The sustainable way Canva is getting 10 million users every month

Our guest today is Cameron Adams. Cameron is the Co-Founder of Canva which is a graphic design business that helps customers create beautiful designs and documents.

What is Canva? Imagine you need to create an image and you don’t have a designer on staff or the project’s too small to need one. Well, Canva is an online software that you can use to easily create them, publish them and share them.

You won’t believe the traffic they are able to create. Here’s their story.

Cameron Adams

Cameron Adams

Canva

Cameron Adams is the Co-Founder of Canva which is a graphic design business that helps customers create beautiful designs and documents.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, Freedom Fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart, with my first day back after taking some time off for the summer. You guys still saw the recordings, and I’ll talk about that in a moment. But I’ve been off, I’ve been away. I’ve been having such a good time. First, before I talk about my summer, I want to introduce you to our guest today.

He is Cameron Adams, the cofounder of Canva. What’s Canva? Imagine you needed to create an image, I don’t know, maybe that top image for the top of your Facebook page, or you wanted to turn a quote into a beautiful designed item that you can post on Instagram, or maybe you just want to print business cards, and you don’t have a designer on staff, or the project is too small to really need a designer. Canva is online software that you can use to easily create all those beautiful designs, and easily publish and share them. And that’s what today’s guest company does. Right, Cameron?

Cameron: Definitely. That’s a very accurate description, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks. I was expecting Cameron to be a little bit shaky today, but I’m like, he never missed a beat. I’ll tell you what I did this summer. I was starting to get burned out before the summer, and feeling like now that I have a kid, and I got a wife, and obligations, and people were counting on me at the company, and clients, what I usually would like to do if I’m feeling a little burned out is just fly over to Paris, or go fly somewhere else for a week, and just sit and read, and think, and wander.

And Paris is beautiful for that, because I could sit in the cafes for hours, read for hours, journal for hours, go for walks in these beautiful gardens. And frankly, Paris, in August, is especially nice for me. I know it’s hot for most people, but for me it’s great because there’s hardly anybody there. So I’ve got like the whole city to myself. But I couldn’t do that this summer because, like I said, I have kid, obligations, and so on.

I was starting to get really bummed about that, and then I suddenly ended up, because of a past interviewees event in Napa. I love Napa, and I said, “Why don’t I come here more often?” So I started driving to Napa on a regular basis and just working there with my laptop. Then I discovered Sonoma, and then I discovered Petaluma, all these beautiful places. So that’s what I’ve been doing this summer, with my laptop, sitting and journaling, thinking, disconnecting, working on new projects, often by the pool, always in the sun, and it’s just all about an hour drive away from San Francisco where I live. And it’s been great. I feel refreshed, and it’s so good to come back and just feel like nothing happened. I didn’t skip a beat. What about you?

Cameron: That sounds amazing.

Andrew: It really freaking was. I know why I don’t usually work outside of the office without a laptop, it’s hard to lug a mic like this into a coffee shop, and it’s hard to get set up in a new environment every day. But it’s nice, every once in a while, to just break the routine and go somewhere inspiring. And, dude, Northern California, north of San Francisco is really inspiring. Napa is beautiful. I’d sit there in a garden all day. Anyway, what about you? What did you do this summer?

Cameron: It just hit spring over here in Australia, where we are.

Andrew: Oh, yeah, I forget you guys are the other side of us.

Cameron: Yeah, exactly. We just emerged from winter. But winter in Sydney isn’t much of a winter at all. It’s still pretty sunny and you don’t get much rain. So yeah, we’ve been enjoying the weather. I’ve got two kids, as well. They’re aged two and four, so spend a lot of time with them as much as I can when I’m not at work.

Andrew: Do you ever feel like you cannot take off in a moment’s notice and go to, I don’t know, what’s the Australian version of Vegas?

Cameron: Australian version of Vegas would be… I don’t think there’s an Australian version of Vegas. But maybe the Gold Coast.

Andrew: Right, the Gold Coast, and sit on the beach and just enjoy the sun for a bit. Do you feel like maybe sometimes you can’t do that and it’s a little frustrating?

Cameron: I definitely can’t do that. But kids are their own award. We haven’t been on holiday for four years, and we’re definitely approaching the age where we can get away with them, and we’re going to try that a bit later this year.

Andrew: And you’ve got all these obligations. I see, in my notes here, from before this summer, that you said you were going to be profitable soon. Did you hit profitability yet, or when are we expecting it?

Cameron: Definitely very soon. We just launched Canva for Work product, which has really pushed up our revenue a fair bit.

Andrew: What is it? Canva for Work?

Cameron: Yeah, that’s kind of our business enterprise offering. That’s seen fantastic uptake, and we should be getting into the black by the end of the year.

Andrew: I didn’t say it yet, but I’ll say that my sponsor is Freshdesk, really simple, beautiful, fully featured help desk software. I’ll tell you more about them later, but now if you want to sign up, just go to Mixergy.com/freshdesk. Later on I’ll tell you about them. Let me ask you this, I know that one of the biggest uses right now for your software is, like I said, social media shares. So I went to your Facebook page to see what’s at the… what is that top called? I forget right now, the image at the top.

Cameron: Facebook cover.

Andrew: The cover. Yeah, I looked to see what your Facebook cover was, and what your Facebook photo was. Your Facebook photo is the one that’s built into Facebook. Right?

Cameron: You mean my actual profile.

Andrew: Yeah, your personal. I said, “Let me see if the founder is using his software. The founder can’t be bothered with social media even.”

Cameron: I actually played a little game. My personal blog that I’ve been running for about 15 years now, it’s called The Man in Blue, that kind of emerged out of me drawing a silhouette of myself, and my favorite color being blue. And the avatar that you actually see is kind of the Facebook avatar that’s actually in my blue color. So it’s a bit of a joke there.

Andrew: I see. But you’re not huge on social, I mean, you’re not hugely into social media, right?

Cameron: I’m not huge on Facebook. I’m really into Twitter. I’ve got about 4,000 followers there. Not a huge amount, but still lets me have some decent conversations. And I think, for me, I’m fairly professionally oriented. I like checking out what’s in the design space and what’s in the front end engineering space. And I find Twitter is a lot more useful for that than Facebook.

Andrew: Here’s my analysis of the company. Tell me if I’m wrong. First of all, according to SimilarWeb, you guys have over 10 million visitors a month, am I right?

Cameron: Ten million visitors, [inaudible 00:06:29] visitors, I’m mostly focused on our active user base, signups, and that kind of thing. But that sounds pretty accurate.

Andrew: What’s your active user base?

Cameron: Our active user base is currently sitting at about 800,000. We’re coming up to 5 million users probably towards the end of this month, and that’s happened in the space of roughly two years.

