Mixbook Founder Andrew Laffoon; Entrepreneurial Success and the Growth Mindset

Andrew Laffoon, CEO of Mixbook, shares his journey from UC Berkeley to co-founding Mixbook and gives advice for success, including embracing failure, surrounding yourself with great people, being willing to adapt, having a strong work ethic, and believing in yourself.


March 24, 2023


The journey to entrepreneurial success can be a long and winding road, but for Andrew Laffoon, it started right here at UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. As a recipient of the Center’s Certificate of Engineering Management and Innovation program, Laffoon went on to co-found and serve as CEO of Mixbook, a leading online photo product company. Take a look deeper into Laffoon’s journey, his tips for success, and how you can achieve your own entrepreneurial goals.

Mixbook’s story as told by Andrew Laffoon

“As everyone carries [their phones] around, they are taking photos all the time; everyone’s a storyteller. But where do those stories live on? They might get their 15 seconds of fame on social media. But what else do you do with them? That’s really what sparked us. And it was that that sparked this idea of creating a digital creative tool that anyone could use to tell their story. That felt like that would unlock something new and big that didn’t exist before.”

From Berkeley to Mixbook

Laffoon’s journey began in the halls of UC Berkeley, where he studied computer science and discovered a passion for entrepreneurship. After graduation, he and his friend Aryk Grosz decided to start their own company, Mixbook, in 2006.

Mixbook started as a simple idea: create a platform where people could easily design and print photo books. But as they worked on the product, they realized they could expand into other areas of the online photo industry. Today, Mixbook offers a variety of products, including calendars, cards, and canvas prints, and has grown to become one of the largest photo product companies in the world.

Key Advice for Success

As Laffoon reflects on his journey to success, he emphasizes several key pieces of advice for students who want to follow in his footsteps:

  1. Embrace Failure – Laffoon says that failure is an inevitable part of the entrepreneurial journey. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward. “Don’t be afraid to fail,” he advises. “It’s through failure that you learn the most and make the biggest strides forward.”
  2. Surround Yourself with Great People – Laffoon credits much of his success to the team he built at Mixbook. He says that finding talented, passionate people who share your vision is key to building a successful company. “It’s important to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who share your values,” he says.
  3. Be Willing to Adapt – As Mixbook grew, Laffoon and his team had to be willing to adapt to new challenges and opportunities. He says that being open to change and constantly innovating is essential for any entrepreneur. “Be willing to pivot and adjust your course when necessary,” he advises. “You never know where it might take you.”
  4. Have a Strong Work Ethic – Building a successful company takes hard work and dedication. Laffoon says that he and his team worked long hours and made sacrifices to get Mixbook off the ground. “You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make your vision a reality,” he says.
  5. Believe in Yourself – Perhaps most importantly, Laffoon emphasizes the importance of believing in yourself and your vision. “If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will,” he says. “You have to have the confidence and conviction to push through the tough times and keep going.”

Andrew Laffoon’s journey from UC Berkeley to Mixbook is a testament to the power of entrepreneurship and the potential for success that lies within all of us. If you’re a student who dreams of starting your own company, take Laffoon’s advice to heart. Embrace failure, surround yourself with great people, be willing to adapt, have a strong work ethic, and above all, believe in yourself. Who knows? The next great entrepreneurial success story might just be yours.