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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Entrepreneurship invasion by Matt McGann '00

I love it when students start useful companies.

So yesterday, I’m in my office trying to catch up on email when a student who I haven’t seen in a long time stops by my office. In the process of catching up, he asks me about how one takes a year off from MIT.

“Why are you taking a year off?” I ask.

Well, he tells me, he, an MIT friend, and another guy have started a company. He wants to take a year to devote himself fully to the start-up. And he’s trying to get a freshman I know to join the team, too, at least for the summer.

The company is called Dropbox, and I must say I’m impressed by their technology and ease of use. Click here or on their logo below to see the demo… I thought it was awesome.

They’re in beta now, so if you run Windows (I don’t; MacOS and Linux coming soon, I’m told), you may want to sign up and try it out. Basically, it is a super-easy way to synchronize files across computers.

I love being at a place where students are so creative and are always starting amazing things like this. And I love randomly hearing about them on some random Wednesday afternoon.

From the You-can’t-make-this-up Department: Another student who’s taking a semester off to grow his now-successful startup just stopped by the office, while I was writing this entry. I didn’t plan it, it just happened.

More on entrepreneurship at MIT:

Update from the comments: Drew ’05, founder of Dropbox, writes in:

hey — this is drew houston ’05 (founder of dropbox and the ‘mit friend’ from the article :)) — being a recent grad i can vouch for the kind of enthusiasm and support that the MIT community has for entrepreneurship (the E-club, enterprise forum, etc.); it makes the jump a lot easier.

if anyone has any questions about entrepreneurship at mit (or wants to learn more about dropbox :)) give me a shout at houston at alum dot mit dot edu. take care!

28 responses to “Entrepreneurship invasion”

  1. Daniel '12 says:

    Yay for entrepreneurship! I love this kind of stuff too. Thanks, Matt!

  2. Eirik ('12?) says:

    Wow, Dropbox looks amazing.

  3. Lendz says:

    i love entrepeneuring, although i refer to it as ‘freelance inventing’… most people dont understand the reference. MIT is the perfect place for people like us. Inventions give that sort of thrill to the zeal of education. Its good stuff.

    and that is a pretty awsome company.

  4. Frank says:

    The best of the best DROPBOX apps is the original Tango DropBox for use with server.

  5. Drew '05 says:

    hey — this is drew houston ’05 (founder of dropbox and the ‘mit friend’ from the article smile) — being a recent grad i can vouch for the kind of enthusiasm and support that the MIT community has for entrepreneurship (the E-club, enterprise forum, etc.); it makes the jump a lot easier.

    if anyone has any questions about entrepreneurship at mit (or wants to learn more about dropbox smile) give me a shout at houston at alum dot mit dot edu. take care!

  6. checkvalue says:

    dropbox looks cool!
    in the demo, value of the check is cool …
    did someone calculate the vlaue…

    .002+ (e^i(pi))+ 1
    1.002 -1+ i(sin(180)) = 0.002

    was there a time when a person could buy something for 0.2 cents in the US? –

  7. Arkajit says:

    Nice, this is a slick tool! Thanks for posting it, Matt! And, yeah I thought the dollar value on the check was pretty cool too – interesting way to write two-tenths of a cent.

  8. Basant says:

    really, really interesting!

  9. Lendz says:

    Question, is the 100K price only for MIT students?

  10. Sh1fty says:

    it seems interesting, i might give it a try when the macos version comes out. i was actually thinking of doing something similar but gave up when i realised that it would take too much of my time and i don’t really need it because i use my network server to store all the data of on going projects smile virtual ftp drives are all i need (FTPDrive on windows, FUSE on linux and MacFUSE on MacOS) to make all software work with data on server as if it were on my hard drive smile
    anyway, this post made me think about something else, what about international students? can we take a year off(and stay in the US) to start our own company or work on some projects for a year? are we allowed to earn money while we’re in college? oh, and i forgot to ask earlier, were there any international kids at CPW?
    i’m sorry about my spelling and grammar, it’s 2am here and i’m in the middle of switching to polyphasic sleep schedule :D

  11. Shannon says:

    Dropbox looks awesome- I’m definitely downloading it when it gets out of beta. Very cool.