Andrew: When I say, I want to get to know how you built up this company, and how you got users on, how you got so many users, frankly, into the system, and where the revenue is coming from. But here’s my analysis, you guys don’t want to be the people who create social media objects like Facebook covers. You hit on it with your software, and that’s what’s taking you off.

But your vision was to say, “Software for design is too complicated for a guy like Andrew to use, but design is important enough for a guy like Andrew to have to use.” Andrew meaning me. “We’re going to create the simple way for people like Andrew and people in the audience to use design software, and to design things simply, and social media objects like those images with quotes on them, are the first big hit, and they are so viral that they’re taking off.” Am I right?

Cameron: Definitely. It’s kind of, I don’t know, you can always say it’s kind of a gateway drugs. There’s a lot of increase in visual design at the moment, and people’s understanding of how they communicate with combinations of pictures and words. Social media is the most obvious example of that because everyone is on it. Everyone is on it a lot of the time. But flowing from that, you’ve seen that affecting how people communicate in business, how people communicate personally, not just on social media. But if they are getting something printed in a magazine, or they are sending an email, they need an attachment, how they work within their documents. A lot of it is becoming a lot more graphical and visual. And we see Canva as fitting squarely in that niche.

Andrew: It looks to me like you guys have tried a bunch of different things to get here. I have an email in my inbox from 2013 from a guy named Peter Cooper who is an audience member who I’ve become friends with, and it says, “Peter Cooper designed a card for you. Click to open.” And I clicked, and that link is now gone, but it’s on Canva. And it was a greeting card that you guys were doing for a while, right? The greeting cards you thought were going to be the viral thing that would bring people into your world.

Cameron: Yeah, we didn’t put a huge bet on that one, but it was something we wanted to try out. I think, as Christmas comes around, you kind of feel that you should be able to take advantage of people’s Christmas spirit, and the amount of communication that they do around the time. So we thought we’d try putting in a Christmas card feature. We already had cards as a design tab within Canva, but we do have a few special Christmas designs, and gave people a special way of sharing that card.

We rolled that out. It went okay, it wasn’t a huge hit. Something we kind of found is looking for one-off viral campaigns isn’t really a sustainable way to run a business. And we’re always surprised by just how much organic growth and building upon your existing user base, and slowly adding people who really love the product is much more effective than trying to get this one-hit wonder where some person says, or shares it on social media, and you get 100,000 people coming into the site.

Andrew: What I’m wondering, then, is how are you getting people to come into you? You’re doing millions of hits, I see your traffic here in SimilarWeb, and I’m trying to figure out what the referral process is like. I don’t get it. Is it, I get an image and I got one here on my screen, I share it on Facebook, where does my audience, where do my followers and friends who see me post this thing on Facebook, how do they know that I got it from Canva, and come to you?

Cameron: We’ve found by offering a great product, and a seamless experience, people just naturally share that with their friends. Particularly, friends and colleagues, particularly within the spaces that we’re moving. So marketing people, social media marketers, small businesses. People are often asking them for advice, how they did something. And we’ve found that our Canva users just love using Canva so much that they’ll recommend it to all the people they know.

Andrew: So you’re in social media and you’re not even… there’s no social media mechanism to bring people back? It’s all that people just will talk about you? I’m sharing your post right now on Facebook, “Good news. The design is ready. It’s your birthday.” There it is. That’s what is. Most people are getting to share a Facebook page, and when you do, it says, “Designed on Canva,” and it brings you back. So it’s not…

Cameron: We do have the usual “Share on Facebook, Share on Pinterest and Twitter,” and those kind of buttons within our editor. But we don’t actually see a huge amount of use out of those. People definitely use them, but in terms of traffic coming into Canva, we find that people writing blog posts, or people writing social media posts, or people who are doing video tutorials about Canva, all that kind of stuff is much better for traffic generation than putting a watermark on your image, or expecting people to click on a Designed in Canva link.

Andrew: There’s no watermark on the image, right?

Cameron: No.

Andrew: But there is, if I use the share button, then it’s Designed in Canva, and it links back?

Cameron: Yeah.

Andrew: Got you, okay. And when I look to see what people are saying about you, where is that? Traffic sources, referrals. This SimilarWeb is fantastic. I interviewed the guy who sold this company to SimilarWeb. We became friends and he set me up with the SimilarWeb pro account. Now I feel like I got all this insight. But it’s still never enough. I always want more. So for example, I see Blog.BufferApp.com, they wrote a post that included Canva as a way of creating social images, right?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: And I see Medium, and HubSpot, and I think you wrote a post on HubSpot, right? A while back?

Cameron: Yeah, we’ve had a bunch of content partnerships, particularly HubSpot for online marketing and Buffer, as well, for social media. Creating those partnerships with companies who share the same sort of audience that you want to go after, has been very valuable.

Andrew: So what’s your process for getting people like DesignTAXI to link to you, for getting Medium articles, for getting HubSpot or other partnerships?

Cameron: We have a great content marketing team here who are working 24/7, and they firstly write great content. We are always looking for great article ideas, and anything we write we make sure it’s the best thing on the web. So if you want to link to something about business cards, you’ll be linking to our design school, which is our blog.

And then once we’ve got that article there, we then [inaudible 00:13:40], send out recommendations, talk to the people at HubSpot, and Buffer, etcetera, and say, “Hey, we’ve got this great article here. We think it’d be valuable for you to talk about it, or do you want to share some of the content? You could have five of the snippet points from the business card article and link to the rest of the article.” People generally are really desperate for content, and high quality content, as well.

Andrew: So you write a longer post… Sorry to interrupt, but I want to make sure I understand. You write a longer post on your site, and then you clip it and you post it on someone else’s site with a link back to you?

Cameron: That’s one of the strategies, yeah. That’s generally how DesignTAXI handles things. They will see a blog post either on our site or someone else’s site, and they will take a few of the best snippets and then link back to the longer article.

Andrew: That’s the most powerful thing, like if I’m listening to this interview and I feel like I want one thing that I can do that has worked for Canva. What would that be?

Cameron: Just create great content. Once you create great content, everything else flows.

Andrew: Be more specific. If it’s great content, then what… You know when you were looking to raise money and you raised money, right?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: Can you imagine if somebody would have walked up to you… or you would have walked into an entrepreneur and said, “Give me some advice on how to raise money,” and they would have said, “Just have a great conversation with that venture capitalist,” and walked away. You go, “Dude, which venture capitalist? What makes a great conversation? Be a little more specific.” So let me ask you this, if you say writing great content is the heart of it all, be more specific.

