Dropbox’ CEO and CTO have come out firmly in opposition of President Donald Trump’s executive orders restricting the travel of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries, branding his actions as “un-American” and “extremely disappointing”.
Speaking very openly to Silicon during a press roundtable, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston and CTO Aditya Agarwal both condemned Trump’s actions and vowed to do everything they can to support their employees.
“We were disappointed by the executive orders around immigration”, Houston said. “A small number [of Dropbox employees] were directly affected but most importantly, it certainly impacts people’s families, so we and our legal team are taking a close look at this and doing everything we can to support our employees and their families”.
Houston also agreed that technology CEOs should be more outspoken about the issue and rejected the executive orders as being “against the values of our company and I think they’re against the values on which this country was founded. By all means tech CEOs should be speaking about that”.
For Dropbox specifically, there’s the added personal element that Houston’s co-founder Arash Ferdowsi is himself an immigrant from Iran. “If a policy like this were in place 30 years ago then we wouldn’t have a Dropbox and that’s a story that is very similar across many of the great companies in Silicon Valley that have been created here”, he said.
Agarwal reiterated this point, branding Trump’s actions as “completely un-American”.
He continued: “I’m an immigrant. I’ve had every possible type of visa, from a student visa to a work visa, I’ve got a green card, I’m a citizen today, but maybe I wouldn’t be at Dropbox if these executive actions had been in place.
“Fundamentally, we are going to do whatever we can to ensure that Dropbox remains the diverse place that it is. A place where any person from any nationality, any race, any religion can find it a great place to work. The executive actions make me sad and angry and we as a company are going to do whatever we can to fight it”.
Agarwal, who is an active campaigner for immigration reform through the FWD.us initiative, also emphasised the importance of not jumping in to any potentially rash decisions: “We as a company are committed to doing the right thing, but it’s important to be thoughtful about this and not just rush in with what might be the most obvious thing to do at the beginning, because this isn’t going away.
“This is going to be a struggle, so we need to make sure that we do the right thing but we are obviously committed to doing everything we can to let people from any country work for dropbox and work in this country”.
Houston and Agarwal were speaking in San Francisco at the launch event for Dropbox’ Smart Sync and Paper products, which give businesses enhanced document storage, management and collaboration capabilities.
Houston also announced that, not only has the company achieved $1 billion (£800 million) in revenue run rate, it has become the fastest ever Software-as-a-Service company to pass the milestone.
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