Box CEO Aaron Levie’s idea to turn an ordinary file-sharing software into the next big collaboration enterprise platform has made him one of the most-watched Valley CEOs in recent years.
Since its founding in 2005, Box has raised over $US564.1 million in funding, which now values the company at roughly $US2.4 billion. Box is expected to go public by early next year.
Although there’s been some concerns around Box’s delayed IPO, there’s no question that Levie’s vision and leadership have made his company one of the hottest startups in the Valley.
We rounded up some of his best quotes from interviews, tweets, and other sources, which will help you better understand his genius mind.
On speed and efficiency: 'I'm obsessed with speed. I'm always asking myself, 'Why can't we do things faster? Why can't it happen more efficiently? Why is this requiring three meetings instead of one?''
On Box's working culture: 'One of our core values is 'Get s*** done.' We have a very execution-oriented culture. … Another one of our values is 'Take risks. Fail fast.' If we fail fast, we can correct mistakes quickly.'
On how startups can compete against big companies: 'The way that startups have to compete against big companies is by focusing on what are the things that the big companies can't do. It is never enough that you are just building a better product, or that you put together some different type of optimization on the service. You really fundamentally have to attack dimensions that are almost impossible for an incumbent to be competing on.'
On finding opportunity: 'Products evolve based on assumptions that eventually become outdated. This is every incumbent's weakness and startup's opportunity.'
On Box: 'How do you take a sales force and a services organisation that look more like a Salesforce.com or an Oracle or an IBM and marry that with a product and a cadence and a culture that moves like a Google or a Facebook? That's what we're trying to do at Box.'
On building a company: 'It's all about, what are you trying to build and change that other people want to be a part of that process and that experience, and then going after the best possible people that you work with to go do that. That's what we did at Box.'
On turning down an offer worth more than $550 million: 'The mindset was: Is this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build something really new, create products and services that no one has had before? Are you better off doing that on your own, or can you do it better with the resources of a big company? You think more about the company and the mission than whether you should hang in there so you can someday afford two really big yachts, instead of one.'
On relentlessness: 'Never give up: They said Neil Armstrong wouldn't land on the moon. That Newton couldn't discover gravity. Or that Snapchat would never work.'
On customer value: 'You'll learn more in a day talking to customers than a week of brainstorming, a month of watching competitors, or a year of market research.'
On user experience: 'The first 20 years of the web were won by those that built the best infrastructure. Now it's won by those that build the best experiences.'
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