Cameron: We do a lot of research into what our articles are done. There’s actually an article that our lead growth person wrote. I think it was on HubSpot. He wrote about all the techniques we use, and one of the techniques that we’ve been blown away by, so he introduced it to us, is just researching the topic. So if you want to write about business cards, look up every other blog post about business cards. See what the content is like, what they’re writing about, what they’re not writing about, and from that, synthesize the ultimate business card post.

You can then also do a lot of other things like back linking. So often blogs will disappear, content will disappear from the web, and if you find other sites that link to the dead website, you can contact them and go, “Hey, we’ve got this awesome article about business cards. The one you’ve linked to doesn’t exist anymore. I think it’d be helpful for your readers to link to us.” By having that great content and getting in touch with the right people, you kind of link the two up together.

Andrew: And I just see a lot of HubSpot articles about you guys. But I was trying to see if it was your writers who are doing it. It’s not your writers, right?

Cameron: No, we’ve done a couple of guest posts on HubSpot, but a lot of it is just generated by other people.

Andrew: Just before this, you were working for Google, and you were working for a product that, I think, only people who are obsessed with tech will remember at this point, but they’ll remember it really well. It’s Google Wave. How would you describe what Google Wave was?

Cameron: Google Wave’s mission was to reimagine communication for the modern age. In particular, looking at how people used email, and docs, and how those were integrated. So it’s kind of like a new age email that was real-time, and collaborative, and totally in the browser. It was a massive technical fit, but it was partly ahead of its time, and also slightly directionless. We had a great bunch of technology and a really interesting vision, but we just didn’t manage to execute on it.

Andrew: What do you mean? Where did you fall short?

Cameron: Probably in locking down on a really cool user case. I think we were kind of building very foundational technology. If you think of email, email, 30 years ago, was just a protocol for sending a message from one person to another. And in the intervening 30 years, people have built up various use cases, and habits around email and how they use it.

I think we were building something very similar to email, but the use cases weren’t very fully formed, and we went very good at explaining those use cases. And, I think, particularly looking at Canva, you kind of have to lock down on a really narrow use case first and figure that out, and make sure that people are really using it for that purpose, and then you can start going broad.

Andrew: Even though your dream was, your vision was to create a new design tool that the average person can use. You don’t want to open it up to do everything, because then it’s too confusing and you get the Google Wave problem.

Cameron: Exactly, yes.

Andrew: I don’t remember Google Wave as being, I think you said it was an email replacement. To me, it was email replacement and chat, and it was also a way for news sites to keep their new stories updated on a regular basis, if you remember. So you can go to the same article, and suddenly, if news happened since the time the article was originally written, Wave would allow it to get updated. And it could be embedded in websites, or maybe it could be blog comments too. It’s just so much, right?

Cameron: It also had games, and it also had robots that could update your documents. It was a lot of things, and that’s…

Andrew: Did you guys get any user feedback from it while you were inside? I was so curious about that.

Cameron: We had a lot of people that were very passionate about it. And you kind of started to see theories and issues spring up. One of them was like it’s a mass chat program, because you could essentially have a thousand people all commenting on the same document. Another was real-time collaboration. At the time, Google Docs wasn’t as polished as it is now, and our real-time collaboration was a lot faster and more granule than Google Docs at the time. So a lot of people were very interested in that. Us, as a team, were really using it. So the Google Wave team, hopefully, your own team uses your product, but…

Andrew: What about before, I remember the document collaboration. It was like magic, where someone would decide they were going to write a guide to something, and they would invite hundreds of people on some message board, and they’d all get together and write it. And by the end, it was just this beautiful experience to watch. Am I right about that? That was Wave, wasn’t it, that it could that?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: It was like Google Docs, like you said, before Google Docs, in addition to all the other things that we said. But all of those use cases were discovered after you launched. Before you launched, did you do what Eric Ries said, entrepreneurs should do, which is bring in potential users, sit them down, see how they interact with the product, and then see if they get it, or was it a lot of internal Google people giving feedback?

Cameron: Initially, it was a lot of internal Google people. The product was in development for about 18 months before we started user testing. So by that time, a lot was invested in features and engineering, and infrastructure that goes into building a product. We brought some users in. They were kind of wowed by the technology, but a lot of them were lost, like, “What do I do? What’s the main use case for this?” And we kind of saw that in the user testing, but it was hard to turn the ship around at that point.

Andrew: I see. By then you already had so many internal people look at it and build it out, and then by the time real customers used it, it was hard to turn the ship. Am I understanding right?

Cameron: Yeah, pretty much. In that kind of thing, you build up a lot of inertia. We had 60 people working on the product, so about 50 engineers. And you have a lot of time invested into these features. That’s 50 man years spent across 2 years. So it’s a lot built already, and just throw some of that away feels very wasteful. So we kind of took the approach of, “Well, we’ve built a lot of features. We should get these out in the world and see what happens.”

Andrew: But there was a sense of dread internally, it seems like.

Cameron: Yeah, a little bit. Some people were more optimistic than others. But you kind of get the vibe that it was almost a 50-50 call as to whether it’d be successful or not. But we kind of put it out, anyway, and the result was a passionate user base, but not enough typically Google scale to continue the product.

Andrew: You then, and by the way, I was really impressed that Google didn’t continue to push and push, and push and push, and try to make people get it. They said, “It’s not working,” and they accepted it and moved on. You moved on, you got to explore it within Google, and the place where you landed. And Google is so good at letting people just explore and see what fits, if they’re good people. The place where you landed was Google Plus. Was that different? How was it different?

Cameron: That was very different. Being in Australia, the experience that you have with Google is slightly different to someone in Silicon Valley. At the time, we had about 200 people in the Google office in Sydney. You don’t have a great deal of contact with the American side of things. That also means you work on slightly different products. They were trying to have self-contained products. Maps was working out at Sydney, because that’s when Google Maps was invented. And I think a bit of Docs was working out at Sydney.

I went to San Francisco for about a month to work on Google Plus, which wasn’t released at the time. Now we’re doing a massive sprint on Google Plus. They’ve pooled about 400 people into Google Plus, in the space of six months, to build this thing and get it out.

Now we are doing a lot of experimenting in ideation with the design side of things. So I just popped onto the design team there and helped out with a few ideas. I just came in quite late to the piece, so a lot of it was already invented. But I added my two cents. And it was definitely an interesting experience, because, on Google Wave, I was the only designer on the product. On Google Plus, they had a team of over 20 designers. Twenty designers in a room, all talking and firing ideas, it gets to be chaotic. Seeing that process was very interesting.

Andrew: What did you take away from that experience?

Cameron: From that experience, I didn’t have huge hopes for Google Plus. It was very reactionary to the rise of social media and Facebook, and I think they knew they needed to do something, they just weren’t quite sure what. And Google Plus looked like the kind of product that people might use, but obviously it didn’t have as much.

Andrew: And internally, you felt that. You felt internally, “We are trying to copy Facebook, and internally, this just doesn’t seem like a winner yet.”

Cameron: Yeah, I personally did.

Andrew: You think the others did to?

Cameron: I think there are quite a few other people who did, too, yeah.

Andrew: Then you met Melanie Perkins. What was Melanie doing before Canva?

Cameron: Before Canva she was doing Canva Alfa, which is… she’d grown up in Perth. We’re based over here in Sydney on the East Coast of Australia, and Perth is five hours west on the other side of the country. Her, and Cliff, my co-founders, had been working on a yearbook business for about four or five years. They’d started that in a garage, and slowly grown that up. And that was a design tool that was specifically aimed at school yearbooks. Schools could get their kids put in all their photos, put in a few articles about the year, and then get that printed physically. That had been pretty successful, and was growing into the biggest school yearbook provider in Australia.

Andrew: Really? We’re talking about FusionYearbooks.com, right?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: It was the biggest yearbook provider in Australia.

Cameron: Yearbook provider.

Andrew: Yearbook, yeah. That’s impressive.

Cameron: That was one of the things that impressed me about them when I first met them, is them finding this field, starting with very little money and growing that up to be this pretty impressive business. But Mel’s vision has always been well beyond yearbooks. She has always wanted to revolutionize the design field and make it easier to design anything. That was the next stage which was Canva, and they we’re looking for someone with product and tech experience at the time, and I got chatting to them.

Actually, funny story, the first time I walked in, my ex-boss from Google got me to talk to them about HTML5 and what that could do for their products. And I walked in, and Mel was like, “Oh, you’re here for a job interview?” And I’m like, “No, I’m running my own company. I don’t want to join yours.” And then I got talking to them, over the months, we just figured out the idea, and I became really attached to what Mel was talking about, and we ended up starting a company together.

Andrew: What was your company idea?

Cameron: Right after I left Google, I left with two other Google engineers, and we started a new type of email product which this is about 2011, I think. It ended up turning out very similar to Google inbox. It’s kind of a stream of information that you could read your email.

Andrew: We’re talking about Fluent.io.

Cameron: That’s the one. A lot of people really loved that product, but we also had no idea how to run a proper business. So it’s very fortunate that I met two great business people in Melanie and Cliff.

Andrew: I see. Why isn’t Melanie doing this interview?

Cameron: Mel is an extremely busy person, and she’s kind of shied away from speaking to for the moment just because she gets so many requests for it, and she just doesn’t have enough time to actually stand at the company, and also talk to all the people.

Andrew: I get it. I feel like, because she’s such a good, strong businesswoman, and because, frankly, there aren’t enough female entrepreneurs on Mixergy, and sites like Mixergy, she’d be a killer guest. But, you were recommended to us by Andrianes ?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: Andre, I guess, right?

Cameron: Yeah.

Andrew: Andre is someone who works at Canvas, at Canva, excuse me. That means you guys internally pursued this interview. Why did you pursue this interview? What were you hoping to get out of doing a Mixergy interview?

Cameron: You guys are very well respected in the entrepreneurial space, and just generally, you get really great traffic, and really great people listening. And having access to that audience is a wonderful thing.

Andrew: All right. Let me do a quick sponsorship message to help my sponsor, again, in front of that audience. It looks like I’ve waited a little bit longer than I ordinarily would, but it’s only one sponsor, so they’re going to get a lot of attention from this interview.

The sponsor is Freshdesk. Here’s the problem, we all have it. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve got this issue. Customers are emailing you nonstop. And they should because you want to interact with your customers, you want to know when they have problems. You want to just respond to them faster, they know that you’re really there, and they feel confident about buying from you. Problem is, if your inbox keeps getting slammed, you can’t respond to enough people.

So here’s what you do. You go to Freshdesk, you sign up. You’re going to have the ability to respond to people, even if you are a one-person organization. And, as you hire more people, even if they’re just virtual assistants who are not in your office, who work just part time, they can respond to the email on your behalf and leave you just the ones that are critical. And today it’s so easy to hire a team of people who are going to help you with customer support.

But beyond that, say you find that there are a handful of questions that just keep coming up over and over, and over again, and you’re tired of answering them. Well, with Freshdesk, you have a couple of different ways to do it. One, you could just add it to your resources online within help desk system, and it will be on your domain. So it could be help.yourcompany’sname.com. Or you just create those shortcut answers so that you or your team members could just respond with a canned response, just like Gmail, but it’s a shared canned response, so everyone on the team gets to say the same thing clearly, and you’re not each saying something different.

And you respond to your customer with this answer, make it really easy for you, and your customer feels heard, and your customer gets the support that they need. That’s just one or two different features that Freshdesk has, and, boy, it’s got every feature that you’re going to need.

Let me go over to Freshdesk, but I’m going to do Mixergy.com/freshdesk, because when you do, they’re going to take care of you like a friend of Andrew’s. Actually you’re there, do they have any discount here? No, I think it’s basically, frankly it’s free, unless you have a big enough team that you’re ready to start paying. But one of the things I like about signing up, or why I recommend that you guys sign up under my name, meaning, go to Mixergy.com/freshdesk, is, number 1, I get credit for it, and I want credit, I want my sponsors to know that it’s working.

Number 2, when a sponsor knows that you are a Mixergy fan, and you signed up because of Mixergy, they’re not going to want… they’re going to want to take really good care of you. They’re not going to want a Mixergy fan to go out there and complain to me. They know that I got your back, too.

So go to Mixergy.com/freshdesk, sign up, you’ll see why big companies like Cisco, like Clear Channel, and even small startups, are all using Freshdesk to handle their customer support. And you’re going to see their mobile app, you’re going to see they’ve got everything in there. These guys are incredibly well-funded, and have tons of customers, and there’s a reason why they just keep taking over the help desk space. Go check them out and understand for yourself by going to Mixergy.com/freshdesk. Cameron.

Cameron: Andrew.

Andrew: People are starting to come into the office as we are doing this interview. I saw it looked like one or two people were.

Cameron: Yeah, we’ve got a couple of [inaudible 00:31:52] coming in. Could get noisy.

Andrew: What time is it by you?

Cameron: 7:55 in the morning.

Andrew: Thanks for getting up so early to do this. When you joined this team, were you made an equal shareholder, or did Melanie have a bigger share than you?

Cameron: Mel and Cliff had a bigger share. It was based off a lot of the work they did was Fusion books, so they put a lot of hard [inaudible 00:32:19] into it, so they should definitely reap the rewards. But on a structural level, we’re all kind of equals.

Andrew: What does that mean, on a structural level, you’re all equals?

Cameron: Just in the decision making process, and how we figure out where the company is going, and how it grows, what the office looks like, stuff like that.

Andrew: I see, and did Fusion Yearbooks help fund the business, originally?

Cameron: They didn’t put any money. It’s a separate entity. And it’s still running. It’s under a different manager now, and Mel and Cliff drop in infrequently to check on the progress and make sure it’s all running okay. But they are 100% focused on Canva at the moment.

Andrew: So here’s what you guys did that’s different, learning from Google Wave. What you did was, you said, “We’re going to build a prototype, and we’re going to get it into users’ hands fast.” Am I right?

Cameron: Pretty fast. I think it took about six months building, to get to a prototype stage. Then we started putting that in front of people. It definitely wasn’t ready for usage at the time, so we were looking at how they interpreted design, how they interacted with design, how easy it was, what hurdles they hit. So it’s definitely some aspect of user testing in there, and looking at user and seeing what was [inaudible 00:33:42].

Andrew: Where did you find these users?

Cameron: Initially it was just friends. They are the easiest people to recruit. You can just get them around for drinks, or someone will walk into the office and you can just grab them for five minutes and put them in front of the program. That’s the easiest way to test your program. And then you sort of widen that out from there.

Andrew: When you were talking to your friends, what’s one friend’s feedback that was especially helpful for you?

Cameron: Feedback back then, that was a while ago. I think, for me personally, because I focus very closely on the UI, it was a lot of UI questions, and also the way the brand’s perceived. The style of the interface was very dark back then. We had these textures, and just how people perceived the app purely by changing the visuals was quite helpful back then.

Andrew: I’m looking at an early, early version of it, back before you were launched, and it was black with a guy vomiting a rainbow on a cloud, in the background. Was that you?

Cameron: Yes. That’s not me vomiting, but that’s actually one of our illustrative contributors who is quite good at drawing funny things. Yeah, we’ve compiled a bunch of the outworks that we were going to be put into the app, and use that as one of our backgrounds.

Andrew: It kind of looks like graffiti, but it’s really well designed graffiti. You were talking to your friends, at what… Actually, let’s go on with what you said. You broadened your reach, what’s the next group of people that you brought in to get feedback from?

Cameron: Once you got a random person off the street, you start narrowing down on people that will actually use the product, so you know your ultimate target audience. So after that, we were looking for people who were running their own businesses, and people who do a lot of marketing, and social media marketing. So you talk to your friends, they have friends who do that kind of work, and they put you in touch, and you hit them up our email and say, “Hey, we’ve got this new product. Would you like to come in and test it?”

We ran a few testing sessions like that where we’d get in about five people into a room, give them free pizza or ice cream, then spend the afternoon running through the application, and then talking about what they need for their business, like, how often do they design flyers? How active are they in social media? All that kind of stuff.

Andrew: And you were in those meetings?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: How often would someone design flyers? I don’t design flyers, at all.

Cameron: Flyers, definitely not. You have an infrequent need. We actually did see different segments of the market require really different things. Obviously, at the moment, social media is quite a big market. But, often among small business, you often see a need for people, for business cards, definitely still. We had quite a few people who ran their own market stalls. One person made handmade soap, so they needed packaging for their soap, they needed signage for their stall, they did need flyers for people to take to see what their product range was. So there is still a surprising range of print products that need to be made.

Andrew: Cameron, when someone tells you, “I really need packaging for my soap,” you don’t go after that, right? Because, the market size for people who need packaging for their soap is too small, right?

Cameron: Yes.

Andrew: So how do you, as you are talking to people and see their issues, how do you decide what’s a big enough need, and what’s just not big enough for you guys to focus on?

Cameron: You just look at the resonance with the audience. We put up various different design types, and we’re constantly designing new ones. A default set includes Facebook posts, and posters, and business cards, and that type of thing, but we’re always trying out new design. So yesterday, we released magazine covers, resumes and e-books. We’ve seen the need for those through our support mechanisms, and people giving us feedback, but once you release it, that’s the real test of how popular they’re going to be. And we constantly track the usage of every one of our design types, and if any design type isn’t performing particularly well, then we won’t focus on it too hard.

Andrew: What’s one that you thought would do really well, but nobody cared about?

Cameron: Christmas cards, definitely one of those, from what you mentioned earlier. I’m trying to think of another one. Probably photo collages was one that didn’t go particularly smashingly. It can happen for a variety of factors like, is the name “photo collage” attractive to people? Is there something inside there that they would actually use if you packaged in a different way? That’s the types of things you have to experiment with.

Andrew: I tried you guys for, what was it? I think Presentation is your name for it? Which is basically slides like Keynote, an easy interface. The thing that I found was, I would do one slide, and then I’d want to have the second slide, and the second slide could either look and have the exact same template as the first, or be blank. Did I miss something? Is there a way to say, “I want this style, but the next page should not look exactly the same as the first.”?

Cameron: You definitely didn’t miss anything. From the original origins of the product, we’ll focus very much on one page, one design. You are designing a social media post, you don’t want 15 that all look very similar. But Presentations is something we did introduce, and we have seen a big need for having sets of presentation designs that all kind of look similar, but work for different content. And that’s something we’re working on at the moment. That should be released shortly, and you’ll be able to see a presentation, so like a blue presentation, and you can click on that and get more of the same style, so its [inaudible 00:40:03] and slide deck.

Andrew: And so you’ve got infographics, you’ve got Tumblr posts, a really broad collection. You finally kept doing all these customer conversations, you kept improving the product, it was time for you to launch. It looks to me like when you guys launched, you know everyone says, “Give me your email address, and I’ll let you know as soon as we launch,” you know those pages, kind of Launchrock has. Launchrock does a little bit more than that, but they’re basically email collections where you guys do, and I can’t find it now on my screen. But what you guys did was, you said, “Lock in your URL.” There it is, so it can be Canva.com/andrewwarner. Is that something you continued to use afterwards? Is it still in play, and I just hadn’t seen it? Or, was it an attempt that didn’t work out? Actually you do still have it.

Cameron: The campaign was effective, at the time, definitely. It got people interested, and there’s a bit of [inaudible 00:41:06] there of you missing out on having the perfect URL on this new site. So definitely it got people interested. We didn’t continue it, just because it was no longer a closed product, you could just sign up. Anyone could sign up. So having it there wasn’t as much of an impetus to enjoy the product. We’re just kind of focused more on the product now, and telling people about the product and getting them excited about it.

Andrew: But also having a Canva.com/andrewwarner isn’t your goal.

Cameron: No.

