHow, blogs, etc. are not acceptable for academic writing.

254 CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
CASE
CASE
Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in
Growing Company
a
Rapidly
ER
growing form: how to preserve the culture and agility of a startup while expanding
The top executive team at Box was yet again discussing a continuing critical issue to the
1,000 employees at locations in San Francisco, London, and Paris as well as he
in Los Altos, California. The culture at headquarters was similar to that of the
Startups in Silicon Valley: hard-working, rapid-acting personally accountable,
con
collaborative with its own special characteristics. Co-founders Aaron Levit. 29.
auce behind their success. They talked about it frequently with each other and
Smith, 28. with Chief Operating Officer Dan Levin, 50, believed it critical to preserve the
employees. They were determined not to let continued growth in a potentially hoge made
economically. They understood their close working relationship was unusual in a top
be crimped by becoming overly bureaucratic or harmed by failure to execute consistently s
especially one with the individual brilliance and industry visibility of Levie combined with the
open, collaborative way all three worked together. This style permeated the company, yet the
knew it might not easily scale. What would it take? (See Exhibit 7.1 for executive backgrounde
EXHIBIT 7.1 Background of Executives
Name Role
Age Joined History
Link to Aaron
Aaron Levie Co-founder/CEO, the 29 2005 Studied business at the Marshall
visionary behind Box’s
School of Business at the University of
product and platform
Southern California before taking a
strategy focused on
leave of absence; created Box as a
incorporating the best of
college business project with the goal
traditional content
of helping people easily access their
management with the
information from any location, Box was
most effective elements of
launched from Aaron’s dorm room in
social business software.
2005 with the help of CFO Dylan Smith.
Sam Ghods Vice President of
28 2008 Attended University of Southern
Know Aaron, Dylan, and
Technology, manages
Calfornia, where he studied computer
Jeff from high school
design and architecture of
engineering and computer science for
Box’s application and
two years before joining Box. Learned
technology stack.
much of the relevant coding from
online learning: -70% of what I learned
was from the Internet.
Dan Levin
Соо
50
2010
Bachelor’s in applications of computer
graphics to statistical data analysis,
Princeton University
Consultant to Box then
hired as COO to manag
internal operations
Dylan Smith
28
2005
Chief Financial Officer and
co-founder of Box, where
he loads finance, Investor
relations, and other
miscellaneous operations.
Bachelor’s in economics from Duke
University. Prior to Box, Dylan spent his
time earring Box’s seed funding
through various entrepreneurial
endeavors (especially playing pokert).
Friends with Aaron sing
junior high
Source: Company website and interviews.
This case was written by Alan R. Cober. Copyrigh
Hege 2015
Cater Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture In a Rapidly growing Company | 265
wako and Nature growth remains our top priority.
meno sense lor Box and the market. A singinoomnes
EXHIBIT 2-2
Financials from 2011 to 3rd Quarter 2014
One Month
Three Months
Year Ended Ended Year Ended Year Ended
December 31, January 31, January 31, January 31.
Ended April 30.
2011
2012 2013 2014 2013 2014
in thousands, except per share data)
(unaudited)
$
21,094
6,873
14.211
3,376 S
050
2,526
58,797 5
14,280
44,517
124.192
25.074
98.218
$ 23,414 45,330
4.561 3,228
18.053 20,102
Contated Statement of
Operation Date: )
ve
Cost of me
Go proft
Operating experts
Pench and development)
Sales and marketing
Gewal and administrativa)
To operating expenses
Los from operations
Pressurement of redeemable
convertible preferred stock
36,189
13.30
64,065
1.915
4,246
1.125
7.286
14.760)
(371)
28,096
90.221
25,429
153.646
(109.12)
(1,727)
46.867
171,188
39,843
256,098
(158,780)
8.477)
9,439
33,896
8.261
51,036
32,789)
1003)
14,898
47.400
11,546
73.884
207
3563
(405
7
27
ma
he
(109)
49
3.705)
26)
(170,008)
9)
(34,039)
38,447
116
(112,504
59
(50,270)
(5,112)
6
2.431)
64
15
1
sloga
me.
the
(5,127)
(50,271)
80
(112,563)
226)
(168,557)
(341)
(34.039) 38,511)
(85)
$ 34,124 $ 38,554)
tornet income expensel.net
One income pensel.net
Loss before provision benefit for
income taxes
Provision benefit for income
taxes
Netloss
Accretion of redeemable
convertible preferred stock
Netloss attributable to common
stockholders
Netloss per share attributable to
common stockholders, basic and
diluted
Weighted average shares used to
compute net loss per share
attributable to common
stockholders, basic and diluted
(50,361) $
15,138) $
th
du
(112,789) $ (168,898)
5
$
(14.89)
$(3.47
(14.88) $
(0.84) $
$9.53) $
2.81)
13,734
11,341
6,099
7.684
9,825
5,284
Source: Graph provided by the company based on company’s SEC sing.
The company continued working hard to build
its beniness. On January 23, 2015, the
IPO took place at an offering price of $14 per share, with an immediate first day price increase
of greater than 60%.
224 CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
Levie’s response was complex
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The Future of Box and the Executive Team:
Go Public or Sell to a Larger Company?
