Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Private File Sharing With - Video Interview With CEO Sam Lessin

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If you need to privately share any type of file, video, documents, audio or presentations, with a selected number of people, offers a private file sharing web-based service that is both efficient and dead simple to use.

Sam Lessin and Robin Good - Photo credit: Robin Good is a unique file sharing solution which allows you to upload any kind of file to your own virtual private space (called a "drop"), and then share it easily with your contacts, no matter what device or media they are likely to use. All this is possible without you needing to sign-up, register or login, and with no distracting ads.

100MB per drop at your disposal, hidden from search engines, ready to be shared what you want with whoever you want. allows you to share files from almost any kind of media (phone, email, widgets, Web, etc.) while keeping Google bots and crawlers away from them.

To use it, just go to, upload your files and set the file sharing permissions. From then on, only the people who have received from you the URL of your drop (and the password when you decide to enforce extra protection) will be able to access your content, and you won't have to worry about anyone stumbling upon your drop or sneaking into it without your consent.

In this video interview with Sam Lessin, CEO of, Robin Good tries to explore the key characteristics that make private media sharing approach so unique in the already very crowded landscape of file sharing applications.

Intro by Daniele Bazzano


Private File Sharing With - Video Interview With Sam Lessin

Duration: 8' 58"

Full English Text Transcription

Why Is Different From Other File Sharing Services

Robin Good: Hi guys, this is Robin good, and I'm connecting live with Sam Lessin, of, a file sharing company that just gets out of the main group to provide something that is uniquely different. But I want Sam really to introduce what makes such a unique type of file sharing service.

Sam? To you!

Sam Lessin: Thanks for having me on. is the easiest way to privately share any sort of media online with exactly whom you want, how you want, for as long as you want.

Using you can take any file, from video and audio, to documents, upload them to a private URL with no identity, no registration, no search, no social, and then share with exactly whom you want, for how long you want, anything you need from... sharing pictures and video of your family that you don't want others to have access to, all the way to as a team, or a workgroup, or an organization, where you need to operate on information, and share files.


Create Your Virtual Basket Or "drop"

Robin Good: Fantastic. And it is indeed so. What I have realized myself for the few seconds that I've been on By the way, d-r-o-p(dot)i-o, drop(dot)io, is not com, is not www something. It's simple. Just d-r-o-p, is four. I-o is two. That's six. Six letters in total! go there, try it, and you can see, the registration fact is very cool. You don't have to register or login, and you can immediately share.

You've got an interesting metaphor for this sharing approach. Do you want to tell us more, because it also relates to your name.

Sam Lessin: Yeah, so means "drop (dot) input output". Of course it's actually the Indian Ocean territory (Internet domain). But we pretend that "(dot)io" is "(dot)input output".

With you make drops, which are these little spots that you can share files through.

You can input files by almost anything, from the Web, and widgets, to email, voice, fax. Almost anything you can think of. And then output them from a drop via RSS, email, again basically any output.

Our job and what we try to do, is to allow you take digital content from anywhere, and share it from where it is, to where it needs to be, as simply as possible, if that makes sense.

A drop as a metaphor, is basically all we're creating is an envelope or media kitchen table, where you can put anything you need in, and then call anything you need out.

Robin Good: These (drops) are some kind of virtual baskets that I can create on demand, and I throw in stuff, and then I say: "I wanted to do to this, this, and this people, but to this guy send it by email, to this guy send it by fax he said, and to this other guy send it on the mobile phone".

Sam Lessin: Exactly. Whatever you want. Our job is to create the metaphor that is useful for all these types of private share.

Limits and Pricing of Drops

Robin Good: And how large are the baskets? How much stuff can I throw inside?

Sam Lessin: You can make infinite number of drops, each of which is a 100MB by default.

If you want to make your drops bigger, we have very simple pricing plan, where is 10$ per gigabyte per year of capacity. You can put as many files as you want, through that gigabyte, remove files when you're done with them, whatever you'd like.

It's a completely flat pricing model. But you can, again, make as many 100MB drops as you want and share it with whomever you want, however you want.

