The Lean Startup Conference 2015

November 16 - 19, 2015 - San Francisco, CA

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2015 Lean Startup Conference Program Details


Talks in the Presentation Track

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Morning Plenary9:45 AM - 12:30 PM

  • Managing Through Hyper-Growth
    Room: Herbst

    Technology is moving faster than ever before. Traditional methods for technology management, recruiting, and product development are increasingly irrelevant. How do you grow and manage your team/company through periods of hyper-growth? A talk by Aditya Agarwal, VP of Engineering at Dropbox and former Facebook Directer of Engineering.

  • The Building Blocks of Community
    Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt, @rrhoover
    Room: Herbst

    Communities don’t form by accident; they require constant cultivation and hard work to grow. For many businesses, community is an essential differentiator or even a core component to its success. Ryan Hoover started Product Hunt nearly two years ago as an email list. It’s now become a place for enthusiasts and makers across the world to share and geek out about their next favorite thing. In this talk, Ryan will share the strategy and tactics they used to build a strong and growing community.

  • How to Become an Innovation Leader
    Room: Herbst

    Mastering lean startup principles takes practice, but teaching an entire company how to do it at scale is a entirely different leadership challenge altogether. Meet Bennett Blank, who was responsible for scaling Lean Startup at Intuit. Bennett will share what he discovered along Intuit’s journey, and best practices for making the leap from individual ability to organizational capability. You’ll learn tips and tricks for leading change, transforming your organization and your career in the process.

  • So You Want to Build the Next Facebook
    Room: Herbst

    Most founders want to build a billion dollar business, but they sometimes forget that giants like Facebook didn’t start out as giants. In this talk, Laura Klein, author of UX for Lean Startups, outlines some of the most important strategies that companies used to build and learn before they grew. .

  • Intro to USDS and 18F
    Emily Wright-Moore, United States Digital Service - Department of Veterans Affairs
    Room: Herbst

    Hillary Hartley introduces us to USDS and 18F. She will also faciliate three brief case studies including:
    — Vets.gov, VA, Emily Wright Moore
    — MyUSCIS, Immigration + 18F + USDS, Erica Deahl
    — betaFEC, FEC + 18F, Leah Bannon

Afternoon Breakouts2:00 PM - 4:45 PM

  • Lean Methodologies When the Organization is the Product2:00 - 3:00 PM
    Garren Givens, Presidential Innovation Fellows, @InnovFellows
    Noah Kunin, 18F - General Service Administration, @noahkunin
    Room: Herbst

    Hillary Hartley offers an overview of 18F as a lean startup inside government with four case studies:
    — Presidential Innovation Fellowship as a lean startup – Garren Givens, Director, PIF Program
    — Hacking the Bureaucracy: Acquiring Talent – Jennifer Tress, 18F Talent Director
    — Hacking the Bureaucracy: Deploying Software – Noah Kunin, 18F Infrastructure Director
    — LeanUX for Organizational Growth – Nick Brethauer, 18F Designer

  • Getting Lean to Stick2:00 - 3:00 PM
    Janice Semper, General Electric
    Room: Cowell

    Through a strategic imperative known as Simplification, GE is undergoing sweeping organizational change to become faster, more agile and more customer-focused. The company is transforming the way it works through an initiative known as FastWorks (GE’s Lean Startup approach), the way it defines and builds its culture, and the way it accelerates the growth of its employees and teams.  Janice Semper, co-founder of FastWorks at GE and a principal architect of the company’s Culture of Simplification effort, shares her thoughts on the company’s progress and lessons learned on the journey thus far, and the implications for next steps.

  • Lean Startup Case Study: Hotel Tonight2:00 - 2:30 PM
    Room: BATS

    Amanda Richardson, VP of Product for last minute booking app Hotel Tonight joins us to talk about how they’re reinventing hotel booking, and the travel experience, for the mobile era.

  • How to Build Products Your Customers will Love2:30 - 3:00 PM
    Room: BATS

    Tom Nguyen, Principal Product Manager at Adobe, reveals the lessons he learned introducing Lean Startup to create one of Adobe’s most successful mobile apps – which would inspire a new product family and be named by Apple as one of the Best Apps of the Year. Whether you’re bootstrapping or want to know how to make lean work in a big corporation, learn how empathetic design, radical simplicity, and iteration can help you build products that bring people joy.

