Hello, I’m Braden Kowitz.
I’m a product designer and co-founder at Habitat Labs.
Previously I was a design partner at GV, a venture capital fund backed by Google. I taught startups how to listen to customers, how to scale their design teams, how to build processes that support innovation, and how to create workplaces where great design can happen. Through this role I’ve had the good fortune to work with many truly amazing startups: ClassPass, Gusto, Slack, Medium, Flatiron Health, TuneIn, Blue Bottle Coffee, 23andMe, One Medical Group, HubSpot, RetailMeNot, Nest, and many more.
After working with so many teams, my GV colleagues and I decided to capture some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. This project started as many design articles, and grew to become a New York Times best selling book: Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days.
In addition to writing, I also speak at design and startup conferences around the world. Recently I’ve been talking about Design Culture (Slush, 2016), and how teams can create environments where designers are productive and happy. I also love talking about Design Sprints (Webdagene, 2016) and Failure (Airbnb, 2012).
Before I began advising startups, I was an early designer at Google. I joined the company in 2005 and and led the design of several new products including Google for Business, Google Spreadsheets, and Google Trends. I also led Gmail design for several years before moving to GV.
I grew up in the Midwest and was pretty much always a nerd. I remember spending hours upon hours with my first computer. So it’s no surprise I ended up studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois. During my summers I built early virtual reality simulations at the Beckman Institute and interactive data visualizations at Lucent Technologies.
But as much as I enjoyed engineering, my true passion has always been making things for other people. So I decided to move into the field of design by attending the Human-Computer Interaction graduate program at Carnegie Mellon. It’s been a fantastic journey ever since.
If I’m not thinking about design, I’m probably thinking about backpacking. My favorite trips have been to Iceland, Rae Lakes, Desolation Wilderness, Cone Peak, and the Minarets. This world is too amazing not to explore!
You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium.