Tips for Building a Rocketship from Canva’s Former Head of Product

Looking back after you have stepped away from something is often a great way to gain valuable insights, and in this episode of The Breakout Growth Podcast, Sean and Ethan have the unique opportunity to gain retrospective learnings from a conversation with Georgia Vidler, who, until recently, was Canva's Head of Product. 


If you are not familiar with Canva, their tagline says it all: “Amazingly simple graphic design software”. With a huge library of templates and a super-intuitive interface, Canva allows non-designers to create high-quality logos, social media ads, infographics, and more to power their businesses. By delivering on that promise, Canva has become Australia’s fastest-growing startup with a reported valuation of over $6 Billion.


Georgia has experience in product, marketing, and growth, and through that lens, she describes how Canva’s success took shape. It might surprise you to find out that the company bucked the “Lean Startup” convention and didn’t build a simple MVP, and when Georgia talks about data, you may find it refreshing when she explains that while she very much believes in metrics, she also feels that not everything that is worth doing is measurable. Her perspective reminds us that there is very little prescription in growth, but lots of inspiration!


Canva wants to be “the Google of design one day,” says Georgia and she believes the company is well on its way with a philosophy that puts customer happiness before revenue, and a structure that is constantly evolving to meet the demands of a fast-growing business.  While Canva may not be formulaic in its approach, she describes a culture that is systematic and intentional and focused on learning and growth. 


In this conversation, we walk through each component of Canva’s growth engine, gaining insights into how a cross-functional approach to improvements connects each piece of the business. We also see a great example of a North Star Metric helping to unify individuals and teams towards a common mission. 


So join us as Georgia Vidler takes a “look back” at her amazing journey to Head of Product at Canva.


We discussed:


* Georgia’s backstory from working in an incubator to heading product at Canva (3:28)



* How the product “felt delightful” and “made with love” and why that matters (9:31)

* Why Canva did not build a simple MVP (12:01)

* How using the product every day drives team member contributions (19:01)

* Metrics: they are not one-size-fits-all, or the be-all-end-all of growth (20:22)

* Happy Active Users - a North Star Metric that puts users in focus (23:05)

* Planning in seasons, not quarters (30:38)

* Deep diving into Canva’s Growth Engine (36:30)

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