The Coolest Techie Digs In S.F.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that a generous chunk of the apps and sites we use on a daily basis operate practically right in our own backyard. Case in point: Dropbox. The storage-solving site is our work lifeline and we log in and out of it more times a day than we can count. In the real world, it exists right over in SoMa.
So, when we got the opportunity to tour the slick HQ and meet the whip-smart staff behind the popular service, we jumped at it. And, as was to be expected, the office digs impress — with a rad eating area, too-cool telephone booths, and techie vending machines, to boot. Ready for a glimpse into a working paradise? Drop what you're doing, and click ahead.
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Name: Brandi Cheek
Gig/Department: Head of admin team, EA to co-founders Drew Houston, CEO, and Arash Ferdowsi, CTO.

Tell us what you do at Dropbox.
"I lead the admin team at Dropbox, which includes 17 folks who ensure our teams run smoothly and efficiently — our goal is to help key players at Dropbox focused on delivering amazing work. As the EA to our founders, Drew and Arash, I touch every area of the company — because they do. I try to take the edge off the chaos and 'remove the noise' so they can focus on the product and running Dropbox. I also try my best to keep a pulse on what’s going on with various teams and help out with a la carte projects around the company when I can."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How would you describe the company's office culture?
"It's a creative, collaborative environment where I'm surrounded by people who are talented and passionate about what they do, no matter what department they work in. I am constantly inspired to raise the bar higher for myself and motivated to work harder, because the people around me are truly inspiring!"

What's your favorite thing about working at Dropbox?
"I know that I am part of something very special. When you arrive at the Dropbox office, there is a magic and excitement that hits you as soon as you walk in the door. I felt it when I came onsite for my interview and I still feel it almost four years and an office move later."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
The campus is pretty sweet — where’s your favorite place to hang out?
"My favorite place to hang out is at my desk, but I am in the minority! Drew and I sit next to each other co-pilot style and we use time in between meetings to sync up on his many priorities for the day. It's crucial to use these moments to relay time-sensitive information, and for Drew to give me anything that needs to be relayed back out. Working at a hyper-growth start-up means every day is different and an adrenaline rush."

What Dropbox feature do you like the most?
"I love our simple share link. I use it constantly to quickly and easily share documents with my team at Dropbox, and externally as well. I also love the photo wheel on Carousel. It allows me to navigate through my photos by year in an incredibly easy manner."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What’s your most memorable moment working at Dropbox?
"There have been so many! Watching Drew deliver the MIT commencement in the pouring rain via live stream; we practiced it together so many times leading up to the event and to finally witness the finished product was great. He nailed it! Attending the '4/09' event where we announced Carousel, Harmony, and Mailbox for desktop. The vibe in the room was electric and the presenters plus events team did such an amazing job of creating an experience for the attendees."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Name: Blaire Mattson
Gig/Department: Online Revenue Operations

Tell us what you do at Dropbox.
"I run our scaled revenue programs. It's an operational/profit and loss role — we're responsible for making sure we can predictably deliver and grow revenue from our self-serve subscription businesses. To translate... My team's job is to make sure our Pro and Dropbox for Business customers have a great experience, so they stay with us!

What’s been your favorite Dropbox project you’ve worked on?
"Earlier this year, I started running the diversity efforts at Dropbox, and it's been really rewarding. It's incredibly encouraging to see the amazing work that can be done by a group of people who are passionate about building a strong, positive community."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us more about your background and how you ended up at Dropbox?
"I started my career at Bain & Company. I'd been an English major so I had no idea what I was getting into when I started in consulting, but it was a great place to learn and develop analytical skills. I spent three years there, went to business school at Harvard, and then went back to Bain for a few more years. I loved retail, so after Bain I went to Gap for a couple of years. While I was at Gap, my brother gave my name to some people at Dropbox, and I started chatting with them and fell in love with the place. I think I kind of accidentally interviewed, but the opportunity was too cool to pass up."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How would you describe the company’s office culture?
"Nerdy, in a really endearing way. There's all the usual 'quirky' stuff, but the things I really like are the moments of delight. For example, one day I walked into the office and, just outside the lobby, someone had left a very elaborate dragon partially drawn on a whiteboard. A few days later it had turned into a full-whiteboard masterpiece. And now, a few weeks later, there's a growing collection of whiteboards with the MOST elaborate and beautiful illustrations in that corner. I have no idea who did any of it, but I'm so happy they're here."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What do you think is the coolest thing about Dropbox right now?
"We've been growing like crazy. I joined last summer and we've almost doubled in size since then. It's cool to see how the company culture and people develop with the growth."

