Mark Kawano is the CEO and cofounder of Storehouse. Before Storehouse, Mark was Apple’s User Experience Evangelist. In that role, he helped people all over the world design iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps. And before that, Mark spent several years leading the design of photo apps at Apple.
Mark has also been a UI designer at Frog Design and Adobe, where he worked on Photoshop and the first versions of the Creative Suite. Throughout his career, he has provided design guidance to thousands of companies in almost every industry and has given talks in countries all over the world.
I’m both stubborn and foolish and when I want something to exist in the world. That ultimately outweighs all other practicalities.
Designing a Company and a Culture
Kawano’s strong design skills – and what he calls “a designer’s tendency to be OCD and perfectionist” – were key to getting Storehouse off the ground. “Design makes the product and the experience great, and a fundamental part of any startup is recalibrating the product and the iterative process, because we are never done with design,” he explains. As a designer founder, though, Kawano eventually needed to shift gears and assume a broader and more balanced role. “You’re no longer designing just a product and being obsessive about it,” he says. “You’re designing a company and a culture where great people and products and systems can thrive.”
That requires knowing where to focus and caring about different aspects of the business, from investors to advisors, employees, users, and the press. It can be a steep learning curve, because “now you’re in charge of the whole system and that makes you aware of all the decisions and the tradeoffs and what will lead the company to the next goal post,” Kawano reckons.