Andrew: It’s a feature, but it’s deemphasized. I can see I have my own URL there.

Cameron: Yeah, it’s definitely deemphasized, at the moment. We have seen a lot of interesting stuff go through people’s profile, and it’s been a great way for us to see a lot of the work that people are producing. So your work is private on Canva, unless you choose to make it public. And we have seen a lot of people making their work public, and some of the work they do is incredible. And seeing the number of organizations around the world that are using Canva has been amazing.

Andrew: Let’s talk about then how people saw that page. Was TechCrunch the first big hit?

Cameron: Yeah, we did a bit of PR just prior to our launch. And TechCrunch was probably the most receptive to us, or the one that wrote the best article about us, and that generated a fair bit of traffic for us, and on our launch day. From there we saw a lot more articles getting written by [inaudible 00:42:39]. So it was definitely our first foot up.

Andrew: Did they lead to a lot of customers? Do you remember how many customers you got from that?

Cameron: I think, on day one, we got about 15,000 referrals from them. And our conversation rate, at the time, was 55% of people to go into the signup page, actually enter their email address and continued further.

Andrew: That’s solid. You told out pre-interviewer that wasn’t a massive launch. That sounds really solid.

Cameron: Yeah, I suppose I have a different scale of things based on where I’ve worked before.

Andrew: Right.

Cameron: But I suppose, yeah. You imagine a product that has never existed before, and just opens up and wants people to use the product, having 10,000, 15,000 people on there is a really good start.

Andrew: By the way, I am now Andrew Warner on Canva, Canva.com/andrewwarner.

Cameron: I’ll look it up.

Andrew: Your process, your user experience is just stunning. I had no questions about where I needed to go in order to change my URL. It’s just, I go to my profile, and then there’s an edit button, and then right there in place I can change it, and I hit Save, and it just instantly happens. Even the URL, I don’t even know… I didn’t even notice the URL changed, but it changed instantly. I didn’t even see a page refresh.

When you do something that’s that beautiful, you’ve got to be proud of it. I see your smile now as I’m talking about it. You’re proud, and you should be. I’m proud to even be using it. Does it then kill you to not promote it? Does it kill you to not have anybody know it, or hardly anyone know it?

Cameron: You mean, in the early days?

Andrew: At any point, like when I create something that’s not especially good, like, let’s say, a minimum viable product, and people don’t love it, it’s a minimum viable product. I can kill it, it’s okay. But if I were to create something as stunning as this, it’s not the most beautiful thing in the world, but it’s got its simple elegance that makes you like the product. If I were to create something like this simple URL editor and profile editor, I’d want people to use it. I would have a hard time if we, as a company, deemphasized it. Do you have that problem?

Cameron: I don’t think we have that problem. We can consider, you say MVP is like rough as guts, and not a great experience, but we consider a great user experience to be MVP. You can’t put something out in the world in which the user does not want to use it, or does not get interested in it or really enjoy the experience, because you’re not giving your idea the best chance then. So we put the best design we can behind whatever we release, and also the best engineering. We give it the best chance of flourishing, and if something doesn’t flourish, we know we put our best weight behind it, and that we couldn’t have done anything more to make it a success.

Andrew: You build up with TechCrunch, it’s still not enough, what do you do to get your next wave of customers, of users?

Cameron: Just working, and working hard. That’s kind of vague advice. You mentioned before, but it was actually surprising just seeing the numbers build up day after day. And every time we do a launch, we’re slightly disappointed that 10 million people don’t descend on the product, but we learned now that you just wait, really. You build a great product, you offer great support, and you made sure that you are constantly generating new inbound leads, and bit by bit, your traffic just builds up to immense levels. So you just have to wait it out and just do the work that you know has to be done.

Andrew: Peter Thiel and his book Zero to One, which I think is a great book. He talks about how it’s not enough to create a great product. You also have to have great marketing. You have to think through how to sell the product that you’ve just built. What’s your marketing that allowed you to get the word out about this product in the early days?

Cameron: In the early days, we had a bit of press. As I mentioned, we talked to TechCrunch. Also, we considered the product itself to be marketing. So if you build the product well enough, you’ll get word of mouth. And I think, essentially, social media is word of mouth, people wanting to share something, or tell people about it, or share a link to their design, all of that is just friends telling friends.

Andrew: How did you build it in, in the beginning? The first way to encourage friends to tell friends, what was that?

Cameron: Probably, the first way was, I don’t think we had any particular viral very early on. We always had Share buttons in the editor. So we had, “Share this to Facebook or Twitter,” but, to be honest, they didn’t generate a huge amount of traffic. Our initial audience was bloggers. They really picked it up very quickly. When bloggers are your core audience, it’s almost a no-brainer as to what the marketing is going to entail.

We had someone who reached out to a lot of bloggers, generated relationships with… introed them to the product, like, “Hey, we think you’d be interested in this product. Give it a go,” and really handheld them through the experience. Bloggers are very generous people, and people who want to share and communicate a lot. So once they’ve found a great tool, they would generally share that with their audience. That was very early on. That was a lot of our marketing and traffic.

Andrew: So you had a list of bloggers that you wanted to get to try the software. You emailed them personally, you had somebody personally walking them through the software, even though it was free at the time.

Cameron: Yeah.

Andrew: Before I continue with the next step, which is revenue, we’ve got to go back to the day before you launched. You were riding your bike, and something happened. What happened?

Cameron: It was a weekend. We were pulling a late nighter just to get everything over the line, and I was riding home at about 8 p.m. This is the middle of winter, so it was pretty dark at the time. There’s a very steep hill on the way home, and I was gently applying the brakes when a taxi came out of the side street and just kind of stopped right in front of me. I barely had time to think, except, “Oh, shit.” And hit the bonnet of the taxi and woke up on the asphalt with blood coming out of my mouth.

Someone from a nearby pub called an ambulance. I couldn’t really speak because my mouth was kind of damaged. Someone managed to grab my phone, and call whoever the first person on the list was, and that happened to be Cliff. He came rushing just four blocks from the office to help me, got me into the ambulance, and came to the hospital with me. My poor wife who has seen me in ambulances far too many times, also met me at the hospital. Managed to nurse me back to health, and the next day I still turned up at the office and we managed to get the product out.

Andrew: Wow. You were fully knocked out, you had to go to the hospital, and you were still ready to go back in the next day.

Cameron: Yes, looking not as pretty as I am now, but in workable shape.

Andrew: Really? There were visible marks on your face?

Cameron: Yes, had a bit of scar. It actually healed up really well. And I had a bit of tooth damage, as well. It’s been fixed up by the dentist.

