Thinking of buying DBX? Maybe you should read this first.

When I’m considering opening a position in a company I do a lot of research into its sentiment. Not only how the public and the investors feel about the company, but just importantly, how its current and former employees feel about it.

One of the sources I consult when doing my sentiment research is Glassdoor, which is an American website where current and former employees anonymously review companies.

As of me writing this post, there are 918 reviews for DBX listed on the site.

· The company has an over-all rating of 4.3/5.0

· 82% would recommend working there to a friend.

· 85% of current and former employees approve of the current CEO Drew Houston.

It’s important to note that Dropbox is an engaged employer on Glassdoor, which basically means they actively interact with a lot of these posts. FYI, Dropbox cannot alter or remove these Glassdoor reviews.

On the surface these ratings looks great, but it’s only when you delve deeper that you start to notice some recurring trends/red flags in a lot of these reviews.

Now I mentioned earlier in the post that I do a lot of research, what I mean by that is that I read A LOT. So yes, I have sat here and read through a vast amount of these reviews. There are over 900 and there’s only like 8 per page so no I have not read all 900 but I have read a considerable amount to gain a good insight into the sentiment towards the company.

Here’s a few random things to note that will be relevant later:

· It’s hard to find a bad thing said about the CEO Drew Houston as an individual. He is well liked as a person.

· Since Covid began Dropbox employees starting working remotely. Despite Covid letting up, this practice has now been adopted by the company across the board with all employees now expected to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

· The verdict is out on how well they get paid, a lot of people said the pay and benefits were good, while others contradicted that.

· Employees typically enjoy the working culture and feel valued and cared for. This however appears to be in somewhat of down trend which I will elaborate on later.

I will summarize the following quotes at the end, so if you don’t want to read them, scroll down past the massive wall of text to the summary section.

Cons & advice to management, quoted from approximately 200 of the most recent reviews:

“Technology stack is a little old, and progress is slow”

“Typical growing pains for a large organization. Dropbox is at a pivotal moment to adapt their existing products and evolve with the current demands of the market.”

“Needlessly political – Lots of talk of “virtual first” – company actually limits your ability to work away from your starting location to 90 days a year, unless you make a permanent move. This is also NOT a differentiator, as most tech companies work remotely now. – Wasteful investments, lack of vision – former CMO spent millions on a new web experience with questionable goals, then management had paid media team devote time to buy “cheap” traffic driving to said site – Company relies too much on perks to retain employees rather than developing employees, establishing a vision employees can buy into, and eliminating toxicity and politics”

“remote work not so great to collaborate”

“Have not met many people in person due to COVID.”

“limited company development potential – frequent reorg”

“Not sure about the future of the company”

“No direction Bad management and politics Constant reorgs, advice to management, Sell.”

“Poor direction, rash decisions, and horrible work/life balance leads the great people to leave consistently at all levels and roles.”

“Continuing to see deterioration in quality of people managers Talent is less strong than two years ago”

“permanent virtual is quite challenging”

“Cons, Turnover in middle & upper management. For example, I've seen two CTOs come and go pretty quickly, which left me with a lack of confidence that leadership was seeing the company succeed in the long-term. I've seen multiple attempts of Dropbox attempting to push for a significant new product direction (e.g. new Spaces direction), only for it to get killed later on. This didn't give me a lot of confidence that the company knew how to evolve it's product portfolio. * Some parts of the organization (e.g. Core Systems) had toxicity present, which caused trust problems, mental health issues, and turnover.*

Advice to Management, Figure out a more effective strategy to nail new product direction such that you have less instances of build –> kill products Figure out how to build a long-term, sustainable middle / upper management team that is going to help the company succeed in the long-term * Figure out ways to deduce out at the org level if there are toxic workplace cultures present and get them dealt with”*

“Uncertain future direction of product”

“Some unclear product direction from upper level management”

“Shifting strategies – although recent year the strategy is panning out really well.”

“Fully remote working, however remote working comes with its own benefits”

“Cons, Entirely remote so if you don’t like that, you probably won’t like Dropbox. Personally I was hesitant at first but love it now but I know some people prefer hybrid – The company seems to have slowed down a bit with some upper management churn. They seem to have a clear multi-product vision we’re working towards but only time will tell

Advice to Management, Continue treating your employees well and keep working towards a multi-product future. Fail fast and heavily invest in promising new products.”

