In little more than a decade, the expectations placed on 36-year-old Melanie Perkins have gone from negligible to near impossible.
Perkins, CEO and co-founder of Canva, a rapidly-growingÂ graphic design platform and one of techâ€™s most highly valued private companies, was a complete unknown from Perth, Australia, when she appeared on the Silicon Valley scene in 2013. Today, sheâ€™s talked about by investors and colleagues in almost mythic terms. â€œShe has a desire for worldwide domination,â€� said podcaster and author Guy Kawasaki, who Perkins hired as Canvaâ€™s â€œchief evangelist.â€�Â â€œIt can sound very negative, but you have to understandâ€”the way Iâ€™m saying it, itâ€™s a positive.â€�
â€œOur ambition with Canva is to empower the whole world to design,â€� Perkins told me. â€œBut we quite literally mean thatâ€”we want to empower every single person to design anything they can possibly imagine in every language, on every device.â€