    Liked the check, too.

  12. Neil Kelty says:

    It’s pretty cool to see students being creative like this. It’s good that he’s just taking the year off and not doing the whole drop out idea as you never quite know if something is going to final.

    Best of luck to the founders.

  13. Hey, congratulations Drew. That looks like a fantastic app, very clean.

    I’m a high school student (junior) and I’ve been lurking around the MIT blogs for a long time – I guess this is as good a time as ever to say hello. I have a web app of my own, called Quizlet ( ) I launched it this January and it’s got ~18,500 registered users, so things are going well. But anyways, I’ve always considered MIT my first choice. I’m definitely interested in hearing more about the entrepreneurship possibilities at MIT.

    So Drew, I’ll ping you via email smile Thanks.

  14. Oh man, DropBox looks like the sweetest thing ever invented basically ever. That is so, so cool.

  15. CC says:

    Dropbox looks amazingly thought-out and simple to use, hopefully a version comes out for Mac soon.

    Also, I’d like to commend you guys for putting the VA Tech logo on the MIT blog site, they need everyone’s support now more than ever.

  16. Anonymous says:

    that’s such a good idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!! that’s awesome

  17. hi
    i know this is out of topic, but is it possible to get Matt’s email address?

  18. Dropbox looks really amazing.

  19. Will be waiting for MAC version…

  20. online says:

    I agree, good idea.

  21. lendz says:

    aye, international student, their are probobly two emails mcgann has, one personal, and the otherlogical. his personal i have no idea, probobly [email protected] . something

    But his logical one is [email protected]. pretty logical [email protected]

    Like i said, hes probobly got a personal E-mail account which he looks at on a daily basis, his one i am not so sure of, remember to write in plain text not rich formatting so as to not get absorbed by their highly sophisticated spam filtering.

    P.S still waiting for an answer to the 100K question mentioned previous.

  22. Sh1fty says:

    it’s madmatt[at]mit[dot]edu and you could’ve found that out on your own. all MIT email addresses look like this: username[at]mid[dot]edu so all you need to do is find the username. what you had to do was find one of his posts with pics that he hosted on his athena web space. athena web space URLs look like this:… i hope Matt won’t be mad at me for posting his email address…

  23. emil says:

    this kinda doesn’t have much to do with the topic but I am a high school sophomore thinking about MIT for college. We are finishing up choosing our classes for next year and as of now I have chosen: English 11-Honors, Math Analysis-Honors, Principles of Business and Marketing, Spanish 4-Honors, Physics -Honors, Virginia/US History-Honors, and Chemistry I-Honors. I was wondering if I should switch out Principles of Business and Marketing for AP psychology since Business and Marketing is not an honors class and to get in an AP class in my junior year and follow that up with 6 APs in my senior year.

  24. lendz says:

    aww… so he changed it did he? hmm… interesting, last year it was [email protected] that makes sense for him to change it to madmatt. i still think he has a personal email, though.

  25. ehmm,
    thanks lendz and shifty
    that was very helpful

  26. Vishaque says:

    Here is something for you all aspirants plus students (I am sorry professor but I need to do this.)

    This is what they[CBS the 60 min show] said about IIT.
    Combine MIT, Princeton and Caltech, then what you will get: IIT. Admission Percentage : 2%.

    Now see this (You knew it Marilee, since I told you.):TISCO is “not likely to recruit” IIT graduates any more, Muthuraman said at the meeting of the pioneering batch of IIT Madras. He felt the IITs thrive on their “past reputation” and he preferred other college students who were amenable to company training.

    Hmmm. So all eyes?? Then see this: A student of MAI, in his third year, developed a new rocket technology… OOOO. Laughing? Well…well. Me too. But, hey, hell this is working quite fine for me.

    From Russia
    With Love
    Abhishek Madhur

  27. Vishaque says:

    And Dude, did you wishper something like Son of StarWars

    HA HA HA…

    God (if He exists?) Bless you.

  28. Vishaque says: