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Q&A Interview with Co-Founder John Xie

John Xie Interview - Co-founder is an up and coming web app that makes file sharing one small step for a man (or a woman) but aims to make a giant leap for cloud-based file sharing services.  Their tagline is “Share simply,” and they help you achieve it by letting you drag and drop files of any type to your browser and have it uploaded with its own shareable link in seconds. No sign-ups, no software to install, no nothing.

After we wrote up our review of earlier in the week, John Xie, co-founder was groovy enough to take some time to do some sharing of his own so we could get to know a little better.  Prior to founding, John created Cirtex, a web hosting company with revenues of over $2 million last year. Oh wait, did I mention that he was 13 years old when he founded Cirtex? Not bad. Carl has served as Director of technology at Progress Software and CTO at AppZero and is now principal engineer at Amazon. He’s also a photographer, musician and ballroom dancer.

Check out our interview below.

Jack : Can you explain the name first for our readers?

John : Minus is all about simplicity and minimalism and we found the name to be perfect along with the domain name that is even shorter with 5 letters total,

Editors note: Here’s a video that explains the service a bit…

Jack : Which, if any, file sharing service did you personally use before embarking on the project? What bugged you about these services in particular?

John : I have used many if not all of the popular ones out there as sharing files can be for fun or just part of daily work. Not to name any services in particular but the biggest areas I saw for improvement was in the workflow and interface on many file sharing services. Many are just too complicated or simply slow and unreliable.

Jack : If you had to convince someone to switch from imgur or twitpic or one of the other de facto image sharing services and use instead, what would you tell them?

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John : Minus is all about simplicity and flexibility as well, you gotta try it and you will fall in love with it. You can also share files on top of photos, and not only are the galleries interactive for music, videos, text documents, pdf files, Minus is also cross-platform with Desktop, Mobile and Browser applications with much more goodies to come.

Jack : At groovyPost, we are big fans of Dropbox and SugarSync, mostly for the desktop syncing, but they also have file sharing features. What does offer to people who already use these products?

John : We do plan to allow larger file uploading and sharing. If a user wants to do sharing, they should definitely switch to Minus, however if they are looking to backup/sync files we are not the best candidate for now, but that may also change in the future.

Jack : Congrats on winning the Babson Student Business of the Year Award!  I noticed that their criteria emphasized “initiative, character, originality, persistence and success, with emphasis on the learning experience.” Were there bumps in the road for How did you overcome them?

John : Thank you very much, it was an honor to receive the award for Minus but we definitely have a long way to go. There have been many bumps in the road since we launched and just like any startups. One of the toughest problems is definitely dealing with the fast growth, scalability and stability in terms of operations and backend. It is also very tough to find out exactly which features and improvements our users are looking for, and of course prioritizing them and implementing them with the limited resources we have available. However we love what we are doing and all these bumps makes the journey all the more worthwhile and meaningful.

Jack : So, here’s the thing: We think we may be falling for But we’re feeling a little vulnerable after we put all of our hopes and dreams into our previous relationship with, only to have it swept it away by Facebook. How can we be sure that won’t break our hearts?

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John : Minus is here to stay 🙂

Jack : Do you see yourself integrating with Yahoo or some other service similar to how did?  What about an Outlook plugin for easily sharing/collaborating/sending attachments?

John : It is definitely a possibly. We do have an open API at and we are always open to suggestions.

Jack : You mention in your FAQ that you’ve got some ideas percolating re: monetizing the service. Generally speaking, what’s making the short list so far? Pro accounts? Advertising?

John : We have few solid ideas but not much we can share at the moment. Our focus right now is on making Minus more user-friendly.

Jack : Will some sort of free version of always exist?

John : Yes

Jack : Can advertising be done in a minimalist way? Part of me feels that even a text ad would be incompatible with what makes so compelling right now (i.e. its absolute lack of frills and clutter).

John : That is a great question. If we do implement ads, that is definitely the number one problem we will have to solve in displaying ads in a minimal and non-intrusive way to the users.

Jack : Our readers are obsessed with privacy and security. To that end, we really dig support for anonymous uploading and the fact that email addresses are optional for registered users. But is secure enough for uploading truly sensitive documents (e.g. financial data, proprietary company info, the manuscript for my amateur romance novel)?

John : This is something we will continue to improve on over time such as introducing password-protected galleries instead of allowing anyone with the link to open the gallery.  For extremely sensitive documents, you can always share on Minus and then shortly after deleting it after it’s shared if it is of concern.

Jack : Where do you see in 12 months? Five years?

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John : That’s a tough question, but one thing is for sure, we will continue to improve Minus in all aspects based on our user feedback, and stick by our philosophy of universal and simple sharing.

Jack : What’s a cool way to use that a beginner user might not think of?

John : There are many interesting use cases with Minus. For beginners it’s always fun and magical to drag and drop files onto homepage and instantly being able to edit and modify the gallery while it’s still uploading and then sharing that short link with friends, it definitely gives the wow factor. Additionally new users can also test our tools at area.

Editors note:
John, on behalf of the entire groovyPost community, thank you for taking the time and for giving us a deeper view at your groovy new service Our team here at groovyPost will be sure to keep a close eye on your company as its popularity and features continue to grow!

Thanks again!


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