  • Digital Investing: The Last Frontier2:15 - 3:00 PM
    Devon McConnell, Wells Fargo Advisors
    Room: General's Residence Dining Room

    The financial services industry is now at a change moment. There are two major change drivers today – customers’ digital expectations and increased regulations. It’s the perfect storm. And it’s driving us to look at the very basic operating models we work under to meet new demands. Devon McConnell, Head of Digital for Wells Fargo Advisors will share how she and her team are leading an internal transformation to bring agile and lean practices to build out the firm’s digital experience for a new group of investors. Money is deeply personal. Building a compelling and trustworthy experience is critical, but wrought with uncertainty. Devon explores how she has incorporated the focus of emotional design into key projects at Wells Fargo Advisors, now and in the future.

  • Lean Principles and Enterprise Marketing Transformation2:00 - 3:00 PM
    Rishi Dave, Dun & Bradstreet , @RishiPDave
    Room: General's Residence Ballroom

    Dun & Bradstreet, a nearly 175-year-old company with offices around the world, might not seem like a startup in the traditional sense. But as the company has implemented an aggressive growth strategy, its marketing organization has embraced Lean Startup methodologies to focus its efforts on only the most valuable customer relationships. Dun & Bradstreet CMO Rishi Dave shares the company’s experience and what organizations large and small can learn from the successes they’ve had in thinking Lean to drive pipeline and revenue.

  • How Lean Startup Accelerates (open) Innovation2:00 - 2:20 PM
    Room: C210

    This presentation looks at the learnings and challenges faced when Transavia started using Lean Startup to accelerate customer experience innovation, how we engaged the Transavia Management Team, how we scaled Lean Startup for other business ideas, how we combined different methods of work into a continuous innovation process and how we apply Lean Startup in an Open innovation context.

  • Lean Startup Accelerator for Enterprises to Create New Businesses2:20 - 2:40 PM
    Takashi Tsutsumi, Learning Entrepreneur's Lab , @t_tutu
    Masato Lino, Learning Entrepreneur's Lab , @Craque
    Room: C210

    Learning Entrepreneur’s Lab is a Lean Startup accelerator for a variety of enterprises in Japan, ranging from a top-notch consumer electronics company to an industrial equipment manufacturer to the leading company in the food and beverage industry. In their presentation, Takashi and Masato will share lessons learned and a case study of how Lean Startup Accelerator is conducted in Japan.

  • The Next Silicon Valley is the World2:40 - 3:00 PM
    Leon Pals, Startup Foundation , @leonpals
    Room: C210

    Startup Foundation is on a quest to build a global startup community, but the non-profit didn’t start out like that. This case study shows how you can unlock new sources of growth by applying Lean Startup and by becoming segment focused. It shows it is possible to deliver completely different products and services, as long as they adhere to your mission, and your segment shows the demand. Expect an interesting story, with practical advice and a dash of purpose.

  • Irrational Products4:00 - 4:30 PM
    Room: Herbst

    As product managers and founders we know failing can be a good learning experience – and that is true, unless you fail because of something common or stupid that could have been avoided by simple methodologies. Many times we simply make irrational product decisions that prevent us from actually running valuable experiments. Avoiding common mistakes and taking better product decisions, by using easy hacks, could make or break your product and startup. In this session we will go over a few common product failures, as well as demonstrate simple methods and tricks to avoid these failures.

  • Harvard Business Review’s Digital Transformation3:30 - 4:00 PM
    Eric Hellweg, Harvard Business Review , @ehellweg
    Room: BATS

    Eric Hellweg, HBR’s Executive Director of Product Management and Digital Strategy, will discuss how the team at HBR has transformed the brand from a primarily print product to one with digital at its core, using lean principles and by instilling a “product management mindset” –and a true product management function—inside this traditional media organization.

  • The Hidden Burden of Iteration4:00 - 4:30 PM
    Winnie J. Kao, Seth Godin's altMBA , @winniekao
    Room: BATS

    There are a lot of useful hacks, scripts, marketing hooks, and tactics. This talk doesn’t offer any of those things. Iteration, by definition, means change–and change is something that our brains are hard-wired to avoid at all costs. When you choose to run lean, you sign up for a lifetime of fighting your natural instincts. In this talk, you’ll learn a framework to leverage the anxiety of never knowing the answer, and to confidently move forward through chaos.

  • Applying Lean Principles to Anticipatory Experiences3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Room: General's Residence Dining Room

    Our obsession with beautiful apps and designed experiences is distracting us from our purpose: making life easier for people. The future lies in smart products and services that anticipate user needs and automatically make decisions for us, requiring as little interaction as possible. But creating services that execute on behalf of their users requires extra attention to lean principles. In her talk, Patricia Korth-McDonnell will introduce the concept of anticipatory design, address how to identify the most valuable problem to solve with the minimum effort necessary, and underscore the importance of listening to user feedback to ensure the right balance of automation and control.