Andrew: Wow. They do anything to the taxi driver? I don’t think Australia is as litigious as the U.S., but…

Cameron: Not as litigious, I had to track him down a bit to find his insurance details, and ended up getting a bit of injury compensation, only to pay the doctor’s bills.

Andrew: At the time, you guys had funding?

Cameron: At that time, yes. We had funding pretty early on. We’ve kind of always been half a step ahead or behind, sort of midway between most normal stages of funding. So it kind of based off Fusion Yearbooks that proved the model, and we found it a bit easy to get funding. So probably about three months after getting office, we had some funding.

Andrew: I see. So there was no worry on your wife’s part, or your part that you’d be able to pay the bills and take care of the kids?

Cameron: No, that was fine.

Andrew: Especially coming from Google, don’t you think that once you have that reputation, you’re good to go, that no matter what, you’ll be able to get a job in tech?

Cameron: It definitely feels like that. I feel pretty lucky to be able to pick and choose where I want to work, and how I want to work. Being at Google does open many doors, particularly with press. It’s an easy press story to say, “Ex-Google starts new startup.”

Andrew: We’re always thinking of earning revenue, right? Like, right at the top of my account, I can see there’s a link to my settings, and then there’s another link that takes me to my invoice, somewhere in there. At what point did you start adding revenue?

Cameron: Pretty much from day one. A lot of the vision for Canva was based on micro transactions in design. So if you think of a designer making a design, there’s a lot of things they put into the design itself. They have illustrations, photos, typefaces, layouts. All of those things can be bought, and they are often quite expensive. Photos can cost $50, illustrations can cost the same, layouts can cost 10 bucks. And it’s not particularly accessible to an amateur or non-professional market.

We were looking at bringing that price point down and making it really easy for people who had never experienced buying a stock photo or a typeface, to be able to do so, and make it relatively budget-efficient for them to do so. From day one, we had a library of photos that we’d gathered from people all around the world, and each of those photos just cost a dollar. So if you’re making a graphic, you can edit an image, hit the download button, and then that will cost you a dollar to use a great picture of a office, or a dog, or a banana, or whatever you need in your design.

Andrew: Like you said, even font are an issue. I had no idea that font cost money, frankly, because I’m not a designer. It wasn’t until 2010 when I interviewed a guy named Stuart Sandler from Font Diner, one of the early fonts sellers, that said he didn’t even realize how much revenue was in font design until he started to see that you can sell the font, you can rent it, you can collect all kinds of payments on it. And, of course, if someone is using a design for professional reasons, they often have to pay for it. They can’t just grab it online and steal it.

Cameron: Yeah, definitely. A lot of people are used to going to Google Images and now buying an image, not buying an image, they were downloading it. But increasingly if you do that nowadays, you’re going to get into copyright trouble, or the original owner of the photo is going to track you down. So making sure that you have all the right licenses for everything that you put in, particularly if you’re running a business, is very important.

Andrew: Canvas for Work, what’s that?

Cameron: Canva for Work is the next stage of Canva, so…

Andrew: I keep saying “Canvas.” I’m sorry, it just comes out.

Cameron: Understandable, it’s fine.

Andrew: That’s where the name comes from. It’s Canva, as in Canvas?

Cameron: Yes. The original story of that is, we were finding it hard to get a domain that included the word “canvas” because it was quite popular. And Mel asked one of our programmers, French programmers, what the French word for “canvas” was, and they said, “Canva.”

Andrew: And that was available?

Cameron: Yes, kind of, under negotiation. Cliff is a very good negotiator, and he managed to bag it for a pretty small amount. But, yeah, Canva for Work just launched probably about a month ago. And that’s the next stage of Canva, kind of looking more at professionals and teams working at businesses. We have a fairly broad audience now. We have people who use it personally for birthday cards, we have bloggers who just use it individually. But we also have a lot of people working from fairly large companies, including Coca-Cola, Disney, and places like that.

And generally, what we’ll see is one marketer there will start using it, and it will spread out from there. So looking at that use case, we’re kind of thinking, “Okay, what tools are useful to those people, and how can we bring Canva into their workplaces?” It’s a really great work tool. We’ve got a few of those features, typically based around teams, and that’s what’s part of Canva for Work.

Andrew: I see. Who created About.canva.com/work? Is that you?

Cameron: Is that the scroll page?

Andrew: Yeah.

Cameron: That’s a collaboration the design team here, so it’s mostly one of our other web designers here.

Andrew: There’s a part that… you probably don’t even think about this page. But when I was looking for information about Canva work, this is what came up, and it’s such a beautifully designed page. Here’s what I’ve learned from that page. Letterheads, I can get if I have a subscription to Canva.com/work, Facebook cover for work, presentation slides which you talked about, invitations, proposals. For the most part, it’s the same stuff that’s available for consumers, with some additions for business people, because it’s early days, that’s what you’ve got. Just two or three additions, right?

Cameron: Yeah, we’ve listened to our users a fair bit. We did this whole Facebook post that was asking our users what features they miss most from Canva, what would they use at work? We had a fantastic response to that. I think we got about 10,000 comments on that post telling us what people found out, or what they’d like to see. We took that list and distilled it down to the three or four things that we could launch with, built those features, and that’s what we put out a month ago.

Andrew: It’s a great idea. I really like the “business as a business,” because I can use it for free to create images for social media, and then if there’s one that I like, especially, and I get more excited about it, it costs a little bit of money, I could see saying “All right, fine. I’ll pay for that,” especially if it’s a few bucks. And then I could see the “upgrade to business use” easily coming after that if I were looking to design things on a regular basis. And it all starts with this social media viral growth product that’s just doing really well. I’ve been a user of you guys for only a year, not that long, almost a year.

Cameron: That’s half our lifetime.

Andrew: Yeah, November 21, 2014, is when I signed up. I think it was because I needed to create an image for Facebook, and I looked online for how to do it, and I got four different recommendations that kept coming up over and over. Canva was one of them, and so I signed up to all of them. I like Canva, because your design is so good, because you sweat the details. You sweat the details in a way that I do in interviews, but not in design.

Here’s an example of how you guys sweat the details. If there’s a status bar, it’s not just the usual stocks status bar that you can get. It’s not even one you guys create and just say it’s a status bar. The good part happens after or before it. There’s a status bar with drops of water on it, or something. The little details, little textures, I think you guys really care about, which is what makes the product interesting.

What’s it like when you are this kind of designer, to work at Google where they are famous for not having a design eye, but doing a whole lot of research, and a whole lot of user testing. What’s it like to be a designer in a testing environment like that?

