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Image: Figma

Figma, a popular online design tool, has hired Ken Norton, the product veteran who left Google last week after 14 years there, to be Figma's director of product, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Though not well known outside design circles, Figma is part of a growing group of online workplace tools that have carved out a valuable and significant role in contemporary corporate life.

What they're saying: In an interview, Norton and Figma CEO Dylan Field confirmed the hire.

  • Norton said he always assumed he would leave Google for a job that called to him, saying he ended up staying at the company far longer than he expected, most recently in GV, one of its venture capital units.
  • After using Figma for nine months, he said he approached the company about joining.

The big picture: Figma has also seen some novel uses amid the pandemic. Field said it has been used for everything from serving as a remote whiteboard to creating a virtual Silicon Valley to engaging in a little multiplayer Pong.

  • But its main focus is on expanding the use of its product among designers and building a greater community. A new option encourages those using the site to share some of their creations under a Creative Commons license that allows others to make use of and remix the designs.
  • "We think we've got so much more to do on collaboration," Field said.

Go deeper

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.

Scoop: U.S. ambassador refuses Kremlin push to leave Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States ambassador to Russia is refusing to leave the country after the Kremlin "advised" him to return home following new Biden administration sanctions, two sources briefed on the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Sullivan, a respected diplomat who President Biden has, so far, retained from the Trump era, is at the center of one of the most important early tests of Biden's resolve.