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Mega reloaded

Divina Paredes | Feb. 28, 2013
Many Silicon Valley startups -- and some global technology companies -- trace their beginnings to a garage, or a university dormitory room.

In the early days of the computer, everybody had their hard drive at home, the government couldn't walk into your house and look at your hard drive contents and prosecute you for it. 

"Our aim was to give people back control over their data and give them back their privacy and of course the straightforward way to that is strong encryption. And then we thought encryption is very cumbersome.

You usually have to have tools for that to somehow remember the encryption keys. If you lose your keys, all of the data is gone."And it is all not really consumer friendly. And then we looked at the browser market and how the browser market has developed in the meantime and the browser's technical ability."

They realised how the web browser, especially Google Chrome, had reached a stage where it would be possible to implement their vision of a proper cloud storage service purely in this environment.

At the time of the interview, Ortmann says the site already had three million registered users. "It is much, much more than what we expected. It is just unbelievable."And "in such a short time", says Van der Kolk. "Dropbox, it took them two years to get three million users. We had it in one month.""We knew we had great visibility but..." says van der Kolk. "...we never expected such a tremendous run on the new service," continues Ortmann.

"Now, already a month after the launch, in terms of number of files, we have a third of what Megaupload had after seven years. That is really crazy."Ortmann says in the CTO at Mega does much of the programming. "In the case of Mega, limited resources didn't give us any alternative," says Van der Kolk. "We did not have significant capital to hire a large team of programmers." 

While they say the work was "great fun", it included a period of 16 to 18 hour workdays, without a day off. "We knew the January 20 anniversary deadline will be coming up and there would be no way of ever cancelling the launch on that date, we are working towards that fixed deadline. And we knew we had to make it."From the minute we launched, we already had hundreds of visitors a second.

There was immense interest, sparked of course by the awesome PR work of Kim Dotcom," says Ortmann."Usually you do soft launches," says Ortmann. "You test code with a small group of people and you make it a little bit more public. Not so with Mega." "There was no burn-in testing that had taken place before the launch. It was quite brave to do it that way and it worked quite well.


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