What’s your favorite thing about working at Dropbox?
"Intellectually, it's a really stimulating place. There are more things to figure out than there are people to work on them, so you have to be really focused on what matters, make decisions quickly, and iterate. I'm constantly on the steep part of a learning curve — as soon as I've started to figure something out everything changes again. It's incredibly energizing."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
"At the gym, or puttering. There's a barbell club opening up near my apartment and I ordered a paddleboard, so those will probably be taking more non-work time soon, too."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Name: Sonia Survanshi McFarland
Gig/Department: Dropbox Rotation Program

Tell us what you do at Dropbox.
"I am heading the Dropbox Rotation Program. We...train and develop new grads in a variety of business functions. We have 40 people joining this fall, and their educational backgrounds range from computer science to psychology. In the program, new grads have the opportunity to rotate through sales, user ops, and another team, while working on important projects across the company. I have the privilege of working with the best and brightest graduates and helping build their careers at Dropbox."

What do you think is the coolest thing about Dropbox right now?
"The rapid pace at which we are innovating in both our core products as well as expansion into other product areas — from collaboration to photo sharing."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
The campus is pretty sweet — where’s your favorite place to hang out?
"Tuck Shop is a great place to catch up — and dine on some of the best food this city has to offer!"

What’s been your favorite Dropbox project you’ve worked on?
"I worked on a project to understand the nonprofit market and the nonprofit customers using our products. It was really eye-opening to see how many nonprofits use Dropbox to run their business and in so many interesting ways. One that stands out is a volunteer civil air patrol group that does urban search and rescue — they take high resolution photos on their missions and need an easy and secure place to store these images with the volunteer force. I love that Dropbox helps them operate."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us more about your background and how you ended up at Dropbox?
"My engineering and econ degrees led me to investment banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and then out west to do venture capital...in S.F. I then went on to Google in 2003 and did everything from business analytics to deal structuring to eventually heading up our business-development efforts in India. In 2007, I left for Yelp to head up business development when there were about 50 people at the company. I went on to be the VP of user operations there...

"I realized I wanted to take some time to spend with my toddler son and think about what new professional challenges I wanted to take on. During that time, a friend from Google who was now at Dropbox gave me a call to grab coffee at the office — the rest is history."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What Dropbox feature do you like the most?
"Where do I start? In the last two days, Dropbox has been a lifesaver. My youngest child dropped my phone in the bath, but all my precious photos were auto uploaded to Carousel, Dropbox’s photo app, so I didn’t lose anything. Separately, I forgot my wallet at home and needed to show my driver’s license to get entry into an event. Luckily, I stored a copy of my license in Dropbox and was able to show that without an issue."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
How would you describe the company’s office culture?
"There is this amazing energy here. I think the intensity and passion for what we do is unparalleled and it can be seen in the smallest details in our products as well as the office itself (there are so many details into what goes into making the office special, from the whiteboard artwork to the culinary creations at Tuck Shop)."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Name: Tina Wen
Gig/Department: iOS Developer

Tell us what you do at Dropbox.
"I’m an iOS developer and have worked on a variety of projects including the main Dropbox app and, most recently, the launch of Carousel. I love building products that people enjoy in their daily lives. I’ve also helped out with a few other items across the company, such as the notifications menu system used by our kitchen!"

