What do you do when a giant encroaches on your territory?

This week, Box held its annual conference, BoxWorks 13.  The online storage leader made two big announcements about products it intends to launch in 2014.

Box Notes are editable web pages, which users can write, edit, comment on, and embed content within.  Sound familiar?

Box also announced that it will be adding metadata to files, so that users can attach structured data to those files.  Again, sound familiar?

Both of these 2014 initiatives are available to PBworks users today.  In fact, they’re even part of our free business product.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen giants encroach on our territory.  Back in 2008, Google unveiled Google Sites, their free wiki product, aimed squarely at the wiki hosting market, and companies like PBwiki (which was our old corporate name).

So what do you do if you’re a startup that’s facing a challenge from a giant company that has millions or even billions of dollars to spend?

The answer is to play to your strengths, and keep innovating.

In 2008, we shifted from simple hosted wikis to a broader collaboration suite.  Today, we have the broadest suite on the market, with project management, file sharing, management reporting, and social, in addition to wiki-style collaboration.  As a result, we can deliver an integrated solution that our key customers use to make thousands or tens of thousands of employees worldwide more productive.

Meanwhile, we host more wikis than ever.  The attention Google brought to the market helped generate more interest than before.

We introduced file and page properties (asset-level metadata) earlier this year.  Since then, we’ve released our reporting tools, as well as a visual approach to managing workspaces.

By the time 2014 rolls around, we’ll have released several more key features that are pushing the boundaries of the collaboration space.

Giants are powerful, but their size slows them down.  When they encroach, use your nimbleness to keep innovating.

Published by Chris Yeh

Chris has been building Internet businesses since 1995. He has been a founder, founding employee, or seed investor in almost a dozen startups, including PBworks, and advises a wide array of startups ranging from network equipment makers to vertical search engines. He liked his investment in PBworks so much, he decided to join the company. Chris earned two degrees from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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