  • Building a Culture of Innovation: An Example from Agribusiness3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Mark Bidwell, nowhere Digital, @markehb
    Room: General's Residence Ballroom

    The Financial Times called Syngenta the Apple of the agrochemical world. In an industry characterized by increasing regulation, long product life cycles and a small number of suppliers, what can be learned from the Lean Startup movement? The answer may surprise you. Mark Bidwell has extensive experience catalyzing and driving change in market-leading companies such as BP Oil and the Hay Group, and most recently in Syngenta, where he led the creation and development of a global $2bn Specialty Crops business unit. He recently became CEO of nowhere digital, a powerful platform that enables better, more productive meetings… by design.

  • Re-imagining Job Creation: Using Paint3:30 - 3:50 PM
    Room: C210

    Liz Powers has worked with homeless and disabled individuals for 9 years. She was frustrated hearing clients be put down. She wanted to create a movement celebrating strengths and creating jobs. Liz will describe how she bootstrapped ArtLifting to turn $4k of investment into revenue in the 6 figures. Topics include: creating for-profit social enterprise, bootstrapping, minimizing risk, and rapid geographic expansion.

  • Improving the Quality of Families in Kenya the Lean Startup Way3:50 - 4:10 PM
    Room: C210

    Bidhaa Sasa (“Products Now” in Swahili) is a lean startup based in Bungoma County in Kenya. Its purpose is to distribute and finance goods to rural households, and to provide services to otherwise under-served communities. Bidhaa Sasa focuses on goods and services which will improve the quality of life for rural communities. Co-founder Rocio Perez Ochoa joins us to talk about their journey, and how they’ve implemented Lean Startup to improve the lives of her customers.

  • Pivot, Proceed, or Quit?: Lean Metrics for the Social Sector4:10 - 4:30 PM
    Room: C210

    Social sector innovators have to deal with far more diverse metrics than business entrepreneurs when implementing lean practices. The basic metric of “does it make money?” is rarely applicable to the value of a social, non-market innovation because, generally speaking, the beneficiaries of a social innovation are not the people funding it or paying for it. Making a “pivot, proceed, or quit” decision in the social sector requires data to answer three questions: 1)Do people need the innovation? Is it a solution to a problem?; 2)Can you reach enough people with the innovation to make a difference? Does it scale to the point of relevance?, and 3)Can you fund the innovation? Can you find a way to keep it running? This talk will give examples of how social entrepreneurs answer these questions as well as how political and social capital available for social action influence the learning environment and the long-term success of social innovations.

  • Prototyping Your Experiences3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Chris Luomanen, Thing Tank LLC
    Room: C260

    How can we understand disruptive experiences, that nobody has tried yet, because we just invented them? You could ask users to guess what they think they would think. Or you could find a way to bring key aspects of that experience to life for users as quickly and cheaply as possible. This talk will cover why we build experience prototypes, and how to figure out what experience prototypes might help you to develop your product or service.

  • The Nitty Gritty of Setting Up Customer Discovery Meetings4:00 - 4:30 PM
    David Telleen-Lawton, UC Santa Barbara - Technology Management Program , @DTLinSB
    Room: C205

    This talk will focus on the down and dirty details of setting up meetings for Customer Discovery. The mindset you need, combined with specific tactics on how to will be discussed. Having set hundreds of B2B and B2C discovery meetings over the years, Telleen-Lawton has employed every stall tactic and excuse to delay reaching out and setting these meetings. He’ll show you how to avoid them and get on the fast track to a bull’s-eye product and a sustainable business model…or the realization that time would be better spent on a different idea.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Morning Plenary9:45 AM - 12:30 PM

  • How Data Can Save Hollywood
    Room: Herbst

    Remember when companies would launch massive software projects without A/B testing? It sucked! Believe it or not, there is a multi-billion dollar industry that still produces products like that today. That industry is Hollywood. Join me as I explore the final frontier of analytics: creativity. Creative geniuses often have an aversion to incorporating data into the creative process. Creativity is driven by intuition, they argue, and cannot be analyzed. Data kills creativity! But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of analytics, which is costing Hollywood billions of dollars a year. In this talk, I’ll discuss some of Hollywood’s greatest big-budget flops, and how analytics could have saved them. I’ll also provide examples of how innovative storytellers are breaking with tradition and using Lean principles to create modern blockbusters for tremendous gain. Join me in discovering the role Lean Startup can play in revolutionizing Hollywood.

