As reported in The Information a few days ago, former design tool giant InVision, once valued at $2 billion, is shutting down at the end of this year.
While much of the commentary has been about Figma’s rapid rise and InVision’s inability to respond, I saw this post on Twitter/X from one of InVision’s founders Clark Valberg about what happened. The screenshotted message he left is well-worth a read. It is a great (if slightly self-serving / biased) retrospective.
As someone who was a mere bystander during the events (as a newly minted Product Manager working with designers), it felt very true to the moment.
I remember being blown away by how the entire product design community moved to Sketch (from largely Adobe-based solutions) and then, seemingly overnight, from Sketch to Figma.
While it’s fair to criticize the leadership for not seeing web-based design as a place to invest, I think the piece just highlights how because it wasn’t a direct competitor to InDesign (but to Sketch & Adobe XD) and because the idea of web-based wasn’t on anyone’s radar at the time, it became a lethal blind spot for the company. It’s Tech Strategy 101 and perfectly highlights Andy Grove’s old saying: “(in technology,) only the paranoid survive”.
“Clark from InVision” here…
I’ve been somewhat removed from the InVision business since transitioning out ~2 years ago, and this is the first time I’ve reacted to the latest news publicly. I’m choosing to do so here because in many ways your post is a full-circle moment for me. MANY (perhaps most) of the underlying philosophies that drove InVision from the very beginning were inspired by my co-founder @BenNadel and I reading and re-reading Getting Real. It was our early-stage hymnal.
Apologies for steam of consciousness rant and admitted inherent bias — I’m a founder after all 🙂
Tweet from @ClarkValberg
Clark Valberg | Twitter/X