Sarah O'Carroll editor in chief of Forbes Australia headshot as at September 2022

A word from our Editor-in-Chief


Editor-in-Chief Sarah O’Carroll ushers in the new year (a little belatedly) with our 2024 rich list, an appreciation for designers, and a look into what is ahead for the Forbes community.
Image: Forbes Australia’s 2024 50 Richest – Editor-in-Chief Sarah O’Carroll speaks on the list in her letter

This letter from Editor-in-Chief Sarah O’Carroll first appeared in Issue 9 of Forbes Australia. Forbes Australia Issue 9 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy.

MANY OF SILICON VALLEY’S most successful companies attribute their success to the strong relationship between the visionary founder and the product design genius.

These design maestros are the often-unsung heroes driving the experiences delivered by many of our most famous tech giants.

Think Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his design chief Jonathan Ive, where simplicity, ease of use, and design excellence are the bedrock of their success.

Design, as well as a product that is useful and easy to use, has been central to the success of design-juggernaut Canva.

For that, co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht can credit its chief product officer and co-founder, Cameron Adams.

When Perkins envisioned democratising design in 2013, she and her investors knew the importance of product and UI excellence and finding the crème de la crème to deliver it. In fact, getting that initial investment hinged on finding the right person.

That person was Adams.

Issue Nine of Forbes Australia is out now. Tap the image to secure your copy.

In our cover story, we look at Adams’ journey to Canva, and he shares his insights into the art of creating a great product and the need for a deep connection to the problem you’re solving coupled with the power of simplicity.

It is perhaps the ability to harness that power that makes Adams what Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen calls “the best of the best of the best”.

Now, as the $39-billion juggernaut moves increasingly into deep tech and AI, the third wheel in the company’s founding trio is coming to the fore, leading the pivotal role of product in an era dominated by artificial intelligence.

In our last issue, Peter Freedman, the founder of Rode Microphones, said, “You want to be a billionaire? Get into design”.

Adams has proved this point, securing the 25th spot on this year’s Australia’s 50 Richest list with a cool US$2.2 billion.

He joined his co-founders Perkins and husband Cliff Obrecht, whose wealth, after Canva’s recent valuation spike, jumped 22% from last year to US$8.8 billion.


The Canva trio weren’t alone in adding to their wealth over the past 12 months. Australia’s 50 richest people are collectively better off from a year ago, adding US$9 billion or around 4% to take their combined wealth to US$222 billion.

A tech recovery also propelled software billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar back into the top five ranks at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

Shares of their Sydney-based Atlassian rose by nearly a third since last year as its client base surpassed 300,000 and it notched $1 billion in revenue in a recent quarter.

Finally, as we enter our second year of publishing Forbes Australia and reflect on our journey, we invite you to follow this link and share your thoughts on the magazine’s evolution.

Your feedback is invaluable, and as a token of our appreciation, we’ll select someone from the entrants to join an exclusive Forbes VIP event.

We also have our much-loved Forbes Women’s Summit coming up on March 26th in Sydney.

Thank you for being part of the Forbes community. Even though it’s February, we wish you a belated happy new year filled with continued success and prosperity.

Win a VIP Experience: Take our reader survey and you could be attending our next ultra-exclusive Forbes Australia event as our guest

Forbes Australia Issue 9 is out now. Tap here to secure your copy.

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