Box turns to Jared Leto to make enterprise tools cool

The cloud computing company taps the Academy Award-winning actor to promote its new suite of enterprise tools for the retail, health care, and media industries.

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Box CEO Aaron Levie watches as actor Jared Leto hands his Oscar off to the audience at Boxworks 2014 for selfies. Donna Tam/CNET

Box CEO Aaron Levie is known for trying to make his company's cloud computing conference more rock concert than enterprise meeting, and this year, he trotted out Oscar winner and musician Jared Leto to help his case.

"It's been an amazing year and now you're capping it off at an enterprise cloud conference," the always comedic Levie said to Leto on stage at the annual Boxworks conference on Wednesday.

"That's true," Leto replied. "I think I should talk to my booking agent."

The actor was on hand to promote Box's new suite of enterprise software tools aimed at specific industries, starting with retail, health care, and media. The software is tailored to the nuances of each industry, according to Levie.

While Levie rolled out plenty of partners to showcase the new tools, including Barney's and Stanford Healthcare, Leto definitely stole the show while discussing Box's role in the media industry. The pair played out a skit where Levie showed off Box's Crunchies award, an award given to technology startups. He noted that Leto wasn't able to win a Crunchie among the stash of awards the actor won this year.

"This feels pretty good," Leto said while holding the plastic Crunchie. "But..." He then took out his Oscar from a bag triumphantly before handing it off to the audience for selfie opportunities.

Leto, who also plays in a band called 30 Seconds to Mars, said he's a Box customer because he thinks the media industry needs to head to the cloud, especially as media distribution changes. Leto added that the music business in particular is holding on to old ways of distributing music -- that some people in the industry are slow to get on the cloud.

"You better jump on board or it's going to be too late," he said.

This was apparent even in the early days of file-sharing with Napster. Leto obviously wants people to spend their money on his music, but he also recognizes the opportunity that comes with technology.

"You have this wonderful platform Napster sitting in their laps," he said. "They could have made a deal and they fucked it up, but they learned lessons from it, like we all do...it's a great time for music, it's a great time for technology."

 

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