Shopify and Box storage - a couple of anecdotes

I always find it re-assuring to encounter investments that I own in real world every day situations. Yesterday for the first time encountered 2 of my US investments as a user in daily life.

Whilst arranging a dining venue for last night (in Singapore) I was checking the menu on a restaurant website and the download and web address turned out to be a Shopify one. It’s good to know they aren’t some mythical Canadian unicorn but are a vendor to merchants here in Singapore.

Here’s the example and the context; a relatively new restaurant in a funky part of town and of international appeal…
https://bakalaki.com
Ok - it’s a regular website URL but when I am looking at the wine list under menus (please don’t judge), then the url becomes a Shopify coded url…
https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1691/8779/files/WineList.p…

The other encounter was after coming back from a client kick off (with a multi national Biotech company), my project team agreed with the client team to use their preferred file exchange platform. Lo and behold having assumed it was going to be some extranet or a DropBox solution, it turned out to be Box Enterprise.

So far it is proving extremely well managed, secure and customised in its content management arrangements for file sharing between the team. Again - good to know that top tier mega corps see a role for Box as opposed to their own in house on prem or cloud based private solutions.
https://www.boxenterprise.net/home

Just thought it would be worth sharing for those that might wonder what traction our investments are achieving on a global scale.
Ant

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Whilst arranging a dining venue for last night (in Singapore) I was checking the menu on a restaurant website and the download and web address turned out to be a Shopify one. It’s good to know they aren’t some mythical Canadian unicorn but are a vendor to merchants here in Singapore.

How times change. They sell with Shopify, they book with Chope, and the page goes on and on below the fold.

https://bookv5.chope.co/booking?rid=bakalakigreektaverna

When the WWW was computers, not telephones, when I was still developing websites, we did our best to hide the urls of service providers (like Shopify) and to keep the visitor on the site’s url. Since scrolling was much less convenient we tried to keep pages short instead of long scrolls.

Back then it was “unprofessional” to show the service providers. Now, it seems, they reassure customers.

Denny Schlesinger

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Hi Denny - to some extent I think that has come through with the advent of mobile and apps. Once app providers gain traction with their memberships they start to dis-intermediate standalone businesses which forces them to integrate 3rd party services. So long as it all works and is seamless that’s ok. It is better than not having the functionality at all or resorting to a basic Facebook page with minimal information or functionality.

Having said that and being old enough to have worked in digital during the internet 1.0 era I like and agree with your design and UX principles.
Ant

Hi Denny - to some extent I think that has come through with the advent of mobile and apps.

Absolutely! Mobile requires a small screen which requires a different user interface, mostly scrolling vs. menu clicking. And there has been a Cambrian Explosion of Apps! Apple discovered that the way to sell more hardware was to have tons of developers and that evolved into a huge software ecosystem. Having all those resources available it makes little sense to develop custom (bespoke) solutions.

Denny Schlesinger

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Ant
Interesting stuff. I gave up on BOX recently bc I couldn’t figure out what there “special sauce” was. I don’t do much collaborative work in my business (well team work. I am usually working one, two, or three others from various companies). So have no need for it myself. I watch interviews w Aaron Levy on Cramer. He always seemed like one of these guys who New where things were heading in his space-like a Zuckerburg or Benhieoff. But, I keep reading about all the competition and the stock doesn’t do much, even though the company makes good on all of its promises for cash flow and earnings break even.

Anything about the product that really stood out to you? They have a ton of customers.

Thanks

I gave up on BOX recently bc I couldn’t figure out what there “special sauce” was.

I don’t know, either. One anecdatum-- they seem to have a contract with the Feds. The DOJ uses them for document sharing with lawyers. That’s a sticky customer!

Wow! I had a lot of typos in that email, using “there” instead of “their” for example. Yes. They have many customers and something like 74% penetration into fortune 100 or 1000 (I know. Makes a big difference. But, I forget.).

I will review their website again. But, market is definitely not too impressed.

Hi Treepak

Whilst the Box SP may have run into traffic recently it is up 50% for me in less than a year holding period so I cannot complain and it is probably as good a valuation as ever given their: revenue growth, minimal churn, deferred revenue visibility, path to breakeven and cash flow improvements.

My view on BOX is that they:

  1. Have an advantage by neutrally providing a suite of apps from a broad range of vendors (MS 365, cyber security, collaboration tools etc)
  2. Together with an active service wrapper (knitting together access, integration, workflow and content management) rather than provide simply cloud storage space
  3. Complimented by emerging proprietary or at least preferential vendor status for killer apps/solutions (such as their partnership with Microsoft and their next target is in AI)

I like Box and am expecting them to break out of their consolidation pattern before long based on fundamentals.

Also - I don’t see a conflict of interest with BOX the way I do with AWS or Ali Baba. If AWS or Ali Baba sees any of their commercial clients doing well they may just decide to compete, take their know how and eat their lunch. Box and to a degree Azure aren’t going to be doing that.

Ant