Unique Applications of

Robin Good: Have you noticed so far... how much time has been out there for the public to use?

Sam Lessin: We're almost on our one year anniversary.

When went live, almost exactly a year ago... and we've gotten to the point where every month several hundred thousand of people are using and there are millions of files with everything from small businesses, to families.

Robin Good: My question is: have you discovered of unique applications of that you would have never thought of when you were designing and marketing the system?

Sam Lessin: You have no idea. So many!

It's been one of my favorite things is that simple private sharing, and what we're enabling, is very broadly useful.

Literally we hear stories everyday of people using for new exchange things that we hadn't thought of. There are preachers who are using it to share lectures with their congregants, so when they start the sermon, they turn on the voicemail feature, they record directly to their drop via the phone number and then share the email or RSS with everyone in the community.

There are, believe it or not, we have also met several farmers who use to option off their farm animals, because they want to share pictures and videos of what their farm animals are, but they don't want the entire world to see it on Google, or for other competitive farmers who are going to look it up.

That's one of the fun things about building something new but is very broadly useful, is that people life hack the create their own solutions on top of it. It's been really fun.

We basically don't tell people how to use the system at all. We maybe suggest a few things, but it's really about people realizing that they need to share media privately, and figuring out what they need it for.


Privacy and Controlled Sharing

Robin Good: Good. I have one more curiosity. If I want to share with a great number of people:

  1. First: do I have a limit?
  2. And second: how do I manage say, put in there a list of people that subscribe to my newsletter to share something with them.

Is that appropriate, the use of

Sam Lessin: You can use for whatever you want. The answer is some of the largest drops have thousands of people who use them everyday.

Actually some podcasters use drops to collect information from their people listeners about what they should talk about.

If you know, Adam Curry runs a popular page called Daily Source Code. He collects incredible amount of feedback from his listeners every day. You can do that.

In terms of managing subscriptions, as the administrator of a drop you can see who has subscribed to your drop. We don't ever promote your space, in fact search engines can't find it, it's completely off-path.

But if you want to share your space, with whomever you want, however you want, that's your prerogative. You can do it with as many people as you want.


Adam Curry's Experience on

Robin Good: Fantastic. Again, you tell me more about this thing of Adam Curry.

How does it work that people can go on a drop and suggest questions? Can you tell more?

Sam Lessin: Yeah, he sets up a drop. He was one of the very earliest users, and he's been very helpful to us thinking about new features. He started using, he set up a drop called

He and his listeners can go there, sharing videos, and links, and pictures, and any media that the whole community looks at, that Adam looks at, and then talks about on his podcast. So he uses it as a private file sharing media platform for his show, and it's really cool to watch how it has grown and how people use it.

Whenever a listener have something they like they just put it up there and then people can interact with it.

It's like a very open, simple blog in certain ways, the way he uses it.


Advantages of

Robin Good: What do they see or you see as a key advantage for this type of community in doing this privately rather than having a Ning-based community or a wiki when they put this.

What is the key advantage in making it private? Can you help me see through that?

Sam Lessin: Privacy is a concept, it just means that you share with whom you want.

Adam's Daily Source Code drop is very large. He shares with probably thousands of people. But it's not that the privacy in that case I think is the key.

The key is that the the right people know where it is, the wrong people don't know where it is, and it's dead simple to use.

You don't have to sign up, you don't have to deal with complicated software. Literally if you want to add something you click a button and you add it, and that's it.

I think that provides a huge benefit for a wide pace of people who just want to share. They don't want to deal with all these other things that have evolved in social media, they just want move information around. We made it that simple.

Robin Good: I was going to say that from the guys who comes from Sharewood, the forest where you share things, there couldn't be a better place where to send my friends to. So guys go and share as much as you want at drop(dot)io!

Thank you Sam, and have a great day for today.

Sam Lessin: Thank you so much, talk to you later!

Originally shot and recorded by Robin Good for MasterNewMedia and first published on November 11th 2008 as "Private File Sharing With - Video Interview With CEO Sam Lessin"

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posted by Daniele Bazzano on Tuesday, November 11 2008, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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