How would you describe the company’s office culture?
"Dropbox is one big family. Of course, everybody cares about the success of the company and works incredibly hard to make that happen — what makes this place special to me is they put in just as much if not more effort to help each other out."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Dropbox?
"Dropbox always supports me when I want to work on personal development. The company offers classes, sends us to conferences, and has an annual 'hack week' so we can learn new technologies. Most importantly, there is no shortage of engineers around the office who know a lot of things I don’t, and who are always more than willing to spend time to teach me something new."

The campus is pretty sweet — where’s your favorite place to hang out?
"The Dropbox office is in a beautiful location — right next to Mission Bay with a great view of AT&T Park and across the water from Oakland. Just outside the office, there is a small inlet from the bay where I can sit on a quiet bench and watch the birds. When I’m stuck on a really difficult problem, this is where I go to clear my head, take a few deep breaths, and think about what I’m trying to do from a different mindset."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What’s your most memorable moment working at Dropbox?
"It's always great to see something which you’ve spent a lot of time on come to fruition, but the day we got the conversations feature working in Carousel holds a special place in my heart. I gave my boyfriend a beta build, and the two of us starting sharing photos like crazy. I'd send a picture of my lunch from our awesome Dropbox chefs. He'd send me a picture of the RC helicopter competition he’d won. Both of us spend a lot of time on the run, and conversations in Carousel gave us a way to spend our day together even if we were apart."

Where can we find you when you’re not at work?
"You’ll either find me somewhere outdoors running, hiking, or biking, or barricaded in my living room hacking away at a random project that piqued my interest at the time. One of my favorite builds is a Raspberry Pi security system that takes pictures of my apartment every minute when neither my or my boyfriend’s phones are within 100 meters of our apartment, backs them up to Dropbox and of course deletes old ones so I don’t run out of storage!"
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Name: Alicia Chen
Gig/Department: Software Engineer

Tell us what you do at Dropbox.
"I’m a software engineer on the Dropbox desktop client team — meaning [I] build and improve the product people use on their laptops and desktops. I’m also the technical lead for the upcoming 'view-only' shared folder feature. This allows you to share a folder that the other person can view, but can’t modify... This is useful if lots of people need the most up-to-date version of files, but you don’t want everyone to be able to change the master copies. I'm also one of the intern program coordinators, which has been incredibly rewarding. In the past, I've worked on features like camera uploads and our 'dual account' feature, which lets you link both a personal and a work account to Dropbox."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What’s your favorite thing about working at Dropbox?
"Hack Week. Hack Week is when Dropboxers get to work on something other than they normally work on. They might make a new feature for Dropbox they wish existed, or create a piece of art, or work on something else they’ve always wanted to try. During Hack Week, everyone pulls out all the stops and lets their imaginations go wild. Watching all the project demos at the end, I've said more than once, 'How is that possible? How are you doing that?' One of my favorite projects so far was Dropbox: The Musical. The writing, songs, choreography, and singing were great, and they wrote, rehearsed, and performed the whole thing in about two weeks."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
Tell us more about your background and how you ended up at Dropbox?
"I was working at Microsoft up in Redmond, Washington, which is where I went after graduating. I was looking to move to the Bay Area a couple years ago and Dropbox just seemed like a great fit. It was mostly under the radar then, but already growing faster than I could believe. From the time I first heard about how fast it was growing to the time I got there for the interview, it had already doubled the number of users."

What’s been your favorite Dropbox project you’ve worked on?
"The intern program. It's been very rewarding to meet all the interns, help them and their mentors grow and learn, and hear about how great a time they're having. Our interns are such an awesome group. They’re so enthusiastic and they want to do everything. They constantly surprise us with how incredibly talented they are."
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Photographed by Maria del Rio.
What do you think is the coolest thing about Dropbox right now?
"That it's growing and changing so fast, and so many of its employees have such a big role in shaping its growth. All employees, from interns to C-level execs, are making changes and creating programs that are changing the company. We’re dreaming up new features, improving our interview processes, creating classes for employees, and running the intern program."
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