On the last day of December, Doreen Lorenzo quietly stepped down from her role as president at Quirky, the crowdsourced product company. There was no press release, and the news didn’t appear anywhere. She worked there just 15 months, after serving as president of Frog for 16 years, which she helped scale from a boutique design firm to a global design consultancy.
Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman calls the time “Doreen bootcamp,” in which she expanded the company’s ability to turn ideas into products. “Over the last year and a half, you’ve seen [Quirky go] from making small plastic stuff to big complex products. She played a big role in that.”
Lorenzo worked at Quirky during a transitional time, as the company’s business model expanded from developing some GE products alongside the ideas of the Quirky community, to building Powered By Quirky product partnerships in which the Quirky community and design studio became a sort of crowdsourced development firm for many companies. Quirky recently announced a partnership with Harman, and a line of appliances that automatically orders refills for coffee and baby formula from Amazon. Lorenzo thought having these new partnerships in place marked a good jumping off point for her. “I knew I wouldn’t stay there forever. Ben [the CEO] knew the same thing. … It’s a startup. Every startup has evolutions and changes they go through.”
Quirky will not be replacing Lorenzo. She’d built a “self-organized machine” for product development, Kaufman says.
Today, Lorenzo still consults at Quirky, but rather than commuting from Texas to New York, where Quirky is headquartered, she has moved back to her hometown of Austin to, as she puts it, “pay it forward,” and spend her newly found free time working with companies that seek out her expertise in building a successful, design-led corporate culture.
Though she’s no longer running a company, Lorenzo still serves on six different boards–including The Foundry, a major special effects software company that’s breaking into product design; Reaction Housing, a pop-up shelter business founded by an ex-Frogger; and Shop Vida, a clothing company that invests a portion of its revenue into improving the education of its own female factory workers in Pakistan and India. On top of all that, she’s a mentor at SKU, an Austin accelerator where she’s also an investor.