“Lack of a clear career growth plan”

“can't go into an office full time again if you would like to”

“Cons, No upward mobility – High Manager/Leadership attrition (never seen so many leaders leave especially in a company that's known for culture) – political biases favor promos in terms of business needs versus actual talent. – Favors external hiring versus growing M4s up. – No diversity focus for middle management (front line – director), unfair gender biases – Hiring new leaders after virtual interviews has lowered hiring bar for leaders causing issues in leveling between peers

Advice to Management, Focus on growing your internal talent more, especially around leaders. Focus on diversity growth. Dropbox seemed to go well in that direction, pre-IPO”

“No more food, no more offices”

“stocks more or less stagnant (some action last year) -projects are randomly generated and assigned and no one really digs deep into why we are working on a year long project without proper goals -higher management is mehhh except few”

“Virtual first: Personally I would rather be back in the office but I've had good career opportunities which have convinced me to stay – Reorg: Usually have a company re-org every year. This year's (2021) was smaller in scale”

“Large company size which can lead to silos”

“expect change! Reorgs can happen frequently so this would be a con if you're someone who doesn't enjoy change. Personally I like how things change”

“Stock has gone up but isn’t a rocket ship. Bummer.”

“We don’t get to see each other in person since we no longer have office spaces”

“had some leadership turnover in 2020 but things have stabilized, stock price fairly stagnant”

“Product Priority and Company Identity has only stabilized last year.”

“People avoid hot/uncomfortable discussions It is really important to talk about metrics, failures and whether things are working or not. I see a lack of retrospective and some people are just too chill and in rest n vest mode. * Stock price didn't move for a long time after IPO but recently started catching up (60% up since last year) so we have to wait and watch”*

“Organizational changes with internal structure have been challenging at times (but we are on a great path now)”

“No office so “culture” might be suffering a little bit Not alot of interactions with members outside of your own team and/or stakeholders”

“Business strategy and sometimes there is turnover”

“Hey the pandemic has taught us that we can work remote better than we all thought! The downside…some things can only really happen in person. All those serendipitous encounters, relationships built in the time before/after meetings, and hey who doesn't miss the food, snacks, coffee bar, and weekly happy hours! On the other hand, saving 2+ hours per day commuting is pretty sweet.”

“Poor decision making – Senior leadership needs to be replaced”

“vague, constantly thrashing strategy – slow, plodding execution – management can be political – rapid employee burn & churn.. even before the layoffs”

“Lots of changes (completely understand the need) – growing pain for a company turning around”

“Cons, the company is going through a re-birth of sorts and with it makes it feel like a start-up at scale, which can create some serious bottlenecks. my hope is this is more like flexing a new muscle that'll get better with some time – there are still some significant working silos that can cause frustration when projects end up going nowhere

Advice to Management, get more departments talking to one another to have everyone on the same page keep the open dialogue going with the company, it's helping maintain confidence in staff and the future of Dropbox”

“TONS of turnover Lots of tech debt Nonsensical product decisions (desktop app?) Few opportunities for impact in core product”

“Needs to spend money on change management consulting. I believe Dropbox has an inferiority complex compared to its former peers (Facebook, Twitter, etc). Thus, they think they have the internal knowledge and resources to effectively implement change in the ever changing tech landscape. Newsflash: they don’t. And they hurt people every time they perform an org change. -Promotion path is below average at best. -High turnover, especially in key leadership positions -Difficult to avoid burnout. -Lastly, people are so tired. Managers, ICs, executives. When will there be a change for these people?”

“Not a “startup” anymore, and not really an innovative company. Just cutting costs and trying not get noticed by users that forgot they’re still paying.”

“Cons, Trying to remain necessary and part of folks online experience is tough in this landscape

Advice to Management, Support leadership and IC's w clear roadmaps”

“Cons, Boring work — Users don't really want new features, but Dropbox has 1000's of employees that need to justify themselves. The execs give impossible goals to the directors, who give ambiguous goals to the product teams, so there is low accountability and a lot of turnover.

Advice to Management, Shrink the company & just be a great file sync product with $2 billion / year in revenue. That's good enough. Stop trying to expand the product's surface area, because our users don't want it.”

