drew_houston_1For a soft-spoken guy who merely helps you store your files, Drew Houston has always had a surprising cult following in Valley circles. At past Crunchies ceremonies whenever he or Dropbox was nominated for any award the crowd would just explode. One year I sat next to him and even he looked at little caught off guard. Maybe it’s the Y Combinator effect or Houston just bought tickets for all his friends? I’m not sure. But either way, this should be a popular PandoMonthly.

Tickets are on sale now!

It’s fitting that Houston is following our January guest, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky. Dropbox and Airbnb make up more than 95 percent of the value of Y Combinator’s entire portfolio. We wanted to explore what has made these two such disproportionate home runs.

Many would credit the founders, even more than their disruptive ideas. If you were at Chesky’s PandoMonthly and heard his story, it was clear that determination and an innocence of the way the Valley worked were big factors. Most people would have quit long before Airbnb became a hit. So I can’t wait to dig deeper into Houston’s story and see what has really made Dropbox such a runaway hit too.

This month, we’re going to try to do some more creative things with the pre-event networking time, so we’re opening the doors at 5 pm — an hour earlier than usual. We’re going to feature a few like-minded startup vendors we think you should know during this time, including General Assembly, App Developers Alliance, and Advsor.com. If you are new to the community, I recommend you get to know each of them. (FYI, none of these guys have paid for this placement, we just like them and are trying to add some more value to the event since so many new entrepreneurs and developers attend hoping to get plugged into the ecosystem.)

One more thing: We close the doors promptly at 7 pm when the interview starts. It’s incredibly disruptive to the audience and the broadcast when people come late. So please arrive prior to the event. We try to make these events as inclusive as possible and don’t like to turn people away.

Now go buy tickets! As always they’re only $20 and we’ll feed you all the beer and pizza you can handle.

[Image courtesy Hubert Burda Media]