Irene Au is a renowned design leader and advocate for user-centered design, known for her influential work at companies like Google and Yahoo.
Irene Au is Design Partner at Khosla Ventures, where she works with early-, mid-, and late-stage startup CEOs.
She is dedicated to raising the value of design and user research within software companies through better methods, practices, processes, leadership, and talent. Through her mentorship of the next generation of designers, she helps companies build an empathetic understanding of user needs which inspires and informs product design and experiences.
Irene has unprecedented experience elevating the strategic importance of design within technology companies, having built and led the entire User Experience and Design teams at Google, Yahoo!, and Udacity. She began her career as an interaction designer at Netscape Communications, where she worked on the design of the internet’s first commercial web browser. For 10 years, Irene taught yoga at Avalon Yoga Center in Palo Alto where she is also among the teacher training program faculty.
She is a frequent author and speaker on mindfulness practices, design, and creativity. An adjunct lecturer at Stanford University, she teaches Product Design in the mechanical engineering department. Irene also serves as a trustee for the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum of Design. Irene authored the definitive O’Reilly book, Design in Venture Capital , and her popular essays can be found on Medium. She has been featured in Wired magazine, Fast Company magazine, CommArts magazine, and on the cover of Mindful magazine.