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10 questions for Box CFO Dylan Smith

Nancy Weil | Dec. 20, 2011
I think some of the bigger challenges are really in trying to play the balance between hitting this quarter's numbers -- you really need to be thinking about the now in meeting the numbers -- but also investing in long-term growth.

On the second point, a red flag would be if they aren't familiar with our product and our space. And another red flag would be people speaking really generally about something. When I ask for specific examples and people don't have those, that would be a red flag too, when they speak in more general terms.

8. What is it about your current job, at this particular company, that sets it apart from other chief finance positions?

It is a pretty unique situation, for both my role and relationship with our CEO and just my history with the company. I think I have a lot more say in the strategic vision of the company and just setting the culture, which comes down from Aaron and me. I really focus on the growth and delivering the right information to our executives. Box is growing at an unprecedented rate for a SaaS company, other companies haven't seen the growth we are seeing. Just because we've changed the types of customers we are selling to and we're ramping up our products, that makes it a challenge. We have to set up the forecasting and budgeting process so that we can quickly adjust month-to-month. ... So, I think it's a much more dynamic role than most CFO positions would be.

9. What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?

The two big activities would be either cooking, which is very therapeutic, so I do that, as well as just getting out of the office and going for a run.

10. If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?

I guess if I hadn't had the opportunity with Box and I was still on that pre-med path, I would probably be training to be a pediatrician right now. But now that I have had this experience and how much I enjoy it, I think I would be doing something similar, with a high-growth company. I would maybe want to create that at a different company. But there's no [other] job I'm really envious of at this stage.

 

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