The company now had more than 1,000 employees with offices in London, Tokyo, and To
in addition to headquarters in the Bay Area. Levie and Smith were still having a great time
and thought they were poised to create a much larger enterprise.
Levie commented about Smith. “Dylan is adamant that Box is right to remain fence
independent. We are focused on running a very large independent company. The nature di
our platform means it makes more sense as an independent company. Cloud is such a manie
market and we are just a small part of that. To sell would give away that upside for growth.”
As Levie put it. “This is our life’s work, we’re having a blast, fun every day. As long as
that way, here it is. If someday it gets huge and we are not learning a lot all the time, then….
Not to sell ourselves short, but we have been lucky, We think we can outperform the manie
numbers being thrown at us to buy us out. We risk losing what we have built if we sell out.
In March 2014, Box publicly filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the SEL
Soon after the broader technology sector became volatile, and valuations for cloud based
companies on public markets came down from the record high multiples observed in 2013
and early 2014. Since then, Box had remained on file with the SEC, updating its S-1 with
financial results from the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year, which showed continued even
growth and improving operating margins. Box announced a $150 million investment for
private firms Coatue and TPG Growth. (See Exhibit 7.2 for recent financials.) At the time
Other
LOS E
ne
Provie
ta
Netic
Acer
Net
Net
We
of the announcement and continuing to early 2015, the company remained consistent about
15 Interviews CFO Dylan Smith.” by Richard Crump. Financial Director, November 25, 2013
For comple, Box tumed down a buyout offer of 5600 million from Citrix in 2012.
17 Box Raises $150 Million in Cash and Report 2014 Sales Growth as It Crawls Toward IPO.” For
2014. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2014/07/07/box-raises 150-million-in-cash-and-report 2014
–it-crawl-toward-ipol.
Case: Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in a Rapidly growing Company
Me
dwords them.
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Fragment, and the
Medchal Ferhalb
web www
New Spacery i apo
accountable
rather than
Aurrer ds
Las impound on the organization through his aspiration, as well as his belief that the
are was vast and they had to compete on almost every front. Despite Box being focused
issue, tada
how we
a cam com
with all Boxers
ere ticki vo be
ask new CEO
but after they have
otherwise
ple. There was
simes leftovers se
eded an explanation,
clear everything out a
right.
on balines sdaptacion. Levie insisted that so achieve viral spread, they needed to have
the best possible consumer experience, which meant that using the product had to be
very simple. There were several enterprise competitors such as suite vendos, sophisticated
underresourced for these things. Levie wanted to do everything,
and it was hard to convince him
He became a delicate le lendemam befriw arron
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serly stages. That she went thing for cand people. Her like an elephone charging
through the emai iruintire proper unk Floupe மல்ல சாப்பா
Webined Sam Schillere founder of whare Google docs, consularial
whold to compeni Helade sharp and quick verbally. He conuently
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quarter. He provides conserbal argument and point out made of. We are forcing
made from arou do we work in a larger vitinis Yob, Lading our
pasform product strategisking a more deta driven approach Aaron: “Here are graphe
showing what we alipore. Which are we going to do? Was do all at once, EN
white. It takes those wo, Des, me, the other Sem, to dent him. We have land it is
important daw him out or be doesn’t
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cvie had a large ime
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Ghoda elaborated:
Here is one of our blere people I have ever met. Her har en bakable will to do what he
thies is right. Bonuse of it, we are pushed to our bright and mine some opportunities. He is
redenin, nothing better why he is working with you, butubessagine your position, going
by rate, it is sery hard to work with him. If Aaron has decided are important, you can falt i
you are blue in the face, he will keep poking hole. The problem de peinforcement when he got
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( கரர்பான
| CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
We have
bearesa
or open 10
should the
Brat it is the
reinforce what they wanted the culture to be. Ideas included
Jeff Que
Levie impose
market was v
expense rules.
on business
fostering open disagreement by putting things on the table and working them through.
This created tension because he saw his role as protecting engineers from managers, instead of
Evan Wittenberg, responsible for people development, thought constantly about how to
Using Friday all-hands lunches to reinforce notions of accountability, such as trusting
people to spend company money as if it were their own rather than imposing elaborate
policies. “For example, we had one person who emailed how he influenced each sale.
O Personalizing responses to individuals when there was an issue, rather than making new
end with them. “The non-engineers working here really were tickled to be invited.”
O Running a hackathon. Unlike at many companies, start with all Boxers invited, not just
practices after a month when their perceptions are fresh, but after they have listened and
rules of the refrigerator document sent out because sometimes leftovers smelled. It was
took him aside to tell him that’s not necessary, it is always a team
accomplishment.”
the best pos
very simple.
customers w
underresourd
otherwise.
. . “
punitive/bureaucratic in tone, not collaborative. I said it needed an explanation,
something
we
Friday.’ It takes a lot of reinforcement to keep the culture right.”
He has a
because o
wouldn)
dominan
engineer
scalable
feedback
five on
prioritia
annoyir.
Sol
can’t do
Dealing with Aaron Levie
which
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throug
Wc
entrep
bits Ac
quarta
trade-
platfo
shows
subor
impo
If we
Her
As some may have expected, a forceful co-founder like Aaron Levie had a large impact on the
culture. He consistently made, and was celebrated for, smart strategic choices in an evolving
and rapidly changing technological climate, which he tried to reinforce while not automatically
winning every argument.
Dylan Smith, longtime friend and co-founder, had the closest perspective. Smith had
roomed with Levie during the startup phase when they lived in his parents’ attic, then in
Smith’s uncle’s garage.
Aaron fires people up with vision, potential, disruption in our space. With way-high demands
and expectations, impossible things he aspires to, fanatical focus, and overall energy,
he is
inspirational and gets people excited in all settings
. For nuts and bolts he is rough around the
edges
, but overall someone who is driving the company in innovative space where technology is
evolving so rapidly.
We have remained best friends, can have very honest direct conversations without worrying.
Our vision is the same, but our thought process is very different. Big picture versus what is the
risk and how can we make it less. We both had to evolve how we spend our time. What we see as
our strengths is consistent with eight years ago. It’s mostly clear who would do what. We have
heard horror stories from other companies and partnerships.
It’s the little things that are the hardest to resolve. The website name was one. It was very
expensive to get the name. He was absolutely right
, but I saw it as not mattering, while he
thought the brand was important because it was easy to say and to type. We are very aligned on
resource allocation;
but when we argue, it’s around organization and leadership decisions
. I see
certain gaps; he says, “But they do this so well” and does not see their deficiencies
. When it comes
down to brass tacks, he’s more conflict-avoidant, sees positives in people. I push to replace the
person when he or she is not aligned. The person may not be cancerous, but maybe we are
missing an opportunity.
good
the
Gh
Aa
thi
reld
by
yo:
Vi
PH
254 CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
CASE
CASE
Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in
Growing Company
a
Rapidly
ER
growing form: how to preserve the culture and agility of a startup while expanding
The top executive team at Box was yet again discussing a continuing critical issue to the
1,000 employees at locations in San Francisco, London, and Paris as well as he
in Los Altos, California. The culture at headquarters was similar to that of the
Startups in Silicon Valley: hard-working, rapid-acting personally accountable,
con
collaborative with its own special characteristics. Co-founders Aaron Levit. 29.
auce behind their success. They talked about it frequently with each other and
Smith, 28. with Chief Operating Officer Dan Levin, 50, believed it critical to preserve the
employees. They were determined not to let continued growth in a potentially hoge made
economically. They understood their close working relationship was unusual in a top
be crimped by becoming overly bureaucratic or harmed by failure to execute consistently s
especially one with the individual brilliance and industry visibility of Levie combined with the
open, collaborative way all three worked together. This style permeated the company, yet the
knew it might not easily scale. What would it take? (See Exhibit 7.1 for executive backgrounde
EXHIBIT 7.1 Background of Executives
Name Role
Age Joined History
Link to Aaron
Aaron Levie Co-founder/CEO, the 29 2005 Studied business at the Marshall
visionary behind Box’s
School of Business at the University of
product and platform
Southern California before taking a
strategy focused on
leave of absence; created Box as a
incorporating the best of
college business project with the goal
traditional content
of helping people easily access their
management with the
information from any location, Box was
most effective elements of
launched from Aaron’s dorm room in
social business software.
2005 with the help of CFO Dylan Smith.
Sam Ghods Vice President of
28 2008 Attended University of Southern
Know Aaron, Dylan, and
Technology, manages
Calfornia, where he studied computer
Jeff from high school
design and architecture of
engineering and computer science for
Box’s application and
two years before joining Box. Learned
technology stack.
much of the relevant coding from
online learning: -70% of what I learned
was from the Internet.
Dan Levin
Соо
50
2010
Bachelor’s in applications of computer
graphics to statistical data analysis,
Princeton University
Consultant to Box then
hired as COO to manag
internal operations
Dylan Smith
28
2005
Chief Financial Officer and
co-founder of Box, where
he loads finance, Investor
relations, and other
miscellaneous operations.
Bachelor’s in economics from Duke
University. Prior to Box, Dylan spent his
time earring Box’s seed funding
through various entrepreneurial
endeavors (especially playing pokert).
Friends with Aaron sing
junior high
Source: Company website and interviews.
This case was written by Alan R. Cober. Copyrigh
Hege 2015
Case: Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in a Rapidly Growing Company | 255
Background of Executives
EXHIBIT 7.1
Age Joined
Role
Name
28
2006
Link to Aaron
Jeff
Queisser
Vice President of
Technical Operations,
responsible for Box’s
core technology,
architecture, and
infrastructure.
Joined History
Became interested in computer
programming at a young age, selling
his first software at the age of 10, later
formed Q-Squared, a successful IT
consulting company based in Seattle,
Attended Western Washington
University before leaving to
2n, an
“Originally from Seattle
suburb. In fourth grade
new kid on block, Aaron,
around the corner. We
became fast friends.
Varied interests. He was
magician, making good
money on magic shows.
I was the nerd (a plus).
Learned Basic.”
join Box.
Dylan
e secret
mpat
45
2012
are
y and
team,
Evan
Wittenberg
VP of People, leads a
team that finds,
develops, and retains the
company’s world-class
talent while maintaining
the unique culture.
