Startup success by design

A visit to Canva HQ. As startup founders, we all need stories like this one to inspire us.

Canva OfficeCanva is super cool Australian design software startup recently valued at over $1bn. It’s only the second Aussie tech unicorn after Atlassian.

I’m a fan of their product and recently visited for a tour. It was such a delight to meet the team in my hometown of Sydney. Here are some notes from the experience:

  • The Canva team all stop work and eat lunch at the same time. The communal ground level space lights up with energetic conversation.
  • New team members get shiny star balloons above their desks, and number balloons for work anniversaries.
  • Visual design culture permeates every space, so for example the motivational wall posters are actually cool and meaningful.
  • Creative thinking is felt everywhere. Toy animals in a race show development stages of Canva software features.

Canva lobbyFollowing my recent visits to Airbnb, Facebook & Google in the Silicon Valley, it was great to compare the Canva experience and identify common threads for these innovative companies. At the heart of each one is a team culture powered by diversity, creativity, collaborative thinking and bound by a strong shared vision.

The Canva product UX / UI itself is so well refined and simplified that my kids under 10 can produce great looking graphic design easily (I might be out of a job soon!)

Thanks again to Shipra M for a wonderful tour and my buddy Syed A for arranging everything!

The Journey

I love the article that co-founder Melanie Perkins posted. It’s jam-packed with gems, insights and inspiration from her entrepreneurial journey.