KPCB ProductWorks Design & Tech Talk

Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) Design Partner John Maeda and Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman recently co-hosted a discussion with four business leaders operating at the intersection of design and technology. The participants gave a series of TED-like talks, each of which revealed a gift from the speakers to the audience. Gift-givers included Juliet de Baubigny, KPCB recruiting partner; Ayah Bdeir, founder and CEO of littleBits; Doreen Lorenzo, President of Quirky; and Tina Roth Eisenberg, founder of swissmiss and other side projects.

Clip 1: Does It Really Take a Long Time to Create Good Design?

In this clip, Quirky founder and CEO Ben Kaufman contradicts the commonly held assumption that it takes a long time to create good design and discusses how time constraints have pushed the design community to create some of its most iconic products, like the Empire State Building.

Clip 2: Creative Minds Make Good Leaders

KPCB Design Partner John Maeda explains how he first came across Ben Kaufman in an in-flight magazine and why creative minds make good leaders, especially during troubled times.

Clip 3: Managing the Creative Talent Ecosystem

Doreen Lorenzo, President of Quirky and former President at Frog Design, discusses how she manages creative staff, who she says are frequently misinterpreted as suffering from “sluggish cognitive disorder,” aka daydreaming. Is it really a process of herding kittens? Doreen begs to differ: she sees it more as managing a high-touch ecosystem that needs to be nourished and monitored at all times.

Clip 4: The Importance of Building a Better Board

KPCB Recruiting Partner Juliet de Baubigny describes the importance of building strong boards, especially for new companies. She contends the process has a lot in common with design thinking. De Baubigny highlights the fact that a board’s most important goals are to find and hire a new CEO and provide counsel during times of crisis. To this end, it is critical that boards be composed of individuals who represent a diversity of thought, background and perspectives, including gender diversity.

Clip 5: Putting the Power of Electronics in the Hands of Everyone

Ayah Bdeir talks about how the company she founded, the hardware library littleBits, helps people take back some of the power they’ve ceded to electronics and technology simply because they don’t understand how they work. Bdeir outlines how her design-focused approach of making devices modular, magnetic, and scalable puts the power of electronics back into the hands of everyone.

Clip 6: Why You Should Always Take Your Side Projects Seriously

An unaesthetically designed temporary tattoo given to her daughter in a goodie bag inspired Tina Roth Eisenberg, better known as the design blogger swissmiss, to launch her own temporary tattoo production, Tattly, which has since grown into a company that employs 12 people. In this clip, Tina discusses why it is important to always take your side projects seriously.