Went to graduate school
and worked at Google
with Box’s SVP of
Marketing before being
recruited.
nos.
MBA with Honors from Wharton, BA
with Distinction in Psychology and
English Literature from Swarthmore
College. Hewlett-Packard’s Chief
Talent Officer responsible for a global
workforce of 350,000 employees.
Before HP, created and ran the
Global Leadership Development
function at Google. Previously,
Director of the Graduate Leadership
Program at the Wharton School.
45
2012
Sam
Schillace
Sr. VP Engineering,
responsible for the
engineering and QA
teams.
Co-founded Writely, which he sold to
Google in 2006 to form the core of
Google Docs. Sr. VP Engineering,
Google, elsewhere. Bachelor’s,
master’s degrees in mathematics
from University of Michigan.
Close friend and
colleague of Box COO
Dan Levin; recruited from
Google Ventures to lead
Box Engineering.
34
2008
Greg
Strickland
Vice President of
International.
Was Box’s VP of Business
Operations, responsible for financial
analysis, accounting, human
resources, operations, strategic
initiatives, and assisting with
fund-raising. Bachelor’s degree from
University of California at Berkeley.
Early Box employee and
self-described
jack-of-all-trades,
Strickland MC’d
company’s Friday lunch
all-hands and led
operations and
expansion for Box in new
offices and in
international markets
such as London.
44
2011
Chris Yeh
Sr. VP Product and
Platform.
Came from Yahoo, where he was
product lead for Yahoo! Groups,
Delicious, and Tacit Software, Mercer
Management Consulting. BS in
Computer Science from University of
Michigan and MBA Wharton.
Recruited from Yahoo!
by Dan and Aaron to
grow Box’s developer
community and platform
strategy, eventually
tapped to head both
product and platform
organizations.
Source: Company website and interviews.
Company Background
in Ouro
ofera
They
ther locata
» 1
Smith wo:
content ridiculously easy.
am belia
technolog
They wan
various
Smith
Box, Inc. was founded in 2005 to create software technology for business that would
facilitate collaboration across multiple platforms with security. The company motto was
Simple, Secure Sharing from Anywhere. CEO Aaron Levie stated publicly, “As we bring Box to
more organizations, our mission remains the same: to make sharing, accessing, and managing
Levie and Smith had been friends since junior high school and had discussed
businesses. The idea of creating ways to collaborate from any device was the first that
gor it in fr
with both of them. They knew their own problems with doing work, sharing files, and
Another friend, Jeff Queisser,2 who was also in constant discussion about business ideas,
information and thought their concept could do a better job than anything that existed.
I started a computer consulting business in the sixth grade. Aaron was a magician, and I was
doing audiovisual at his magic shows. He and I were talking about business paths, and he was
considering what domains to buy. They were all abject failures and flawed, but a good learning
described the history of their friendship.
which sep
build the
became pa
they woul
not work
for Droph
and Box’s
In ret
phase. Dylan was in the same school district, then Sam Ghods, now vice president of technology
at Box, managing the design and architecture of Box’s application and technology stack, moved
into the neighborhood during high school
. Aaron was applying to film school and convinced the
four of us to join in writing and scoring his movie. It turned out to be like a test run for the four
of us working together. We did it all and charged friends to see the movie. We earned the grand
total of $15, but at least it wasn’t a loss.
As 19.
there
runni
turned
figuring
experi
just h
persor
buy o
The four went to different colleges. Levie had rights to the name Box.com and was
out what to do with it. He decided to create a company and hired low-cost programmers
abroad. With no notable competitors, people started paying him for service; there was no
concept at the time of freemium to get people interested.
Levie was stepping out of entrepreneurship classes to answer customer calls on his cell
phone. Because the concept was attractive, he decided to drop out of school and convinced
Smith to do so as well to handle finances. They moved to Berkeley and set up shop in the
garage of Levie’s uncle. Next they convinced Jeff Queisser and Sam Ghods to drop out and
join them. These four became the core group of the business. 4
Smith added more details.
The company was built over time, and we were having so much fun that we would rather work
on Box than classes. We took a summer break and managed to raise money from Mark Cuban
Smit
should ha
rather of
work cro:
success to
Aaro
to pre
miles
espec
proa
Dan
easy-to-use
if we
1 http://www.iposcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3605&Itemid=191, accessed February
2015. The formal description from the SEC S-1 amended registration document: “Box provides a cloud-based,
mobile-optimized Enterprise Content Collaboration platform that enables organizations of all sizes to easily and securely
manage their content and collaborate internally and externally. Our platform combines powerful, elegant and
functionality that is designed for users with the security, scalability and administrative controls required by IT
departments. We have built our platform to enable users to get their work done regardless of file format
, application
environment, operating system, device or location. Our mission is to make organizations more productive, competitive
and collaborative by connecting people and their most important information.
2 Jeff Queisser subsequently became vice president of technical operations at Box, responsible for core technology,
>
architecture, and infrastructure.
The
4
was coined in 2006 or 2007.
