Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 22, 2012.


35+ rare interviews with the designer founders of YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr, AirBnB... help us make the book free for students!

What are we doing?

Designer Founders: stories by designers of tech startups, is a non-profit book of 35+ rare personal interviews with founders who have various design backgrounds such as Chad Hurley (YouTube), David Karp (Tumblr), Matt Shobe (Feedburner), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Brian Chesky & Joe Gebbia (AirBnB), Ryan Freitas (About.Me), Rashmi Sina (Slideshare), Jeff Veen (TypeKit), Dave Morin & Dustin Mierau (Path), Daniel Burka (Milk), Christina Brodbeck (TheIceBreak), Aza Raskin (MassiveHealth), Alexa Andrzejewski (Foodspotting), Khoi Vinh (Mixel), Lisa Strausfeld (Major League Politics), and legends like Mitch Kapor (Lotus). See full list here:

Our goal is to demystify the path for designers to build tech startups with meaningful impact and for entrepreneurs to embody design thinking in their work. Each story encompasses how entrepreneurial designers got started and how their products, failures, and successes have instructed and evolved along the way.

Why are we doing this and why should you care?

We hope these firsthand stories will inspire generations of designers to make tech startups whose success in business creates positive social impact. But we need your help to make this spark real and tangible. Backing us on Kickstarter will enable us to make our book and then give it away to students worldwide for free. Building and leading tech startups will become a regular part of what being a designer can mean and this book exemplifies what’s missing from traditional design curriculum.

Now, more than ever, we face complex problems that designers are uniquely capable to solve by integrating technology, business and human factors. No longer can design just be an outsourced add on, limited to putting “lipstick on a pig.” As the consumer tech space becomes more crowded, differentiated brand and experience design is becoming critical to the DNA of companies that succeed. We believe that designer founders are the rare breed that can lead both their product and organization through the design cycles needed to innovate. This book expands the lexicon of design and what it can achieve, breaking stereotypes and exposing insights for us all to learn from.

How are we creating the Designer Founders book?
One by one we’re recording interviews of designer founders from diverse backgrounds and stages in their career including pioneers, up-and-comers, experts, popular and not-so-popular millionaires. We limit the ego, delete the fluff, and genuinely and humbly get to the core of what is significant about their entrepreneurial journey from a design perspective. The interviews aren’t how to manuals for Photoshop or Textmate. We're collecting stories centered around the path and series of steps taken to become a designer and a founder including challenges overcome and challenges to come.

We plan to first create a digital book for HTML, iPad and Kindle formats. Then we hope to distribute the book to students and educators worldwide to advance entrepreneurial design education.

How are we using the Kickstarter funds?
We plan to use the funds primarily for:
-Conducting and editing interviews
-Designing and implementing the digital book layout for multiple formats

-Distributing the book to students and educators

How far along your project is?

Many interviews are already recorded and need to be transcribed for editing. Others are scheduled to happen in the coming months.

Keep up to date with our progress here:

Example sketches of rewards:

We are a team of designers

-Enrique Allen, designer at the Designer Fund, is leading the project.
-Corina Yen, co-author of books like The Man Who Lied to His Laptop, is lead editor of the book.
-Daniel Hirunrusme, designer at Motive, is making the website.
-Xander Pollock, designer at Punchd, is making the website.
-Ben Blumenfeld, designer at Facebook, is providing creative direction.
-Tim Belonax, graphic designer MFA candidate, is helping with book layout.
-Matt Stevens, creative director at HAWSE, is making infographics.
-Daron Hall, designer at Wander is making inspirational content.
-David Conrad, designer at Design Commission, is making inspirational content.

-Luke Beard, designer at Zerply, is making inspirational content.


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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Funding period

- (51 days)