59. Aaron Levie


59. Aaron Levie

Beware college dropouts wielding big software ideas. Aaron Levie left the University of Southern California in 2005 to create Box.net, an intuitive cloud-based storage platform that’s now competing against IBM and Microsoft and winning clients such as Coca-Cola, Dell, and P&G. The brash 26-year-old has hung a Microsoft SharePoint banner in his office to keep employees focused on offering the dead-simple alternative. With more than 5 million users, a fresh $48 million in funding, and a slew of new apps, Levie is living up to his personal motto: What would Steve Jobs do?


A lot of my ‘creative process’ revolves around finding new opportunities or ways to solve problems.


What does your typical day look like?

10:00 a.m.: Day starts to the sound of iPhone’s annoying alarm, you know, the one that sounds like you’re supposed to evacuate a submarine.
10:05 a.m.: Brush teeth in shower to save time
10:25 a.m.: Drive the five blocks to work (not to kill the environment, but because sometimes I need my car with me).
10:30 a.m.: Arrive at work (some colleagues would say this is an optimistic estimate).
11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.: Meetings–product, engineering, marketing, PR, design reviews, partnerships reviews, launch discussions, etc.
4:00 p.m.: Candidate interviews. I try to interview the main candidates in all ‘key’ roles that we’re hiring for, as well as a third or so of the other individuals that are farthest along in our hiring process.
6:30 p.m.: Head back to my apartment for a 25-minute nap.
7:00 p.m.: Dinner. I’ll usually grab a bite to eat at Chipotle or some local fast-ish food eatery, and head back to the office.
8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.: My hours to really drill into the more creative and strategic areas of the business. Review the day’s statistics on sales, traffic, and signups. Read the news and various external changes in our market. Develop presentations for new projects, launches, product changes, etc.

Watch Levie’s presentation at Stanford, followed by an animated video about the frustrations of using Microsoft SharePoint (a rival).