How Dropbox escaped the ‘Field of Dreams fallacy’?

“Field of Dreams fallacy, […] is the belief that all that’s needed is to build a standout product and the customers will come.” – Sean Ellis

This belief of ONLY focusing on building a great product leads to poor marketing and overall, substandard go-to-market strategy.

On the other hand, there are companies who put up a whole lot of marketing budget for FB ads – which is expensive, slow and super low on precision.

With Sean’s growth hacking expertise, Dropbox was able to discover a unique channel. They basically replicated the PayPal referral program, but with a catch.

PayPal in its early days offered $10 to users in exchange for referrals. Elon Musk revealed it costed them close to $65 million.

Not every startup has that kind of money.

Instead of cash, Dropbox offered more storage space (250 MB) in exchange for referrals – which they found was more valuable to their users.

“At that time, Dropbox was using Amazon’s low-cost S3 Web servers for its data storage, which meant that it would be pretty simple (and cheap) to add more space to their infrastructure.” – Sean Ellis

The referral program was so successful that by early 2010, Dropbox grew from just 100K users at the time of launch, to more than 4M!

Reference: Hacking Growth (Book) by Sean Ellis

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