For more company history, see:
dollar-business/.
to with
wundes
a product was given away to build a user base, and better (Premium) versions were made available for sale. The actual term
3 Freemium, a combination of the words free and premium, was a concept developed in the 1980s for software. A version of
: http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/13/box-the-path-from-arringtons-backyard-to-a-billion
potled
Cases Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in a Rapidly growing Comp 257
ye
& pubby
old
Nice was the
ove, wo
an
for rent in February 2005
www
Ang Cute and
They found it a challenge to identify the right technical people. Through school friends,
they located a firm abroad that had done similar work. Levie drove the programming, and
Smith worked on a business model. Non-technical issues were the biggest challenge, as the
om believed they were in massive market and had to hgure out how to make their
technology known to others. They were certain their was easier to than iting sowie
Smith explained, We decided to launch a free service, at the time a very innovative model
secologia
a mapicando
is one
sued, but
e president of the
chool and
ke a testben
We
Bos.com
ed low.com
Tot service
They wanted to determine how to be disruptive and get noticed.
pot it in front of many people benches from Mark Cuban they could do it, then upsell.
which separated them from the competition. They had a dedicated platform team and could
became part of their value proposition because the IT environment was emerging rapidly, and
no working
with enterprise-grade partners. The Box team thought it would be challenging
and Box’s relationships
with companies such as Netsuite, Oracle, and salesforce.com.
In retrospect, Smith saw things they would change if they could do it over.
As 19-20.marliying to figure out how to do it, we were wow. A couple of years in
there were about a dozen of we before we hind our finner 30-year-old Karen Appleton,
passing our alliances and now business development. With the right arrides and respect, age
window nor to be an uw, and our concerns were focally founded. We didn’t have the
esperience perse, but it came manually, inutilling the where we wird nor consciously. We
jur kind really smere people, selfsorters and see them loose. We hired for non-negotiable
perly traits and experime do shey buy is believe in a way thinking creatively, and
buy or direction? Had we done it earlier we wwwlue creided make
Smith acknowledged that they had to get rid of some without management experience and
and set up should have done so sooner. He thought problems were rarely a function of actual skills, but
work cross-functionally, or were not good communicators. He attributed Box senior executive
success to his and Levie’s natural talents, with important contributions from COO Dan Levin.
Malar Aaron is a phenomenal leader, and more interested in managing We do well, stepping back
Martie to precruber is going on. This allowed us to think about things. Bringing in Den we
milestone to build a billion-doller company and and I are totally gwr, both oracio maders,
specially carly on when we didn’t know cosctly what we were doing. We mached our
pructively for help. We hired smart people who wr liked working with and went from there.
Dan bend determining a specific profile. There se identified perfect candidates and would see
if we could get them.
Customer
of school and
Ghods to rather of not hiring to their cultural standards: misfits” weren’t proactive enough, or didn’t
ac
alk
e For The Culture
As with all young companies, the emergent culture reflected the values and styles of the
founders
. Levie, the face of the company and highly visible in the tech community
, was
profiled often. For example, in an article accompanying his selection as entrepreneur of the
Jer in 2013 by Inc. magazine, Eric Markowitz wrote: “He possesses the sort of wisdom
nequine, “Don’t Bet Against Aaron Levic.” Eric Markowia, December-January 2013
CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
lo
He’s a larger-than-life character.”
and focus you’d expect of an industry guru, but he acts with the 24/7 obsession of
for five minutes, and he says something funny and something smart and something
start-up founder. Give him 10 minutes, and he will make you a believer. Yosilk with
The rigorous hiring process that evolved from early mistakes, in which cultural
important a criterion as specific knowledge and skills, led to a list of company valots the
core beliefs of the co-founders and their first employees.
BOX VALUES
Believe your epic ideas are possible.
We hire the best trust each other.
Blow our customer’s minds in everything we do.
Take risks. Fail fast. (Get Shit Done!)
Bring your wacky self to work, every day.
✓ Think 10x.
✓ Make mom proud.
Think big trust and therefore collaborate act quickly and learn from its have fun wide
doing it-all were serious themes that played out repeatedly, Dan Levin believed it unique
to have a company where people were anti-hierarchical, inclusive of youth and
experience
speedy, and where they had fun and embodied operational excellence.?
Jeff Queisser filled in the history.
Brow we were four friends, independently smart and morated, we tried to stay objective and
normational though there hat sometimer. We sper, but in an intellectually productive
wwy. We all lived together, so spent all our free time together. Aaron and Dylan woull fight for
an bour on what movie and dinner to go to. We made a bunch of hiring mistakes with people
who didn’t fit, nor browser they were hierarchical and milf, but, for comple, they wanted to be
hippies and met work hard consistently. Eventually, trial and error led to a solid rubric for
bining the right people. We dides appreciate the value of experience wil Der; we didn’t get
bowlable ir could be so he someone who had done something before. We worked in a
single comunaleffi o aratone of us win every important conversation. When we w
to sombere bere 50 and 300 people and it gor harder, se realized we liked what we had
so wrote down Box values, still going. We started to think how to preme, transmit, and
amplify the culture. We hired Greg Strickland, who had tried stand-up comedy on the side,
publicly interview abbire, Where
created a swekly Friday company lunch where he would MC He’sery sarcastic and would
you think about peers, your manager?” It
awkward but a great equalizer, and we knew everyone who come in, which was a great
besch, but it’s not so much fun.
unifying force. These too many per werk were being hired, and it got too big. We still do Friday
To get a sense of Lee’s rapid und energetic wylo to
Hepww.inc.com/malachiopodium-lift-bulding box and love.html. He talks about a wumber of themes in the
che il ure ville manifestations of the culture
1 ур.
care and show the informality at Berheadquare Some details, tot in the video, lached the large pallide that
descends from the second floor into the lobby the lack of private office for your induding executive informal de
Induding Levi’s trademark red sneakers worn with black and open collanting to scooters widespread
availability of food and drinks freelach day the company doled videogame: the art for watching TV playing
For los comentes the culture hopenmedia.com/
Company Background
in Ouro
ofera
They
ther locata
» 1
Smith wo:
content ridiculously easy.
am belia
technolog
They wan
various
Smith
Box, Inc. was founded in 2005 to create software technology for business that would
facilitate collaboration across multiple platforms with security. The company motto was
Simple, Secure Sharing from Anywhere. CEO Aaron Levie stated publicly, “As we bring Box to
more organizations, our mission remains the same: to make sharing, accessing, and managing
Levie and Smith had been friends since junior high school and had discussed
businesses. The idea of creating ways to collaborate from any device was the first that
gor it in fr
with both of them. They knew their own problems with doing work, sharing files, and
Another friend, Jeff Queisser,2 who was also in constant discussion about business ideas,
information and thought their concept could do a better job than anything that existed.
I started a computer consulting business in the sixth grade. Aaron was a magician, and I was
doing audiovisual at his magic shows. He and I were talking about business paths, and he was
considering what domains to buy. They were all abject failures and flawed, but a good learning
described the history of their friendship.
which sep
build the
became pa
they woul
not work
for Droph
and Box’s
In ret
phase. Dylan was in the same school district, then Sam Ghods, now vice president of technology
at Box, managing the design and architecture of Box’s application and technology stack, moved
into the neighborhood during high school
. Aaron was applying to film school and convinced the
four of us to join in writing and scoring his movie. It turned out to be like a test run for the four
of us working together. We did it all and charged friends to see the movie. We earned the grand
total of $15, but at least it wasn’t a loss.
As 19.
there
runni
turned
figuring
experi
just h
persor
buy o
The four went to different colleges. Levie had rights to the name Box.com and was
out what to do with it. He decided to create a company and hired low-cost programmers
abroad. With no notable competitors, people started paying him for service; there was no
concept at the time of freemium to get people interested.
Levie was stepping out of entrepreneurship classes to answer customer calls on his cell
phone. Because the concept was attractive, he decided to drop out of school and convinced
Smith to do so as well to handle finances. They moved to Berkeley and set up shop in the
garage of Levie’s uncle. Next they convinced Jeff Queisser and Sam Ghods to drop out and
join them. These four became the core group of the business. 4
Smith added more details.
The company was built over time, and we were having so much fun that we would rather work
on Box than classes. We took a summer break and managed to raise money from Mark Cuban
Smit
should ha
rather of
work cro:
success to
Aaro
to pre
miles
espec
proa
Dan
easy-to-use
if we
1 http://www.iposcoop.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3605&Itemid=191, accessed February
2015. The formal description from the SEC S-1 amended registration document: “Box provides a cloud-based,
mobile-optimized Enterprise Content Collaboration platform that enables organizations of all sizes to easily and securely
manage their content and collaborate internally and externally. Our platform combines powerful, elegant and
functionality that is designed for users with the security, scalability and administrative controls required by IT
departments. We have built our platform to enable users to get their work done regardless of file format
, application
environment, operating system, device or location. Our mission is to make organizations more productive, competitive
and collaborative by connecting people and their most important information.
2 Jeff Queisser subsequently became vice president of technical operations at Box, responsible for core technology,
>
architecture, and infrastructure.
The
4
was coined in 2006 or 2007.
For more company history, see:
dollar-business/.
to with
wundes
a product was given away to build a user base, and better (Premium) versions were made available for sale. The actual term
3 Freemium, a combination of the words free and premium, was a concept developed in the 1980s for software. A version of
: http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/13/box-the-path-from-arringtons-backyard-to-a-billion
potled
Cases Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in a Rapidly growing Comp 257
ye
& pubby
old
Nice was the
ove, wo
an
for rent in February 2005
www
Ang Cute and
They found it a challenge to identify the right technical people. Through school friends,
they located a firm abroad that had done similar work. Levie drove the programming, and
Smith worked on a business model. Non-technical issues were the biggest challenge, as the
om believed they were in massive market and had to hgure out how to make their
technology known to others. They were certain their was easier to than iting sowie
Smith explained, We decided to launch a free service, at the time a very innovative model
secologia
a mapicando
is one
sued, but
e president of the
chool and
ke a testben
We
Bos.com
ed low.com
Tot service
They wanted to determine how to be disruptive and get noticed.
pot it in front of many people benches from Mark Cuban they could do it, then upsell.
which separated them from the competition. They had a dedicated platform team and could
became part of their value proposition because the IT environment was emerging rapidly, and
no working
with enterprise-grade partners. The Box team thought it would be challenging
and Box’s relationships
with companies such as Netsuite, Oracle, and salesforce.com.
In retrospect, Smith saw things they would change if they could do it over.