Cameron: Back then, it was a bit of a challenge. I was there from 2008 until late 2010, 2011. And, at the time, I was still very much in engineering company, and I kind of sold that through Google Wave, and the way the product was built, and the way it was managed. Design wasn’t paid as much attention to as it would be elsewhere. It was a struggle to get ideas through and make sure that the user was represented, and the product resonated with their users.

But since I’ve left, I think there’s been a massive shift at Google in terms of design leadership and focus on design from people like the CEO. And nowadays, I think you’re seeing Google as being one of the greatest design companies in the world. They really focus on the experience, and they have a very clear vision of what all their products should do and be, and it’s very coherent. And I think they are definitely one of the greatest online designers, at the moment.

Andrew: But you were a little frustrated with their new logo, weren’t you?

Cameron: A tiny bit, a tiny bit.

Andrew: Why? I’ve heard other people express their frustration, but they don’t know enough about design to explain what their frustration is. You know enough about design, to the language to express what you think of it, how you feel. What are you thinking about it?

Cameron: I think a rebrand is often a very personal thing, personal to the company, and they have their own reasons for doing so. I think one thing that people often get fixated on is what the log looks like. Like often you hear stories of, like, a bank did a rebrand of $10 million, and people are like, “Why did it cost $10 million? My cousin can do it for 5 bucks.” But, changing the brand and identity, the logo is about 1% of that, and the rest of it is rolling out that logo, how does it appear in all sorts of different scenarios? What do they actually want to communicate?

So based around the brand change, normally it’s also a change in how you want your company to be perceived, in which case, you have to change the way that you interact with your customers, or the language you’re using around that. It’s a massive undertaking. So just looking at the logo that they have released, and saying, “Well, I really don’t like that,” and thinking of that as the entire rebrand is kind of a misnomer.

So for me, personally, the logo type is more boring than their old logo. Their old logo had a bit more personality, and it also had a lot of brand equity. A lot of people recognized it, it’s one of the world’s greatest brands. So changing that is a big thing, but you also have to look at the reasons why they did the brand change.

Their old logo didn’t work very well at small sizes. It wasn’t very flexible for mobile screens, it wasn’t very flexible for motion design. Motion design has become particularly important in the last couple of years. And all these different usages, which the identity is meant to go into the old logo, didn’t make sense for that. So they took a chance to look at it holistically and say, “Okay, we want to be able to do all these things with the logo, what should it now look like now that we know what we want to do with it?”

Andrew: I see. So if all I’m doing is complaining about the logo… and I’m not… I don’t care that much about any of this. I just care about your opinion because I like the way that you think about it. You’re saying, if all I’m doing is looking at the logo, I’m missing the bigger picture here. What is the big puzzle that this little piece fits into? And if the rest of it is better, and this little piece makes me a little unhappy, that might be worth it.

Cameron: That is a really great summation of it. The other aspect of it is change of version. Absolutely no one likes change, and seeing something that you’ve been friends with for 10 years suddenly change overnight, no one is going to like that. But hopefully, our role as designers is to know what people will like in a year’s time, 5 years’ time, 10 years’ time.

Andrew: Final question, going back to school, you had a little business in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What was that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles business?

Cameron: I’ll probably say that was my very first business endeavor. When I was back in primary school, I really liked Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I also really liked drawing. I started drawing them on these little cards, and taking them to school to show them off, and one day, one kid was like, “Oh, I love that. I’ll buy it off of you for a dollar.” I was like, “A dollar, wow. That’s a fortune.” The transaction occurred, and then a little side business started up in me drawing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and sharing them with the kids at school.

Andrew: I see you’ve got a Pinterest board with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stuff, or stuff from your childhood. I was hoping that I could see an image of your design from back in school, but that’s not…

Cameron: Unfortunately, I don’t think anything exists of it, just purely in my mind.

Andrew: That’s something that’s not going to happen anymore. From now on, anything that kids create is all going to be scanned. I know my kid’s stuff is just naturally going to be scanned. I’ll probably get him a scanner for his 3rd birthday.

Cameron: Yeah, I’m a fastidious documenter of my kids lives and any drawing that they do immediately goes into the filing system.

Andrew: It’s pretty easy. I don’t know that I’ll ever want… he’s too young to design anything. I don’t know if I want to keep the actual thing. I’ll probably just want to take a picture of it and throw it in the garbage. Is that too heartless? I’m a new dad, so tell me if it is.

Cameron: It all depends on what you want to do. I quite like the tactility of having a piece of paper, and something that you look at in 10 years, and it’s kind of aged a bit, it’s gone a bit yellow, and just feeling the history behind the thing, which, I don’t think, you get with digital files.

Andrew: That’s the problem. I’m a philistine, I really am. I don’t need to see the actual thing, and that’s totally fine for me. I scan everything. My wife… look, this is a card from, this is one from me to my wife. I actually took it by accident. But what I do is, she gave me a card, I scan it and I dump it in the garbage, because I don’t…

Cameron: At least you’re keeping some part of it.

Andrew: Right. The problem is, when you have kids, you have to think about, “Are they going to be philistines, too?” I mean, I’d like to raise a philistine. That sounds like a really nice, comfortable thing for me to have. But who knows, maybe he’ll be an artist or a documentarian. He’ll need to keep this stuff. Got to think of other people.

Cameron: Keep the best pieces, stuff you’d frame.

Andrew: That’s a good point. All right, thank you so much for being on here. The website is Canva.com, and the sponsor, of course, is Freshdesk, fresh like look, like I’ve got a fresh new start on the world today because I took a month and a week off, and went to work from Napa, fresh like that. Go to Mixergy.com/freshdesk if you want a whole new better way of interacting with your customers. Try it out for free. Use it for free, in fact. And if you love it, you can continue. If you don’t, what do you have to lose? Freshdesk, I’m grateful to them for sponsoring. And Cameron, thanks for being on here.

Cameron: Thank you, Andrew. It’s been a pleasure.

Andrew: You bet.


  • markyh2904

    I love Canva and it has changed my business. It’s more adaptable than Pablo and I use some free and some paid images. Great to hear an interview for a product that I use and can relate to!

  • Did I miss the revenue for Canva?? Also, it’s interesting to see what Cameron’s view of success is. When he discussed obtaining 15,000 leads from TechCrunch, he didn’t seem that impressed by the number. I guess after working at Google, you expect millions of leads.

  • David

    Canva is great, but constantly has speed issues when updating things with multiple pages. 3 edits one time took me 30 minutes, I shot the entire process and sent it to their support team. I love the company and how they built the product, and hope they resolve those issues

  • Awesome! When I first used canva, I thought “Okay, this might be one of those online image editing sites that offers just the same”. But then turns out, it’s not. This became my go-to tool as an alternative to Photoshop whenever I need to edit something. Simple, user-friendly and functional. Thumbs up!

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