By Brad Powell

Dropbox grew from 2,000 to more than 40,000,000 users in three years. To most of its customers, the service is just a convenient way to save and retrieve their digital "stuff" in a virtual "cloud."

They don't know how much time and effort goes into making sure it works. They don't care.  As long as it works. Which it does.

But from the perspective of a startup which suddenly explodes, handling that much growth without crashing (with an IT staff of 1 to 3 people) is a small miracle. This is especially true considering that their entire business depends upon a robust, smooth-operating IT infrastructure and bulletproof software – all of which had to be expanded at an absolutely blistering pace. Dropbox's approach to planning and growing its IT infrastructure contains important lessons for any business contemplating IT expansion or technology changes of any kind.

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By Brad Powell

It may be that no one can figure out how to save newspapers.

But if it's possible, I believe Jeff Bezos will do it.

The Amazon CEO and founder, of course, bought the Washington Post for $250 million two weeks ago. Having watched Bezos' management of Amazon for years, I expect to see dramatic change at the Post. And as a Post subscriber I have a stake (though smaller than Bezos') in the paper's future. The local news, national news, world news, sports coverage and culture that the Post delivers each day is important to me.

The hard truth is that, like most newspapers, the Post has run a ruinously conservative game plan even as their industry implodes.

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Let's face it: No one is passionate about their work email.

The average person spends hours a day processing their inboxes, studies show, often letting non-essential messages get in the way of productivity. For some people, clearing that inbox is a productivity obsession.

And then there's the spam.

But email isn't going away, despite what occasional "Email Is Dead" articles and blog posts might predict. Instead, this workhorse of electronic productivity is constantly adapting. And, like email, many older software systems have likewise learned to adapt as well

So, is your aging core system, or that outdated piece of software on the chopping block? Just as with email, the printing press and snail mail, think twice before pronouncing it dead.

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