John Maeda: The Valley is now focused on DE$IGN

“Design is about economic advancement in Silicon Valley,” said Kleiner Perkins’ new design partner, and former president of RISD, John Maeda at the TED Conference in Vancouver on Wednesday. Maeda recently moved to the Valley from the East Coast and told the TED audience that he’s been living the sharing economy lifestyle since the move, staying in Airbnb apartments in Palo Alto.

Why has the tech industry embraced design in recent years? Maeda says that thanks to Moore’s Law, and modern speedy, powerful computers, technology is no longer enough on its own. Design matters even more now, and “everything is friendly, everything says hello…It’s not how fast is it, it’s how it makes you feel.”

"DE$IGN" by John Maeda
“DE$IGN” by John Maeda, photo via Yves Behar

The economic impact of design is going to be huge, says Maeda. That’s one reason he joined Kleiner Perkins and moved to the Valley. Kleiner is betting on a new design and product program to help unleash the next-generation of killer, connected products. Maeda also gave a nod to Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia for encouraging him to “take the next step in life.”

Maeda spoke for the past two years at our experience design conference Roadmap. We’ll be hosting Roadmap 2014 in November this year and we’ll launch the speaker list and open up registration in the coming months.