Why Teams Attend The Lean Startup Conference

Photo by The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin

Every year, dozens of companies send teams to the Lean Startup Conference. So if you’re thinking about inviting coworkers to join you, you’re not alone.

Companies such as Siemens, Macy’s, VSP, and the United States Digital Service send cross-functional groups ranging in size from 3 to 50 people each. The benefit? Groups are here together and your undivided attention is on learning. It’s the perfect complement to our on-site coaching and training programs: our conference provides a great forum for team members to step out of their comfort zones, learn from other organizations, and share learning experiences around experimentation, faster product delivery, and collaborative work cultures.

We’ve seen product leaders attend with their CFOs and legal teams attend with engineers and marketers. And every experience is a unique one—some groups join us with the specific goal of solving a business challenge or bringing a new product to market, while others join us as an opportunity to discover actionable advice and case studies.  

With just three weeks out until the event, we want to make sure that you have the resources that you need to plan and get your teams in sync. Here our best tips for attending as part of a group:

  1. Participate in our workshops and breakouts. In addition to our keynote talks, we have a number of hands-on sessions that are great for teams tackling a specific pain point or challenge. As the Lean Startup Conference approaches, be sure to check out our program page for our Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon sessions. If you’re a Platinum Pass holder, you should also check out Monday’s in-depth sessions and Thursday’s Startup Tour program. Some options to keep on your radar:
  • User experience consultants Laura Klein and Christina Wodtke will be hosting a workshop on using design thinking to solve product development challenges.
  • Growth consultant Ariana Friedlander will host a hands-on session on mastering customer discovery.
  • GoodData’s VP of product Gaurav Agarwal will host a session on finding your customer and provide a hands-on exercise in gaining knowledge quickly.
  1. Divide and conquer. Simply put, there’s a lot to do at The Lean Startup Conference. Take your pick from dozens of workshops and case study based keynotes, 1:1 mentorship sessions, networking dinners, live Q&A sessions with Eric Ries, Startup Tours, and community led discussion groups. Before you come to San Francisco, take some time to review our program details, in addition to our list of speakers and mentors. Set goals for attending The Lean Startup Conference, and assign a ‘learning’ or ‘networking’ track to everyone in your group. You can match people to activities based on their job functions, learning, objectives, or organizational interests. Go through this process approximately 2-3 weeks before you leave for San Francisco.
  1. Pre-network. This year, there will be almost 2,000 entrepreneurial leaders attending The Lean Startup Conference. As much as you’ll want to meet everyone who’s there, you simply can’t. You need to choose your relationships wisely, and take some time before the event to get them started. One resource to tap into is The Lean Startup Conference’s event community page, and exclusive to registered attendees, you can join our official Attendees & Alumni LinkedIn group. Have each team member check it out and come up with a list of fellow attendees to meet. You can also take a look at our speakers and mentors—each of whom is just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them.
  1. Air your team laundry. You know what business challenges you’re facing as an individual. But when was the last time you brought up these issues with your team? Figure out the challenges each person is facing so that you can actively address them by the time you touch ground in San Francisco. When you’re on the same page about your problems, you can each explore solutions, from your own perspectives. Our conference is about conversation and mentorship, and you’ll meet fellow business leaders who are interested in troubleshooting and learning with you.
  1. Compare notes. In step 2, we told you to divide and conquer. We’re also going to recommend that you regroup for coffee at the end of each day. Share notes and talk through the lessons you’re learning. There’s no need to tackle anything concrete.
  1. Keep track of your favorite lessons and talks. Only a portion of your team will likely be able to attend The Lean Startup Conference in person. That’s okay. Take notes to share with your coworkers back home, and remember that all keynote and some breakout sessions will be available on YouTube after the event. If you need additional case studies or have a request for resources that will be helpful for your team, contact [email protected].
  1. Consider becoming a sponsor. Is your company aiming to reach an audience of product development, engineering, marketing, and financial leaders? Consider becoming a sponsor. You can host an exhibitor table, put together a networking event, or share media. Rather than chasing audiences down, sponsorship allows you to be efficient with your time. We have options for startups of all sizes (including a $3,000 package for companies selected to be in our inaugural Startup Alley). Contact [email protected] to explore options and brainstorm opportunities.
  1. Look for ongoing coaching and support. Four days at The Lean Startup Conference will leave you energized with ideas that you’ll want to apply immediately. You’ll probably want some help, additional insight, and guidance from our community. If you’re looking for ongoing coaching, get in touch with [email protected] and read this attendee story here.
  1. Find micro-moments. Our conference attendees are awesome. They’re accomplished, intelligent, and excited to learn. Most importantly, they’re friendly, down-to-earth, and fun.

“One big difference between being there in person, [rather] than the livestream, is the conversations that happen outside of the talks,” says Ursula Shekufendeh, former Lean Startup Conference speaker and product manager at AppFolio. “So connecting with people that might be going through the same challenges, or have run into similar situations as you, and exchanging those ideas is invaluable.”

When you find yourself with unexpected down time, or if you want to bounce ideas off another group, just keep your ears open. You never know who your team will meet.

Ready to bring your team to The Lean Startup Conference? We have a terrific deal for teams of 8 or more. Save 20% on Fall pricing by 10/31. Don’t waste your Q4 training budget — register today.

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