As 19-20.marliying to figure out how to do it, we were wow. A couple of years in
there were about a dozen of we before we hind our finner 30-year-old Karen Appleton,
passing our alliances and now business development. With the right arrides and respect, age
window nor to be an uw, and our concerns were focally founded. We didn’t have the
esperience perse, but it came manually, inutilling the where we wird nor consciously. We
jur kind really smere people, selfsorters and see them loose. We hired for non-negotiable
perly traits and experime do shey buy is believe in a way thinking creatively, and
buy or direction? Had we done it earlier we wwwlue creided make
Smith acknowledged that they had to get rid of some without management experience and
and set up should have done so sooner. He thought problems were rarely a function of actual skills, but
work cross-functionally, or were not good communicators. He attributed Box senior executive
success to his and Levie’s natural talents, with important contributions from COO Dan Levin.
Malar Aaron is a phenomenal leader, and more interested in managing We do well, stepping back
Martie to precruber is going on. This allowed us to think about things. Bringing in Den we
milestone to build a billion-doller company and and I are totally gwr, both oracio maders,
specially carly on when we didn’t know cosctly what we were doing. We mached our
pructively for help. We hired smart people who wr liked working with and went from there.
Dan bend determining a specific profile. There se identified perfect candidates and would see
if we could get them.
Customer
of school and
Ghods to rather of not hiring to their cultural standards: misfits” weren’t proactive enough, or didn’t
ac
alk
e For The Culture
As with all young companies, the emergent culture reflected the values and styles of the
founders
. Levie, the face of the company and highly visible in the tech community
, was
profiled often. For example, in an article accompanying his selection as entrepreneur of the
Jer in 2013 by Inc. magazine, Eric Markowitz wrote: “He possesses the sort of wisdom
nequine, “Don’t Bet Against Aaron Levic.” Eric Markowia, December-January 2013
CHAPTER 7 | Building the Founding Team
lo
He’s a larger-than-life character.”
and focus you’d expect of an industry guru, but he acts with the 24/7 obsession of
for five minutes, and he says something funny and something smart and something
start-up founder. Give him 10 minutes, and he will make you a believer. Yosilk with
The rigorous hiring process that evolved from early mistakes, in which cultural
important a criterion as specific knowledge and skills, led to a list of company valots the
core beliefs of the co-founders and their first employees.
BOX VALUES
Believe your epic ideas are possible.
We hire the best trust each other.
Blow our customer’s minds in everything we do.
Take risks. Fail fast. (Get Shit Done!)
Bring your wacky self to work, every day.
✓ Think 10x.
✓ Make mom proud.
Think big trust and therefore collaborate act quickly and learn from its have fun wide
doing it-all were serious themes that played out repeatedly, Dan Levin believed it unique
to have a company where people were anti-hierarchical, inclusive of youth and
experience
speedy, and where they had fun and embodied operational excellence.?
Jeff Queisser filled in the history.
Brow we were four friends, independently smart and morated, we tried to stay objective and
normational though there hat sometimer. We sper, but in an intellectually productive
wwy. We all lived together, so spent all our free time together. Aaron and Dylan woull fight for
an bour on what movie and dinner to go to. We made a bunch of hiring mistakes with people
who didn’t fit, nor browser they were hierarchical and milf, but, for comple, they wanted to be
hippies and met work hard consistently. Eventually, trial and error led to a solid rubric for
bining the right people. We dides appreciate the value of experience wil Der; we didn’t get
bowlable ir could be so he someone who had done something before. We worked in a
single comunaleffi o aratone of us win every important conversation. When we w
to sombere bere 50 and 300 people and it gor harder, se realized we liked what we had
so wrote down Box values, still going. We started to think how to preme, transmit, and
amplify the culture. We hired Greg Strickland, who had tried stand-up comedy on the side,
publicly interview abbire, Where
created a swekly Friday company lunch where he would MC He’sery sarcastic and would
you think about peers, your manager?” It
awkward but a great equalizer, and we knew everyone who come in, which was a great
besch, but it’s not so much fun.
unifying force. These too many per werk were being hired, and it got too big. We still do Friday
To get a sense of Lee’s rapid und energetic wylo to
Hepww.inc.com/malachiopodium-lift-bulding box and love.html. He talks about a wumber of themes in the
che il ure ville manifestations of the culture
1 ур.
care and show the informality at Berheadquare Some details, tot in the video, lached the large pallide that
descends from the second floor into the lobby the lack of private office for your induding executive informal de
Induding Levi’s trademark red sneakers worn with black and open collanting to scooters widespread
availability of food and drinks freelach day the company doled videogame: the art for watching TV playing
For los comentes the culture hopenmedia.com/
Case: Box, Inc.: Preserving Startup Culture in a Comeny 299
C. YOU
dossono
wany VA
Alich bei
WE Smith on hinance and Levin on operations and organization.
Larangy believed the company style worked because of the unalo
od wyle of working at the top. He focused on how to approach the end
There is a friend of a perspective and approaches
Her er blevet her known Dylan 15 16 year, which is already
vw Topic driven by Pretons compilarity
Modrywidthwebe. There is a deep level of truth
Ada bere burua
weer
who
wurde er der well with vard
Gde to the right law of products. Dan
TOPS navy He then senting to
Sthan my sme time to
fon der
en werking where he was best
Living down for me. I motsed
aaraaneer காளmai atairs
in me pron.