“Technical stack is very complex. Takes a long time to ship anything related to the core product. Some entitlement culture. Remote first is not for everyone; we have seen a good amount of attrition recently.”

“Projects could have unclear direction, room for growth may be limited”

“Lots of new products, hard to roll them out”

“I think the main challenge that Dropbox has is a sub-optimal development infrastructure which significantly slows down development. The company is investing in fixing as it should, but the experience is generally slow as of today.”

“Leadership, strategy, Org structure, HR, culture”

“Remote onboarding is definitely challenging. May not have as many product streams compared to bigger companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft etc.”

“There's been too much turn around since the beginning of 2021 and re-orgs amongst the teams which has created a inconsistency in the work and priorities”

“People stay at dropbox on average much longer than other tech companies but turnover happens.”

“Cons, There's still a lot to get right and plenty more ways to fail. Dropbox had a really stupendous and early success but has struggled to successfully expand its offerings in a meaningful way yet. That makes this period extra exciting still (read: opportunity for real impact), but the company is still in somewhat of a transitional stage as it works to transition into a successful multi-product company. The product culture that grew around nurturing and optimizing an established and mature product does not work for nurturing early stage bets, and the company is still trying to figure out how to do this better.”

Advice to Management, Continue treating employees as whole people, and continue prioritizing diversity—not just common quota demographics, but other meaningful areas like diversity of training/education/upbringing, and diversity of thought. Also, make more space for early bets and less mature ventures to have more autonomy and move faster, remove organizational red tape, and provide better infrastructural support.”

“slow career growth not so good management teams continuously re-org, change directions not so well motivated”

“If we can bring some of our work to the market sooner, and more frequently, I believe we will be much closer to our next innovation cycle. So yes, tons of potentials and opportunities at Dropbox.”

“No more tuck shop food”

“Could be more innovative. No offices is a little sad.”

“Lots of documentation and lots of re-org.”

“Cons, Staff turnover and reorgs leave employees a bit lost – Compensation is not the greatest in tech”

Advice to Management, Employees are our customers – they can choose a different company to work for at any point. Business continuity means that we need to think about attrition as a business threat and really focus on the employee experience – even when we need to change priorities to move fast.”

“Cons, Dropbox spent its first 10-12 years growing its culture, and for many of them, it was a top workplace to be part of. During covid, Dropbox forgot that this was something they ever valued. During the change to all remote work, Dropbox gained millions in overhead, but where did it go? There isn't going to be a lot of successful movement within dropbox, at least if you want to have career growth

Advice to Management, Start investing in your employees again because the money that went into the culture environment is no longer there and it certainly hasn't found its way to the employee yet. The good news for you is that over time, the people who knew the company when it treated their employees as Dropbox was known for will be gone and people who work there because it's “tech” and who don't want to live in a city can do so. You'll pay lower salaries and nothing for culture, but you get what you pay for.”

“No longer a growth company “Virtual first” is not for everyone Culture/perks are a shell of former self”

“Not the great unicorn it used to be.”

“Remote work makes it hard to maintain company culture”

“Nothing new to work on”

“The amount of change in my org has been distracting but I feel the company now has the best plan forward”

“decisions are made a bit quickly -the company feels a bit too big and it's hard to get things done”

“Virtual First has created a lot of uncertainty. Leadership historically does not have the greatest track record.”

“Cons, One side of Dropbox is this really strong consumer product driven by some of the best engineering and design talent in the industry. The other lesser known side of Dropbox is the B2B sales division run with absentee, toxic management and almost zero accountability. It's this awkward, failing experiment. The deals are somewhere between smb and MM which calls into question the label of “Enterprise.” Management has been operating in a vacuum and there is no reason to believe that will change. Sales is dominated by transactional, short term thinking and arrogance is rampant. Professionalism does not exist internally or customer facing. The Management playbook consists of unethical, HR and [potentially] GDPR violating strategies (consider the faux security concerns used to manipulate customers into buying). “Sellers “are mostly “account managers” focused almost exclusively on up-selling existing books of businesses which in most cases are over sold.

Advice to Management, Look closely at your existing “managers.” There has been so much unnecessary friction created through the use of strong arm selling. If anyone took even a casual look at some of the actions of previous and current “managers” I imagine there would be some additional changes made to the staff, rather quickly.”

