Lessons From Disruptors: Canva’s Cameron Adams

Lessons From Disruptors: Canva’s Cameron Adams
SHARE
THIS



Online graphic design platform Canva is not its cofounder and head of product Cameron Adams first time at the start-up rodeo, it’s actually his third time. During his presentation on Friday at Daze of Disruption at Crown Melbourne, Adams discussed the three lessons he has learnt from these experiences.

Google

Back in 2007, Adams worked on a secret project in Google’s Sydney Office called Google Wave. Adams describes the projects as “a really ambitious attempt to re-imagine what communication should be like in today’s age”.

Google Wave was an attempt by the global powerhouse to recapture the spirit of a startup within a big company. Created by the same engineers who masterminded Google Maps, Wave lets you and your collaborators build documents—which Google calls “waves”—from conversations. It was the most hyped service Google ever launched, problem was no one understood the platform.

“However at a normal startup there’s one thing that probably influences the direction of your company more than anything else- constraints: you don’t have any money, people, attention, marketing department, accounting or an office. All that influences what you end up building.

“But the beauty of constraints is you really focus on what you’re actually doing. When you don’t have constraints you tend to over engineer things, you put in too many features, you build an ivory tower. This is what happened with Google Wave, so once the users got into the product it was so overwhelming they didn’t know what the platform was.”

Lesson one: Constraints create better companies. If you don’t have constraints all your effort will fill that space.

Fluent

“I left Google with two of my compatriots from Google Wave and we decided to take another run at a communications, so we built a product called Fluent.”

Fluent developed tools and applications to improve email and online communication experiences via desktops, small screens and touch devices.

“From a product and technical perspective we really nailed it, we had a bunch of passionate users who couldn’t wait for us to scale up.

“But through our own inexperience and just a lack of focus on this area we made some really serious business errors. One of these was sending two thirds of our team over to Silicon Valley to raise finances for three months; during which time no product progress was made and we burnt through a lot of our savings.

“I learnt from my experience with Fluent that you really need a team which can build a business not just a product.

“You need a team that has the right skills which can spread across both business, finances and operations. Every aspect of the business not just what you’re building.”

Lesson two: The right team really matters; having the right team with the right skill set that isn’t just focused on product but focused on every aspect of the business.

Canva

“Our ceo Melanie Perkins has been dreaming about democratising  design since she was 19. I’ve been creating products that help people do creative things for fifteen years. So we all see Canva as being part of our lives work.

“It’s what keeps us going when we come up against challenges which look insurmountable. It also keeps us going when we see a golden carrot lying on the road something that could distract us from our mission but is really tempting.

“Think about your life’s work and what you’re really passionate about building is ultimately what helps you build a great company.”

Lesson three: “Make sure you’re doing your life’s work, make sure you’re doing something you are really passionate about.”

More Daze stories here.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.
  • Opinion

Case Study: How Content Helped Tribal Marketing Come To Life Amongst Rev-Heads.

In this guest post, CEO of content marketing agency Edge, Fergus Stoddart (pictured below), says brands would do well to play on their customer’s loyal tribalism… Normally over Christmas, any downtime is spent asleep on the sofa, mildly lubricated with a belly full. This year, with the Ashes in the background, I managed to stay awake […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour
  • Marketing

Red Bull Holden Racing Team Unveils 2018 Cars On Sydney Harbour

Red Bull Holden Racing team took the covers off its 2018 Holden Commodore Supercar today. Floating on a barge in Farm Cove, the harbour provided a stunning backdrop for the reveal. Teammates Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen have won the past two championships for the squad. Whincup, now the greatest of all time with seven Supercar’s titles, […]

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Victorian Government Launches VR Bushfire Experience Via The Fuel Agency

As part of its summer fire campaign, the Victorian government has launched a virtual reality (VR) bushfire experience and content series via The Fuel Agency. The VR experience places the user in the midst of a large bushfire, and is designed to encourage people to leave early on high-risk days before it’s too late. The […]

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass
  • Advertising
  • Media
  • Technology

Local Ad Tech Company VeNA Partners With RugbyPass

ad tech company VeNA has signed an exclusive reseller partnership covering Australia and New Zealand with digital rugby network RugbyPass. Across Asia and parts of Europe, RugbyPass is the exclusive digital rights holder and over-the-top broadcaster for live rugby, including the Super Rugby, the Rugby Championship and autumn internationals, the Six Nations, the Aviva Premiership, […]

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD
  • Advertising

SpotX Appoints Gavin Buxton As Asia MD

Video advertising platform SpotX has announced it has appointed Gavin Buxton as managing director of Asia to lead the company’s expansion in the region. Buxton has over 17 years’ global experience in the digital advertising space, having worked in leadership roles at tech and publishing companies, including Microsoft, Turner Broadcasting, and LinkedIn, with the last […]

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands
  • Advertising
  • Technology

Big Mobile Doubles Down On Ad Tech & Rebrands

B&T Awards 2017 finalist Big Mobile has unveiled a fresh look to reflect its new ad tech credentials. The company successfully pivoted its business from ad network to mobile ad tech vendor when it announced a joint venture (JV) with Widespace in October last year. As a result of the business changes, Big Mobile wanted […]

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager
  • Advertising

March One Appoints New Senior Account Manager

Independent ad agency March One has appointed a fresh face to the team, with Melanie Tozer to reinforce its mission to put humans first as a senior account manager. Tozer (pictured above), an up-and-coming talent from New Zealand, will align her extensive experience in FMCG marketing with March One, having worked on accounts for Bunnings […]