Ne nader where these thing. I dont have
Urheber arbete hours per week on decisional algement. There are 3%
differens operation cache lime, only masem, but they meste. Or a few months of a
esco, is gewone. We are perfect as it, but we pred me on it. Even when we
hne e differenser af opinion, or de mer express there others. We just have to review it and alter
ni; bave fun
believed
ath and we
objective and
reductive
sufiger for
with people
ed to be
abric for
2
ding
And in a
en we
W rad
Preserving the Culture through Growth
Bor top management believed they had attracted good people and kept them enthusiastic
about working there. Key factors included the encouragement to dream big, the important
and significant work, the opportunities for everyone to contribute, the presence of smart and
trustworthy colleagues, and inspiring and accessible leadership. Growth, however, presented
new set of challenges.
The addition of more offices, especially in international locations, as well as the sheer
powth of numbers, created challenges. Jeff Queisser described the complexities.
International is challenging. Our approach to starting London office was to send Greg
Strickland as a cultural reference point. Another Britis leading sales there, and they make a
prom. It was intentional to inject the Box culrure. Will we be able to keep it up! Will we
how she right Boxer People rear different size organisations differently. Something changes
bur we don’t know at exactly what size. Where there are 400 to 500 in HQ, and people don
know some of the others, they react differently. Fortunately, it harm’s blowon ap ye. Even being
en muliple floors in the same building is a big difference, and now we have multiple office sites
We have pet done muchisiment in video conferencing, so we are not up to par for
supporting growth
One thing we do is train our managers on the Bax biring bar. New managers take six months
of kicking and screaming because we say no to particular hires they want. Aaron or Dylan have
Wheid
SNV
de Frida
Hot linoiền
picale
degrad
7 pm
map
.
“la 2010, Box was named One of the Best Places to Work by San Francisco and Silicon Valley business Journals and Inc.
London (EMEA HQ): 80; San Francisco 100 (males only): Tokyo: 6.
Approximate employee numbers at year-end 2013: Los Altos (HQ):700, including all engineering and product rearts:
260 CHAPTER 7 Building the Founding Team
4 new we
Magnet
Twin MINI MATIC
di puwedel briefing in her cold
refwand Den
anden
www.
The Juggling Act
excellence. He believed both were possible and necessary for survival.
Smith concer
decisions of the
me new
tinding people wh
www.we need you
what we have to d
Preventing silos
were developin
the team soug
Although Levie was extremely wary of becoming bureaucratic and ossed to
to change in the marker, he did not want to share the need for discipline and
ega e of the words
Topmedya he was write down
on the
wieder before,
we do what
Af you hlynn
Love told MBA students at Stanford, The more you have both of those thing
simultaneously, where you can have the scale of a large company and the operatoru
of a GE but the start-up decision-making speed and agility of a small nimble compte
lect for a mar, you go
.
Now she
Levin emph:
constant develop
companies, such
abant explicit
puting to know
dowledged
la part of
. It’s just that most comme
haven’t thought about it. The problem is you need both.”
We’re al hinking of new things, products, serticals, and so on. Most of the organisatie
ay and lument that we fornly change. Our challenges thar we don’t ist enreg
in what we really care about we do a lot of different things That one of the rest
Inch Industry you have to planta wwwber of sendben a portion of what you plante
work (
way), no have many different things, and invest as they are. Say you beter
of inment areas, if only 30% work, you have one or two that work. If you are free
warna and 30% work, you could have nothing. You have to put feelers out to me
whard, and you can sy in adune. You will to be in position to change rapidly, le
aur beness, say an iPad comes out if you happ mady in three months, you can do well
otherwise not. You can’t stop for efficiency, yet you do have to manage costs and procese.”
e tried to imp
As part of trying to manage this tension over rapid change and efficiency, Levie added don’t get anyt!
hiring world-class people for areas in which the company did not have expertise. He used the your language
example of sales.
that carlier at
Sales and people who are world-cles ar building customer relationships. That is to
I’m still learn
we hoe to hire amating people like Sam Schiller, our chwical leader, who came from Google
Continue
and now VP
des and world-class. You are always hiring people better than yourself Arshe saying gues
hope to build a team you are almost wngual find to be part of you need to
as the bottles
* stop ar nething to get them. Once here, we don’y aluvys agree, which can be confusing
From the video “Me Fal speed: How Bo’s Aaron Levie became Entrepreneur of the Year,” Trep Llie in der Bundle
2013
January 2014
For a technical skece the need for simpacity, speed, and efficiency in a world moving toward mobile un cop
becoming a single platform, and how Box is organised for that. Inside Blou How The Red Hot Enterprise Suur: Up
bolpage2
Thinks and Work: Simon Bioen, Guer, February 10, 2014. hetpewww.citeworld.com/cloud/22958
For more on the importance of and antion paid to bring.se Dun Levin comments
Impelbson.mediapa kaltura.com/mediw Hiring+ar+Box+128347294/05jqmgr.
engecers,
und count
to keep
Hit had to
ha created

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