“Working at Dropbox as a Growth Manager can be incredibly boring”

“New management directions are not the best”

“I don't know what management wants, and I don't think they do either. They say we're pivoting away from enterprise, but they send out emails bragging about salespeople selling new enterprise installs (some of which are clearly too large for our tech to handle, and will be refunded soon). They say they want to focus on core & technical debt, but they're not willing to issue codes on any of the company-wide issues holding up productivity. Some parts of the company are trying to transition toward more AWS, some parts are trying to transition away from the AWS we already have. And lastly, virtual first. I joined because the blog post talked about using studios to maintain our existing culture and that we could work where & how we wanted. It's become clear that we'll only be able to work from our own homes unless we spend a lot of our own money. Nobody even knows what the purpose of studios will be. I thought VF was going to be a new, more enlightened way of working, but it turns out it's just a half-baked plan to cut costs. Disappointing.”

“management, lot of change, change not comminucatied”

“Moving to a fully remote platform permanently has created a rift in the company, while many others are opening up we are making it challenging to collaborate and work in person. In addition, due to some changes internally processes and promotions have been made more difficult. Finally, the pay tends to be lower than the average.”

“growth slowly growth slowly growth slowly growth slowly”

“Culture is dwindling with remote work.”

“Product development cycle is slow”

“Product strategy and vision is still stabilizing and maturing”

“lack of direction, not everyone has high work ethic”

“Leadership changes too often which can make it hard to make long term gains.”

“Cons, In the past 18 months the amount of reorganization’s has made it difficult to focus. The company was almost changing too rapidly and shifting gears constantly when the goal remains the same. They are throwing baloney at a wall while figuring out their 2nd act.

Advice to Management, Try to space out the changes or make decisions with complete intention and commit to them.”

“Leadership, Lack of Direction/Strategy, Internal Politics, “Virtual First” Costcutting”

“Growth rate is slowing down now and not many interesting projects going on Company is cutting some great perks forever, such as the awesome office and café”

“Dropbox Business product (sales) struggling against Microsoft/Google”

“Top down planning, less innovation post IPO. Still would recommend this place highly. I miss working there. :)”

“Cons, – Promos are more based on politics and who your manager is than actual work performance – Management has no idea what they’re doing. There are re-orgs and a new company strategy every six months, which introduces tons of chaos without any results. The company is just slowly dying – Permanent remote policy. If you would prefer to work in an office part or full-time, you’re out of luck. Management tried to disguise this as embracing a new way of working but they’re just trying to cost-cut – The company’s focus is now cost-cutting: layoffs, cutting promotions, moving remote, etc. This, plus lack of faith in leadership, has created low morale and a lot of turnover. But the company seems set on cutting costs at all costs and does not care that it is driving all the good talent away

Advice to Management, You’ve completely lost employees’ trust at this point. Prioritizing $ over everything else is just going to lead to a downward spiral where people continue to leave and we continue to have to cut cost”

“As the years grow post IPO, Dropbox is naturally moving to a more corporate environment and has lost the charm and unique culture that has defined the company for so long. Also the company has struggled with maintaining momentum and motivation admist change.”

“Unclear business outlook, constantly shifting top down strategies and leadership”

“Lots of exec turnover, slow decision making, too much debate, too little action”

“Horrible management. 35% attrition rate. Management tends to put all the blame for failures on engineers.”

“product is a hard sell”

“confusing internal processes, lot of recent change”

“There is no accountability for leadership when they make decisions, fail, and change their mind about what they said months later. Organizational execution falls short with the constant reorgs that take place every few months. Declining stock price makes it less worthwhile to work here vs other companies which have had excellent growth over the past few years. Annual reviews are highly dependent on how your relationship with your manager and your manager's clout in the company. If you have a bad manager you're outta luck. All the best benefits are gone with the culture and old employees who've already moved on”

“Cons, Culture implosion since 2020. Exec leadership is all new and only interested in chasing a stock price increase which they are failing at very quickly.

Advice to Management, Stop blaming past leaders for everything that is not working. Make some real contributions to be worthy of trust!”

