A guest post in Lenny Rachitsky’s newsletter by Figma VP of Product Sho Kuwamoto on the importance of feel, service, and staying close to customers. “Fast-forward to 2023, and Figma has grown beyond what I could have imagined. It’s gotten to the point where people often ask me for advice on how to prioritize features or how to run a product process. These questions are hard for me to answer, because I don’t think we do anything special. Our process is messy and we make mistakes. We create designs and then throw them away. We miscommunicate all the time and forget to write things down.”
“Marcel Weekes is the VP of Product Engineering at Figma, and was formerly VP of Engineering at Slack. He unpacks why most startups get it wrong when they uplevel someone from IC engineer to eng manager and unfurls what stellar engineering management looks like at high-growth companies.”
Interesting findings about the state of design, tech, and product development from the year-over-year change in Config submissions trends. This year the team received a whopping 1,000 talk proposals 🤯 The general mood of submissions was markedly optimistic compared with the previous 3 years. AI, accessibility, inclusion-related, and designer-developer collaboration topics are on the rise, while mentions of “pandemic” and remote work are declining.
The reason we don't let you run two plugins at a time is performance + security.— Sho Kuwamoto (@skuwamoto) May 3, 2023
Each plugin runs in a security sandbox that works in a kind of crazy way.
In this video, Darshan Gajara from Consistent Creators podcast talks to Designer Advocate Luis Ouriach about his role at Figma, overcoming burnout, building an audience, and the breakdown of his viral Twitter threads.
Engineering Manager Alice Ching discusses how Figma draws inspiration from the gaming world in its development process. There are similarities between video game engines and Figma’s tech stack, with collaboration and creating delightful user experiences being the key aspects.
Regardless of going to the in-person Config this summer, this is a great intro of the international designer advocate team. Here is the full list for you to follow — Lauren Andres, Hugo Raymond, Hiroki Tani, Julia Kestner, Mallory Dean, Corey Lee, Alexia Danton, and Sebastian Metel.
A little nervous to come to Config without knowing anyone? FEAR NO MORE! The designer advocate team @figma is here for you. Some of us made a lil intro so you have friendly faces in June. pic.twitter.com/fDXzM48msC— Mal (see u at config) (@mdeandesign) April 27, 2023
Jenny Wen, Product Design Manager at Figma, had a virtual AMA with the Designer Fund community, where she answered questions about leadership, the value of a “riffing” culture, designing for moments of delight, and where she goes for product design inspiration, news, and updates.
“In 2020, Figma’s infrastructure hit some growing pains. With database traffic growing ~3x annually, Engineer Tim Liang and the databases team set out to reduce potential instability and pave the way for scale.”
Every time someone posts pictures of Figma’s SF office, I’m blown away by its beauty and creativity.
GDC may be over, but I can't stop networking 😂— Antonia Forster (@AntoniaRForster) March 26, 2023
I got a tour of the @figma office before I leave SF tonight. So gorgeous! 🌈 pic.twitter.com/E3VdL6lKAx
Nadia Singer, Chief People Officer at Figma, shares why she believes anyone can become a skilled talent evaluator, her best interview questions, and how Figma leverages transparency across the org.
For this April Fun Day, Figma added a snake game to a Section tool inside FigJam. I don’t expect it to be around for too long, so give it a try if you can! See also a thread from Mihika Kapoor on how the team came up with the idea and built it.
I love reading about how design decisions are being made! This story shares a few anecdotes from the designers and engineers behind the current shipment of Little Big Updates, including multi-select search, background blur in prototypes, on-canvas previews, and hanging punctuation.
Figma published their internal design team career levels and accompanying Skills Chart widget to the Figma Community! Last year they refreshed the leveling framework and Design Manager Sara Culver wrote a detailed post documenting this work. For additional context, I highly recommend Noah Levin’s thread on this project. Also, don’t miss their templates for performance reviews and calibration.
Yuhki Yamashita’s talk from WebSummit 2022. I shared slides and an article based on this talk last November. In it, Yuhki explores how design is changing and how we need to change with it. He also offers practical advice on navigating our new always-in-progress world and Figma’s approach to developing collaboration features designed with that in mind.
The Figma Store is now available in the EU, and to celebrate the occasion they’ve dropped a new swag collection. My favorite additions are the new washi tape, Dress Code hat, and Toolkit mug!
“Having scaled the APAC region for 3 US companies, with a big emphasis on building culture as a foundation for success, Scott will speak of his learnings and lead a discussion for: Recruiting, Enabling, and Creating Culture.”
“Jesus [Requena] now leads Marketing and Growth at Hex, the data platform for data scientists. Before that he built and led the Growth Marketing team at Figma, the PLG darling that Adobe intends to acquire for a whopping $20 billion, which was the focus for much of this conversation. […] Keep reading to learn from Jesus about the role of growth marketing in a PLG business, how Figma does product-led sales, why you should consider product-qualified accounts (PQAs) one of your top KPIs, and how emerging tools like Endgame help accelerate your time-to-market.”
Bloomberg reports (see the Google cache version without the paywall) that the United States Department of Justice is preparing an antitrust lawsuit seeking to block Adobe’s $20 billion acquisition of Figma. A case is expected to be filed as soon as next month. “The antitrust division is concerned the deal — one of the largest takeovers of a private software maker — would reduce options for design software used by creative professionals.”
Video and transcript of a fireside chat with Dylan Field on Figma’s origins, AI, and education.