Posted October 29, 2014 by Editorial Staff in Photo

[PROFILE] Searchlight: Aston Motes (Tech)

Aston Motes
Aston Motes

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Posted: October 29, 2014

Editor’s Note: Aston was selected for theREGISTRYBayArea / Digital Diversity Network “2015 40 Under 40: Tech Diversity – Silicon Valley” list.

From Employee #1 at Dropbox to Entrepreneur

Title/Position: Founder, Assorted Bits; CSA, Merchbar

This week we spent some time learning about Aston Motes. Aston was the first employee at Dropbox and is now an entrepreneur. He was kind enough to share some insights he learned from the early days of Dropbox and his thoughts on why he decided to start his own company.

How did you get into the world of technology?

My dad introduced me to the concept of databases and the magic of computation when I was really young, but I didn’t really pay it much attention. I mostly spent my first few years on the computer playing video games. I picked up HTML, Javascript, and a few other programming languages while in middle school and basically by high school knew I wanted to be a computer programmer when I grew up.

I went to MIT and got a degree in EECS expecting to go work at Google or Microsoft, but I was wooed away to the world of startups primarily by essays from Paul Graham. I really wanted to go through his YCombinator with my own startup, but I ended up joining others instead: first OkCupid and then to Dropbox, where I was the first employee after the founders Drew and Arash.

Who has been your most important professional mentor and why?

I haven’t had official mentors, but I’ve been blessed to find myself surrounded by lots of extremely smart and talented peers who I’ve learned a tremendous amount from. In every job I’ve taken, I’ve made a point of choosing to work with people I thought I could learn a lot from, even if it meant working on something slightly marginal. It sounds surprising now, but both OkCupid and Dropbox were relatively unknown when I joined. Now both are clearly awesome, and that’s in large part due to how great the early people at the company were.

What has been the most meaningful professional experience you’ve had and why?…