“Incredibly bad long-term strategy, trying to derive profits from cost cutting rather than innovation. Gemini was complete failure After acquisition, compensation was significantly lower than peers”

“very siloed organization, hard to complete projects”

“Cons, I joined Dropbox based on their vision of a smart workspace solution, but reality turned out to be all pomp and circumstance vs an actual product roadmap. New marketing leadership that was introduced in Q2 2020 was extremely inept in team building, transparency and connecting the dots in terms of how to leverage the incredible TAM at their fingertips. Said marketing leadership introduces and justifies more layers through multiple senior level hires for two consecutive quarters while laying off 25% of marketing staff last month. C-suite continues to deflect when asked probing questions about shifts in strategic vision and move to virtual first. A lot of lip service in place of accountability. 2020 was a make or break year for Dropbox, and 2021 will be the slow but inevitable decline of the company. Flatline of stock price.

Advice to Management, Drew really should step down and hand over the company to someone who knows what he/she is doing.”

“Changes in corporate strategy seem to be more frequent than others places I've worked at.”


· Lack of faith in senior management and leadership, in particular the CEO.

· Lack of vision and direction, particularly from senior management. No long term strategy.

· Constant internal reshuffling of management and projects. The constant reshuffling of management leads to the failure of long term projects.

· High employee turn overrate.

· Remote working is largely seen as negative.

· Uncertainty for the future with concerns about the lack of innovation and growth.

· Concerns about competitors such as Google, Microsoft etc.

· Work processes are typically slow.

· There is possibly some short sighted emphasis on stock performance. For example, the focus is on short term projects not long term projects.

· A lot of the people who wrote these reviews are software engineers etc, they understand start-up tech companies and understand what is being doing right or wrong.

My take:

This company once enjoyed a great working culture. However, since Covid they appear to have dropped the ball somewhat in regard to their core values and as such the working culture has gown downhill and is fastly becoming a thing of nostalgia.

Remote working is the main contributor to this. A lot of people said they didn’t mind it and liked aspects of it, but most warned others that it may not be for them. Newer employees who started work during the pandemic stated they hadn’t even met colleagues face to face yet and didn’t know when they would. Others were upset that they no longer got free food, and found it sad that the company doesn’t even have offices anymore.

You should also consider this about the remote working:

The idea of Dropbox is perfect for Covid, it promotes remote working. This is why I believe the company has taken this approach of full remote working. Because it promotes what their brand is all about. Based on that, I don’t see them shifting away from it anytime soon.

There has been major reshuffling of staff over the last 18 months. Staff turnover based on these comments appears to be of a very high level, but I have not researched the figures myself. It’s perhaps something you should look into, because in an industry like this you want the best people working for you, especially when you are trying to innovate and grow. I believe the good working culture Dropbox enjoyed in its early days was very much part of its success, and with the fading of that that culture comes higher staff turnover which ultimately means losing the best the industry has to offer.

As I said earlier, it’s hard to find a bad thing said about the CEO as a person, he is liked. But unfortunately being liked as a person and being a good leader doesn’t always go hand in hand.

There is a lack of confidence in senior management taking this company forward.

There are no real long term goals; the focus is on short term projects, possibly with an eye on the share price.

Criticisms of the information I present:

· Fake reviews:

I did not find any evidence to suggest that these reviews have been fabricated. – Personally I believe them for the most part to be a true and accurate reflection of current and previous employee’s views. Please note however, that it is not unheard of for reviews to be fabricated.

· Disgruntled current/former employees:

It’s entirely possible that disgruntled former employees may have posted scathing reviews in attempt to tarnish the company’s reputation. – From what I have seen, almost all of these reviews have plenty of positive things to say about the company. There are far more positive comments then criticisms. The site automatically asks you about the cons.

· Cherry picking quotes:

I have only selected quotes that suit my narrative. – These quotes were selected from approximately the 200 most recent reviews of the company. I did not include any pros mentioned, only criticisms as they were largely irrelevant. I didn’t include cons that were irrelevant. If you wish to review the pros of the reviews please refer to the linked webpage.





I have no affiliation with Glassdoor or Dropbox nor am I being remunerated in any way for this post. I currently hold no long or short positions in DBX. This is not financial advice.

If a picture of Dropbox or Glassdoor appears in this post, that’s reddit automatically putting that there because of the links.


Current and former employer sentiment towards a company can be very valuable and provide you with a rare insider view of how a company is run and what it’s doing. I recommend using websites like Glassdoor as part of your due diligence. For more information about this specific post, read my short take above about Dropbox.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *