Mike Simmons

Director of Product Design

Biography

Mike Simmons

Director of Product Design

Mike Simmons leads mechanical design at Playground, helping the startup companies create physical products that fuse utility with delight.

Prior to Playground, Mike worked at Google, where he led product design and engineering teams for Android, Nexus, and Chromecast. Before that, Mike led product design efforts for various startups, created new products and businesses at Lunar Design, and ran his own consulting practice. He has also created products with Apple, Danger, Motorola, and many other familiar companies.

Mike says a major challenge of product design is figuring out how to bring all the product elements together while optimizing dozens of requirements—cost, reliability, safety, and quality, to name a few.

“That’s where I love to play: At the intersection of design, engineering challenges, manufacturing constraints, and building a sustainable business,” he says.

Mike discovered his passion for design and mechanical invention at Stanford, earning a bachelor’s degree in Product Design Engineering. He also holds an MBA in entrepreneurship and venture development from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Mike believes that great product design starts with addressing a real need and is excited about applying this philosophy to his work at Playground.

“If you can solve a person’s problem and delight them, then you have improved that person’s life, and that’s special. With smart devices, there are higher expectations for what they should do,” he says. “Helping to meet those expectations is something to which I aspire.”



Product Design Manager, Google
Director, Mechanical Engineering, OpenPeak
Principal, i Consulting
Sr. Product Designer, Lunar Design
Board of Directors, Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California
Hobbies: Running, camping, biking, fishing, coaching sports, occasional cattle wrangling