Steve Vassallo is a lifelong builder, maker, and designer. These days he’s helping startups design a better future as a general partner at venture capital firm Foundation Capital. From his early days playing with Legos to his time engineering products for Cisco, Nike, and BMW at renowned agency IDEO and his startup success with Immersion and Ning, Steve has always been mercilessly focused on the user––designing products, businesses, and investments around what will best impact our world. Steve is the author of the recently released The Way to Design, a thought-provoking guidebook for design-oriented entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to bake design thinking into the foundation of their organization. Listen in to this week’s episode of Making Ways to hear about Steve’s decision to attend Stanford business school, lessons he’s learned along his journey, and great advice on the value of risk-taking and experimenting for emerging startups.
Steve Vassallo is a general partner at venture capital firm Foundation Capital and serves on the boards of directors of Sunrun, Sentient Energy, Pocket, Mode Analytics, Bolt Threads, and AutoGrid. Steve has been an entrepreneur since launching his first startup—a snow-blowing service—at 13 years old. Previously, Steve was vice president of product and engineering at social platform Ning, which he helped launch; director of engineering at Immersion, a startup that pioneered tactile feedback and human touch technology; and a project leader and design engineer at IDEO, where he developed more than a dozen successful products for companies including Cisco, Nike, BMW, Steelcase, McDonald’s, and Caterpillar. Steve’s innovations have won him over 77 patents and several design awards, including the Business Week Design of the Decade award, the Red Dot Design Award, IDEA Gold and Bronze awards, and NeoCon Gold and Most Innovative New Product awards. Steve is the author of The Way to Design, a book for both entrepreneurial designers who want to know what it takes to start a company and nondesigner entrepreneurs and executives who want to understand how to make design a core value of their business.