Cameron Adams, Co-Founder of Canva: Growing With a Unicorn

Cameron Adams is the Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer of Canva. In this episode, Cameron talks about the mistakes and lessons he’s learned as he’s grown, and grown with, a company that started in an old shared office with three people into one now worth $3.6 Billion with over 15 million active users worldwide. This is a story of risk and fairy-tale reward, rife with nightmares along the way. 

Cameron Adams

This conversation takes us through the journey from where Cameron grew up, to the present and his vision for the future of Canva. Growing one of only a few of Australia’s ‘unicorn businesses’  meant that Cameron himself has had to personally grow and develop as a person and as a business leader. 

Mistakes made along the way

  • They built a Christmas card feature; which was only used by a handful of people.
  • They created a ‘Social Media’ layer on top of Canva, which didn’t work.
  • They Created the ‘Canva button’ – an integration for partners like Etsy, at their request, which allowed people to create designs right from the partner’s platform. The partners deprioritised this feature for their roadmap and it was never used. 

3 Key Lessons

  1. Be true to yourself and your vision: if someone is trying to get you to build something you don’t truly believe in, don’t.
  2. Be focused and not get too distracted by shiny things, a lot of opportunities may come up that look promising, but they don’t fit your roadmap and waste your time.
  3. Having to rely on other people to grow your business is a really bad place to be in, you always want to be in control of your own destiny.

Show Links

The Man in Blue


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