  • Eliminating Your Ego: Product Market Fit
    Room: Herbst

    Gagan Biyani joins us to talk about applying Lean Startup to launch Sprig, a dine-on-demand meal service. He’ll discuss learnings from his previous company, Udemy, to the challenges he faced when building a food service startup, and the multiple pivots they made in order to get to the right product-market fit.

  • Turbo-Charge Your Early Product Development
    Amy Jo Kim, Shufflebrain , @amyjokim
    Room: Herbst

    It’s easier than ever to create a new, innovative product, game, app or service. But most innovative projects never take off and reach their intended audience. What differentiates the ones that DO? What do teams who create genre-defining hits do differently? In this talk, you’ll learn 5 early design hacks that will help you find and delight your aspirational audience – illustrated with front-line stories from eBay, Ultima Online, The Sims, Rock Band, Covet Fashion, Happify and Pley. You’ll come away with a smarter approach to early product design – and 5 practical, actionable hacks that will increase your odds of success.

  • Lean Startup for Finance: Using Innovation Accounting for Valuation and Risk Management
    Room: Herbst

    Whether you’re in Finance — or just report *to* Finance — you’ll want to catch David Binetti’s talk on Innovation Accounting. David will show how to calculate the ROI and Risk of innovation projects while avoiding common traps that can doom entrepreneurs before they begin. TAGS: Enterprise, Startups, Analytics

Afternoon Breakouts2:00 PM - 4:30 PM

  • Lean Product Development in a Highly Regulated Finance Environment: American Express2:15 - 3:00 PM
    Andrew Breen, American Express , @buckybanjo
    Room: General's Residence Dining Room

    Learn how a startup is being created inside of American Express using Lean Startup. Andrew Breen, VP of Product, will discuss their successes (and failures) in this highly informative talk. He’ll share his experiences applying Lean Startup principles to develop technology products inside a conservative, highly regulated enterprise.

  • View from the Trenches: What Went Wrong with Our Lean Startup Program?2:00 - 3:00 PM
    Room: General's Residence Ballroom

    With all of the success of Lean in the startup community, this should be pretty easy to implement in the Corporate environment, right? After launching with very little to show in the way of success, the team in Ericsson’s Atlanta Idea Factory had to take a step back and evaluate what changes were necessary to implement Enterprise Lean Startup with success. One key principle had to be learned… People are an organization’s greatest asset, AND its greatest barrier to success.

  • The Startup Storyteller: Using Stories to Learn2:00 - 2:30 PM
    James Warren, Share More Stories & Johnson, Inc., @warrenjwric
    Room: C260

    Share More Stories empowers brands and people to connect through shared stories. And as founder James Warren and his team developed the company’s vision, strategy and prototype, they began realizing that stories weren’t just core to their product – they were core to their innovation and learning process as well. The stories people shared during development and after launch revealed deep customer needs, helped the team improve its value proposition and led to the identification of new customer opportunities. In his talk, James will share how he and his team used these stories to learn as much as possible, in order to accelerate the development and growth of their platform.

  • Minimum Viable Marketing2:30 - 3:00 PM
    Ritika Puri, Storyhackers & Lean Startup Company , @ritika_puri
    Room: C260

    Enterprise marketers are under extreme pressure to achieve higher conversion rates, profits, and growth. But how do you take an initiative from zero to seven or eight figures? The answer is simple: iterative improvement. This talk will teach you how Lean Startup and product development concepts can improve the efficiency and ROI of your marketing. You’ll come away with an understanding of how to build large-scale, effective marketing programs by starting very small.

  • The Human Side of Lean Startup: Functional Team Culture2:00 - 2:30 PM
    Freyja Balmer, Scripps Networks Interactive , @bettyrocker
    Michael Greene, Scripps Networks Interactive , @greeneysays
    Room: C205

    Whether you’re bringing Lean methods into a large organization or your own small startup, human factors matter. Dysfunctional teams cling to vanity metrics, produce work that doesn’t matter to anyone outside the building, squash creativity, and severely limit their ability to innovate quickly. Life is too short to do dumb work slowly with a bunch of passive-aggressive jerks, so join Freyja Balmer and Michael Greene, whose amazing team have most recently grown Food.com into the second largest digital food property, for a fun and probing session. We’ll talk about: Guidelines that work for building engaged, effective people into a cohesive team; Kickstarting your team’s own very best and most functional culture; Techniques for addressing specific problems with team dynamics. This session is for anyone who is looking for real talk on what makes people do great work.

  • Internal Customer Development2:30 - 3:00 PM
    Andrea Hill, ReadyTalk , @afhill
    Room: C205

    The Good News: You don’t need to secure VC funding to pay your mortgage. The Bad News: You have to find project sponsorship and support from a much smaller pool (your own organization).  Andrea Hill, Product Strategist and Intrapreneur at ReadyTalk, explains how focusing on internal customer discovery and securing a product sponsor paved the way for the launch of UbiMeet, the company’s first internal startup product.

  • Using LinkedIn for Customer Discovery2:00 - 2:30 PM
    Brandy Nagel, Georgia Tech VentureLab , @benag
    Room: C210

    During this “laptop open” session you’ll learn tips and tricks for finding the right people to interview. We’ll talk about how to identify and approach people to set up customer discovery interviews, making the best use of LinkedIn’s free services. Find early-vangelists, influencers, users and buyers — using connections and groups to start conversations.

  • Customer Development Power-Ups2:30 - 3:00 PM
    Room: C210

    Knowing your customers is difficult, and finding them can be an expensive endeavor. Gaurav Agarwal has learned a few easy, low cost tricks to help startups build a quick understanding of customers and market. His techniques leverage existing web analytics tools that are available to all. Aimed to help startups get more with less, when working in a resource-constrained environment.

  • GE–Fuel Cells: Running a Lean Startup Inside a Big Corporation3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Room: Herbst

    In 2014, GE launched an internal start-up business, GE-Fuel Cells, inspired by an advanced manufacturing breakthrough at our research center. Specifically, we’re developing solid oxide fuel cell systems that will provide businesses and communities around the world the ability to efficiently generate clean, reliable power locally at the point of use in a factory, data center or small, remote neighborhood. Learn how we are applying lean startup principles in this long cycle, equipment based business in order to dramatically accelerate our path to commercialization and reduce risk. As part of this journey we have pushed the envelope with out-of-the-box opportunities to apply lean startup methodologies including a “Manufacturing MVP”.

  • The Lean Hardware Toolbox3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Marcus Gosling, Highway1.io , @marceire
    Room: Southside

    In mass-production, you only have one chance to get the product right. The in-flexibility and expense of the physical product supply-chain prohibits an experimental, iterative approach. Inspired by lean startup, hardware entrepreneurs are developing new tools and methodologies for exploring and validating their product ideas prior to mass manufacture. 3D printing and off-the-shelf development kits are being used to support rapid product iteration and low-volume early adopter sales. Existing commercial products are being hacked by entrepreneurs to prototype and explore completely new experiences. Prototypes are becoming instrumented to collect data on engagement and usage patterns in the field. Illustrated with case studies from the Highway1.io hardware startup accelerator this talk will share a range of emergent patterns and best practices in lean hardware development.

  • Minimum Viable Taxes: Lessons Learned Building an MVP Inside the IRS3:30 - 4:30 PM
    Andrea Schneider, Internal Revenue Service , @AZSchneiderinMD
    Room: General's Residence Dining Room

    Although the IRS can process your refund quickly, it does not have a reputation for quick internal change; it still uses many applications from the Kennedy administration. But Andrea Schneider, Senior Manager of Product Management in Online Services, is helping the IRS launch a MVP early in next year’s filing season that will allow taxpayers to access basic tax information online, including their balance, tax records, and payment histories, as well as make a payment. She, along with Lauren Gilchrist, Product Manager at Pivotal Labs, who is partnering with the IRS to build the MVP, will discuss their biggest challenges along the way and share advice for experimenting and iterating inside large bureaucracies.

  • Caution: Live Subjects! Lean Experiments for Services3:30 - 4:00 PM
    Room: C260

    Testing apps, websites and digital services is pretty well-documented territory. But running lean experiments for services without a screen can seem daunting. In-person services are holistic experiences with lots of moving parts, which can easily make testing costs and timelines balloon. The biggest challenge is figuring out which parts of the service to make real and which parts to fake. At gravitytank, we work with organizations big and small to run lean experiments that focus on the most uncertain and risky element of a new service. Like any good test, our experiments generate useful quant data (i.e. throughput, sales, user preferences), but we also leverage them to collect meaningful qualitative feedback. We’ve used this approach to lean service MVPs for restaurant startups, huge CPG companies, global hotel chains and others. Across the board, the learnings have had significant impact on development. Caution: Live Subject! will take you through a few examples, offer some ‘pro tips’, and together, we’ll run a rapid-fire service experiment to bring it to life.

  • Spanning the Schism: How Enterprises & Startups Can Accelerate Innovation Together4:00 - 4:30 PM
    Room: C260

    Large corporations have capital, distribution, and brand. Small startups can innovate at lightspeed. Learn how to use Lean Startup methodologies to leverage each other effectively for absurd ROIs.