crowdsourcing
Cloud Computing Platforms

Crowdsourcing Innovation: Blazej Marciniak, CEO of Sher.ly Inc

Crowdfunding sites are offering a new path for inventors with original ideas. We talk to inventors looking to gain the public’s favour...

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 Name:
Blazej Marciniak

 Job title: CEO

 Organisation: Sher.ly Inc.

 Location: Palo Alto

 

Product: Sherlybox

sherlybox

What it does & how it works:

It works like a data cloud, but data stays on your own drives. We call it “local cloud”.

What makes it special:

Sherlybox is a storage device powered by our special software. It delivers a new way of sharing your private files with your friends. You can share files or folders with people you trust, anywhere they are. Files are visible instantly without syncing, no bulk uploads, no data size limits. And no catch: no monthly fees.

What’s your background, and what inspired you to come up with the idea?

Marek and I are friends for nearly 20 years, and 5 years ago we came up with idea to bring easy security to people’s communication so we all are not completely dependant on third party service providers owning our data.

I am a network guy specializing in network data transmission technologies and security. I was the inventor of GatelessVPN – Sher.ly secure connectivity technology. I have been managing corporate IT projects for over 15 years, delivering custom infrastructure and mobile solutions for banks and ISP’s across Europe. Sher.ly project is my second startup after PrivacyProtector.

Marek is experienced entrepreneur, with deep understanding of online marketing and SEO. He cofounded and built successful start-ups before Sher.ly with more than 7 million users. For 8 years he was gaining experience in sales and software licensing for DivX, Rovi and BitTorrent.

Why Kickstarter?

We knew this idea is good, but we needed to test it by giving it to people to use. Now we are getting amazing feedback and new ideas we did not consider before.

Is Crowdfunding good for innovation? How so?

Innovation itself is great and we breathe it, but there is a fine line between better and just different. Crowfunding gives great opportunity to test if your idea is actually better or just different.

Reactions on KS so far?

Amazing support and feedback – I’m getting hundreds of questions and comments, all good and encouraging – I’m blown away by how great the Kickstarter community is for makers.

What have you learned from your campaign?

It’s very hard to prepare a good product with small team, no details are negligible – every tiny element matters. You need to have figure out not just the product, but international shipping regulations, different power outlets, dozens of things like that. I feel particularly proud of my team pulling this off.

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There have been quite a few ‘Personal Cloud’ style projects on sites like Kickstarter, what do you think is behind their increasing popularity and how do you make yours stand out?

All current sharing projects synchronize data – we do not. Not entirely, not all the way. Why? Because sync is not smart. You do not care for 1000 files being synced, but the 1001 you need right now. We do not want our small mobile devices and SSD drives to be stuffed with copies of data we do not need right now. We are creating new thing after sync: context-aware cloud file system. It means your devices should know, you have other devices and each is being used in different way – smart data distribution should reflect that.

The NSA stories have reportedly lost US companies billions in revenue, has this affected how you approach security?

That’s a perfect example of better security we offer: we do not distribute or store our users' data – it always remains inside their business or home networks, available only to people whom they invite. Nothing in the middle that the NSA or other organizations can tap into. I do not believe mass surveillance is the answer to security challenges, the same way random police searches in our homes would not improve people’s sense of safety, just enhance the sense of threat.

Cloud computing is often seen as a saviour of Green IT, how important is reducing the impact of power-hungry data centers?

We produce way more data and way faster than we can build up new data centers, even very green ones. I believe we should better use resources we already produce and use, not make more data centers handling endless copies of user's files.

Possible business use/advantage?

We focus on data security and availability for business – our core advantage is deliver the public cloud features directly on users' owned infrastructure, reducing costs, time and risk of data exposure.

Aims for the future?

Our smart software on every mobile device, so people don't think about data availability, just use files they need at the moment.

 

If you’ve got a techy Crowdfunding project going, get in touch


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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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