Why I hate e-mail attachments!

Okay, so hate might be a strong word to use. Better put, I hate e-mail attachments over 1MB. I know, I know, so many of us use Gmail that allows 7.94GB of space. But for those of us who must use Microsoft Exchange for work, you know what it’s like; a colleague sends you their latest PowerPoint presentation (filled with unsightly bullet points and 12-point font, no doubt!) that’s 3MB, another colleague sends you the latest product rollout in Word and supporting PDF’s, you’re up to another 3 or 4MB. By the end of the day, you’ve got a message from your IT Department saying that you’ve exceeded the size of your mailbox and you won’t be able to send or receive any e-mails until you clear out your inbox.

That’s why I’ve taken it upon myself to be the Lone Ranger in my organization and with my customers to show them the light — enter Box.net and Dropbox!

Yes, with great power comes a lot of responsibility and I have solemnly vowed to take on that oath with the great seriousness … even when I’m face with the one colleague insists that I just send her attachments … oh no, I will not play with that kind of kryptonite! (Wow, I just used three different super hero analogies in one paragraph!)

I’ll dedicate this one post to my sincere love that I have for the geniuses at Box.net and write another post on how I use Dropbox. I’ll describe why this service is so cool, how I used it, and why everyone else should too.

Without question, Box.net has become a lifesaver for me both internally and with customers. In case you’re unfamiliar with the service, Box.net in their words say:

“was founded on a simple, powerful idea: people should be able to access and share their content from anywhere. Since 2005, Box.net has helped more than 3 million individuals, small businesses and Fortune 1000 companies do just that. We want to reinvent what businesses can do with their content through Box’s Cloud Content Management platform, made for a new kind of worker, a new kind of workplace and a new kind of IT.” http://www.box.net/company

That’s what I love. Sharing. Made. Easy. All I need to do is upload a file from my desktop. Click on share. Copy hyperlink. Paste in email. Done. Seriously? Can it get any easier than that?! Then you can start getting fancy by adding folders, sharing those folders, copying the hyperlink for that shared folder. Paste in email. Done. Again, couldn’t get easier.

What’s even better is that I can describe a folder (“Product rollout information”), comment on a file (“Here is my latest presentation” [without bullet points courtesy of Presentation Zen] I did last week), and assign tags to the files allowing you to do some very quick and simple searches.

On top of all of this, I can track when someone has viewed my files. As you can see from the screen capture below, there’s an “Updates” hyperlink that allows me to see how many times someone has downloaded one of my files. If I’ve decided to make that person an editor because I’m collaborating, it tells me that someone has made edits. There are also great email notifications as well. I’m pretty sure if I upgraded I’d know who viewed those files. For now, I’m content knowing someone did. That way, when I ask someone what they thought about the presentation – and I know they didn’t view it – it’s always interesting to hear their response! My Box.net homepage looks like this:

Then, Box.net decided that we can not only share, but we can share and collaborate online … move over SharePoint (Sorry, Bill Gates)!! There are various different ways in which you can collaborate.

When you click on the triangle you are presented with several options. For instance, you can invite collaborators so that they can mark up your documents and upload them back to your Box.net account. You can embed your folder on your website making it available for the world, integrate it with LinkedIn, add/edit tags, and even integrate it with several different “apps” in what they call “Open Box”.

Open Box is great because it provides you with seamless integrations with various applications such as Salesforce.com, Twitter, FedEx, Gmail, Outlook, etc. And, as you all know from my previous post on how to Stay on Task, I love programs like these to be everywhere I am – whether I’m in the field, on a plane, in the airport, or in my office – Box.net is available on my iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, and there’s even a mobile version for other cell phones.

In my case, I’ve decided that I can share my documents and/or folders with the world! I can send it to Twitter, Send with Gmail, or Send with Outlook — making the number of clicks between upload and share that much smaller.

There’s other slick features on Box.net that I just haven’t needed to take advantage of such as WebDocs, which allows you to create the equivalent of a Microsoft Word Doc or Google Doc and share it with others, allowing them to collaborate with you.

One last note about uploading files. Uploading files can also be done two other ways: 1) from email – simply by e-mailing your document to upload@box.net; and 2) brand new to Box.net is their incredibly slick way of leveraging HTML5all you need to do is drag your file from wherever it resides on your desktop and drop it right onto the Box.net website … that’s genius!! Keep in mind this only works if you’re using a browser that supports HTML5, like Google Chrome’s.

Like most freemium services (like Remember the Milk and Evernote), you can get really great features if you upgrade.

To all the sales reps at Box.net who have reached out to me in the few months … I know, I know. I get that it’s cool, I just don’t see the need at this particular moment in time. Yes, I could benefit from more space. Yes, I could benefit from branding my homepage. Yes, I can benefit from more control. I’ll get there eventually!

So there you have it. Just like the creators of Box.net say it – it’s sharing made easy. Now, if only everyone would start using Box.net and stop sending me massive files!! Oooh, do I hate email attachments!

Clip to Evernote


About Daniel

Transforming how legal professionals work by creating more effective discovery outcomes and driving value.

Posted on May 29, 2010, in @GTD & productivity and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Holly-Accounting SPOT

    Great post! I too am a HUGE fan of box.net.

    I’d like to add my FAVORITE feature (available on the ‘business’ level). The Preview and online edit is what sets Box.net apart from all the competition. I don’t like having to download, make changes, then upload the new file each time I want to view or make changes. Box.net offers a preview window and even online edits for many file types. I LOVE that!!!!

    Not to mention, their customer service is AMAZING!
    Love them!

  2. Wow! You followed me on Twitter and so I checked out your blog and feel as if I have hit the jackpot. I LOVE Evernote (and have written a couple of very favorable reviews of it myself – including for Cool Tools) and am a big fan of GTD. I also use Dropbox, but did not know much about Box.net.

    Your post has given me a lot of insight to Box.net and I can’t wait to investigate further. But, I read a few additional posts of yours and now have LOTS to investigate. They were all great and full of great and useful information.


    • Thanks so much for your incredible remarks! I’m flattered!! I’m delighted the posts are helping – folks like us need to spread the word like wildfire! By the way, I checked out your blog and I love your write-up of Evernote as well!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: