I’m a writer, so digital files are my meat ‘n taters. I access my writing and work files from a laptop, a personal workstation, and a couple of servers at my day gig. Rather than carrying a thumb drive with me that has everything, I use a service called DropBox.
Now, this may sound like a shameful product plug for these guys, but it truly isn’t. I’m writing this more for anyone who relies heavily on digital storage, especially if it’s a means by which they earn their living.
Essentially, the service is running on any machine that I use. I have a directory on the local machine that the service points to, and within that any number of folders, sub-folders and files that I want to keep safe. Anything that I save into that folder structure goes to an off-site server in real time. I don’t have to click anything. I don’t have to move anything. I just work normally, and when I save, my data is safe.
Now here’s the cool part: when it gets saved up to the DropBox server, the service running on my laptop, PC, and any other machines I use automatically download that version of the file. My data gets saved in just one place, but several. It also keeps a history as I work in case I need to get an older version. This doesn’t happen often with my personal writing, but it does come in handing with the documents I create in my day-job.
Now let me tell you how vendors and/or service providers can easily keep me as a customer for life. The first and best example was Vonage. I got in with then early on. I had been looking for a way to drive a stake through Qwest’s skeevy heart, and Vonage served it up to me on a platter. Then, about a year after I signed up with them, they lowered my price and gave me more functionality. Their services have increased in cost only marginally over the years, and while they’re not the cheapest game in town anymore, they’re not the most expensive either. Vonage pretty much has me for life. They’re not gouging me. They’re transferring lower costs to my bottom line when they can do so. And they’ve been a rock-solid platform with exceptional customer service from day one.
DropBox has been a solid platform since I first signed up. I’ve had no interruptions nor any disasters. And they recently doubled my drive size for nothing. Essentially, their business model, or their competitive requirements or whatever allowed them to give me twice the space for what I was already paying. Net result: they’ve got me pretty much for life.
I’ll tell you, damn near every other vendor in this country could learn a thing or two from Vonage and DropBox. The cell phone companies don’t get it. The cable companies don’t get it. Damn near no one gets it save a select few who see value in having customer loyalty. I’ll give my loyalty when it’s deserved, and kick a vendor to the curb the second it screws me to give it’s share-holders a better quarterly statement. Customers are supposed to come before boards of directors and before share holders and before executives. The customer is king, and when a vendor takes care of me, I’m dogged and relentless in my adherence to them.
So, if you’re interested in keeping your files safe, check out DropBox. You won’t regret it… and NO, this was not a paid endorsement. 😉