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Hello Canvas Family!

What an incredible start to my journey at Instructure. I’m just a few weeks into my new role and I’m drinking from the firehose. Thanks to the many of you who’ve welcomed me as the new kid on the block. I have so much to learn, and I appreciate your patience as I continue to ask questions and get to know your unique needs, your stories, and how we can help you succeed.

While I’ve spent a good deal of time working in the world of tech, this is admittedly my first experience in edtech. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many brilliant education leaders within Instructure who share the necessary insights and industry guidance to help me learn along the way. I see the passion and love for education across our employee base—it’s built into their DNA and it’s contagious. 

As we approach the fall school year in the Northern Hemisphere, so many of you are actively planning the most appropriate path forward for your institutions. We want to support you; whether that path includes in-person classes, online classes, or perhaps some combination of the two in a truly blended educational experience. COVID-19 has forced all of us to look long and hard at what we need to prioritize to help students succeed in a very non-traditional learning environment.

While I come up to speed and evaluate our strengths and weaknesses as your partner, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of my early observations and what I’m hearing from you including what’s working and what’s not. 

  • You appreciate the openness of the Canvas platform. So many of our customers have told me in my first few weeks that you don't want to be locked in with vendors and want the ability to buy the best technologies, whatever they may be. I want to ensure that Canvas continues to check both of these boxes for you.
  • You want to see more innovation, and you want to see our releases more buttoned up so they’re ready for showtime when you get them. This tells me we need to more fully understand the investment required to be successful as we engineer new features.
  • You also told me that you appreciate the transparency in our roadmap blogs, so expect to continue to hear from Mitch Benson and Steve Townsend about what’s coming. (And speaking of roadmaps, you like getting the bite-sized product updates on an ongoing basis vs. the sporadic big updates that are hard to consume.) 
  • Privacy is a concern, and many of you have shared that any data and analytics practice needs to be rooted in the focus on improving student outcomes vs making money. I agree. That's essential to our values and mission at Instructure. We haven't done a great job articulating our data strategy, and we're making that a top priority. On the other side of the coin, many of you have been clear that providing you with more analytics tools is a must.
  • We need to focus on being a truly global company supporting the educational goals wherever our customers are based. Many of our customers have a global model with campuses, students, and educators located around the world. Being more globally minded will require us to spend some time figuring out how we do a better job integrating and working across all regions. I spent part of my career based in Brazil working for a North American tech company. It taught me the importance of finding the right global balance for the business. 
  • You like the friendly, family feel that exists in the Canvas brand and people. So many of the customers I’ve met have shared what a great personal relationship they had with the Instructure team—with comments like, "Canvas doesn’t feel like a vendor," "You guys are real," "My CSM knows me and my team," and "We get personal attention from Canvas that we don’t see from others." I have to agree with you. There is a family feel here. We need to preserve the culture that took years to build among employees and customers. There’s a reason we’re so focused this year on 3 C’s of Culture, Customers, and Canvas.


I’m beyond excited about the future of Instructure. Our conversations have only inspired me to better our Canvas platform and maintain the fun and even quirky culture that Instructure is known for. I hope you’ll join us October 15th at CanvasCon Online for a morning full of inspirational keynotes, time to chat with peers and product experts, an interactive virtual partner hall, and instructional breakout sessions. The team here has promised that there will be plenty of virtual fun and friend-making. 

Keep Learning,
Steve Daly | CEO

To learn more about Steve, watch his latest live stream with our Chief Customer Experience Officer, Melissa Loble. They discuss why Steve joined Instructure, the steps he is taking to get to know our customers, and how he plans to grow the Canvas community.