Dropbox's First Employees

Founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, Dropbox’s first employees consisted mostly of MIT Computer Science majors who either graduated or left to join the company. They are diverse racially, but entirely male. Since Dropbox’s industry, cloud computing, may not have been super “sexy” at the time, it is clear that they valued technical ability above all else. They hired the most talented developers they could find, which was crucial to building a high-quality product.

Without actively recruiting those outside the MIT network (for the most part), or actively recruiting women, the company has found it difficult to create a welcoming culture for a more diverse crowd, even today, with their number of female hires still notoriously below average. Notable exceptions to the “MIT crowd” include Jon Ying, who drew the now famous “Psychobox” for the 404 error page and became the company’s first designer. There’s also Michael Nagy, who was much older, a teacher by trade, and joined as their first technical support engineer.

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Aston Motes
Coder
C.S., MIT '07. Worked at OKCupid in NYC for seven months. TA'ed one of Ferdowsi's classes, and the two founders recruited him before they even entered YC. Joined in Dec. '07, after Dropbox completed YC.
Jon Ying
"Black Ops"- Internal Communications
B.A. in Economics, UCSD. Childhood friend of Ferdowsi in Kansas City. Recruited to draw the famous 404 error page "Psychobox." Learned Photoshop and joined as a designer. Now he leads "Black Ops."
Rajiv Eranki
Server Engineer
Dropped out of MIT M.A. program to join Dropbox as an engineer. Knew founders from MIT undergrad, where they showed him the product. Asked Ashton for a job when he wasn't enjoying his M.A. program.
Rian Hunter
Software Engineer
C.S., MIT. Started coding when he was 15. Lived in same dorm as Arash and talked to him about Dropbox. Rian thought it sounded interesting, so he accepted a job offer a year later at graduation.
Mike Haimes
Software Engineer
E.E. and C.S. at MIT. Reverse-engineered the Finder on Macs to incorporate Dropbox, which became a well-known feature and piqued Steve Jobs' interest. AKA "Human-Computer Adapter."
Albert Ni
Software Engineer
Theoretical Math and C.S., MIT. USAMO winner. Began programming at MIT. Dropped out in June 2008 to join Dropbox. Led Dropbox for Business, payments, and recruiting.
Trevor Berg
Engineer
C.S., Montana State University-Bozeman, dropped out in 2006. First non-MIT technical hire. Unclear if he had any industry experience prior to joining Dropbox in 2008.
Michael Nagy
Tech Support
First older hire. Taught computer classes at New Horizons CLC for 10 years before joining Dropbox as a technical support engineer. Returned to teaching after five years at the company.