Ahmad Kadhim - Will Adobe screw up the Figma acquisition?


AK shares his thoughts on the Figma acquisition, what he would do if he were part of Adobe leadership, and his hopes for the future of Figma. He also gives excellent career advice rooted in what he has learned during his tech career.

🔥 The potential for unleashed innovation is HUGE!

With acquisitions like this, there will be people who leave the company to either become investors or founders of new startups. In this case, the Figma innovation and culture are already baked into what they do, which could lead to some of the most innovative product companies our industry has seen.

🦾 Adobe better not screw this up!

Adobe has a reputation for not seeing products to their full potential. With Figma, this could be a significant mistake. Adobe needs to protect the innovative culture that Figma has created, stay in front of the best features to focus on, and continue adapting to the changing tech landscape. They could do this through AI integration and 3D design as a starting point.

Will Adobe screw up the Figma acquisition?

In episode 38 of The Product Design Podcast, Seth Coelen interviews Ahmad Kadhim (also known as AK), Co-founder and VP of Product at 3RM, a Web3 startup. He made his way into tech over ten years ago through a Bootcamp and has worked as a developer, designer, and product manager during his career.

During our chat, AK advises how to break into tech and the latest on the Figma acquisition by Adobe. We dive into what we hope to see come out of this shift that has rocked our industry and AK’s inspiring closing thoughts on how this acquisition could change the future of design.

Ahmad Kadhim & Seth Coelen on The Product Design Podcast

How AK broke into tech after a Bootcamp

AK has such a unique origin story on how he broke into tech. While he was in the last two weeks of his Bootcamp and working on his final project, he started working at a local coffee shop. The coffee shop was in an area with many tech firms and startups. AK began talking to the barista about what he was working on, and she suggested he make a sign that said he was looking for work. He made a sign with a bunch of funny sayings and technical experience and placed the it on the back of his laptop.

Each day during lunch, people started coming into the coffee shop, and when they saw his sign, they would approach him and let him know that their company was hiring or give him a card. The first day he had 20 cards, and as lunch was wrapping up, someone approached him and asked him to come for an interview right then! That interview was not his big break, but within the week, he had collected over 200 cards and was approached by someone looking for a front-end developer who worked in the same building as the coffee shop. By the time he wrapped up the Bootcamp final project, he had a job and was ready to start his career path in tech!

AK’s thoughts on the Figma acquisition

Throughout his career, AK worked his way from IC to a manager and is now a Co-founder and VP of Product in our industry. His time and experience in tech give him a unique view of the Figma acquisition. We discussed his thoughts on the acquisition and the positive outcome he believes will come from it!

🤯 $20 Billion!!!

AK initially thought the acquisition came out of the blue and was shocked by the valuation. Although Seth and AK both agree that Adobe overpaid for Figma in its current state, in the full podcast episode, they discuss in depth the strategy that could be at play behind the curtains of this deal.

“It's definitely strategically valuable for Adobe to just own the entire design space and not have any serious competitors.”

🤔 What will Dylan Field do now?

There are two great options, according to our chat with AK. One option would be that Dylan could stay at Adobe and work towards becoming the next CEO there. Another potential option, based on Dylan’s tweets, is that there could be a Web3 startup on the horizon for him. Time will tell, but we are all interested to see what comes next!

🔥 Innovation unleashed!

AK pointed out how this acquisition could cause a cool ripple in our industry. Many people who absorbed the Figma culture and innovation while working there may now been unleashed to become founders or angel investors in new and exciting startups. This acquisition could lead to innovation on a whole new level rooted in the culture that Figma created.

What would AK do if he were in the Adobe corporate ranks?

First and foremost, AK believes that Adobe will have respect for the visions of Figma and their team. He believes it is essential for Adobe to focus on the value they can bring to Figma without interfering with the core of what makes Figma so great.

If AK were on the leadership team at Adobe, he would have some suggestions to ensure our industry continues to trust that Figma’s innovative culture will remain intact as we move forward.

💡 AI integration

Adobe should lean into how they can integrate AI into Figma. If there was a way to describe what you want and Figma would arrange the components in a design system the way you want them, it would entice a lot of designers to see that Adobe is helping them with their work.

👏 3D design

As we move into the AR/VR stage, it would be amazing if Adobe would integrate a way for products to have more 3D design and create AR experiences for the user to see objects in 3D. This is another great opportunity for Adobe to get people in our industry to feel excited about the direction they are taking the Figma product.

Ahmad Kadhim
“One of the greatest things to come out of here [the Figma acquisition] is we potentially have hundreds of new people who just got unleashed and are set up to do great design things in this world.”

Thank you so much, AK!

We had a great time digging into the Figma acquisition with AK. From his perspective on what is coming next to what he would do if he were on Adobe's leadership team, AK shared so many exciting ideas and insights into what the future could hold!

Listen to the complete episode on The Product Design Podcast, which includes a deeper dive into AK's unique tech journey and what he has learned along his career path as he moved from junior designer to senior manager and beyond! Don't forget to follow AK on Twitter and LinkedIn, and check out his website to see what he has going on next!

Where to find AK

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