Author Archives: Kirsten Cluthe

Behind The Curtain: New Speakers & Hot Topics

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

It’s mid-summer, and the Lean Startup team is in the midst of planning the 2015 conference. We’re laser focused on creating a real-world experience that pulls you out of your digital life, if only for a few days. Our conference home will be historic Fort Mason, which lends a college-campus vibe to the program. And that’s not unintentional — it’s the perfect backdrop for our community to gather under one roof and have stimulating discussions, with very few distractions (but yes, there will be wifi).

A program with a diverse set of speakers and topics has always been the central tenet for the conference, and this year is no exception. Between the Lean Startup community, attendee feedback, faculty and advisors, we have received awesome recommendations that we’re excited to share with you as we put it all together.

The Conference Program

The conference program will include deep dive discussions on customer development, design/ux, leadership, management, and product/market fit; but, we’ll also focus on specific areas like Lean Startup in non-profit, education, and purpose-driven environments. We’ll have a Lean Startup 101 workshop for those of you new to the practice, and a track designed for corporate innovators in the enterprise sector. We want you to leave feeling energized and able to immediately apply what you’ve learned at the conference directly to your business.

To get a preview of what we’re putting together, be sure to check out our webcast series and soon-to-be announced podcast series, which will feature speakers and faculty from this year’s conference.

Last, but definitely not least, please meet the newest group of luminaries who will be joining Lean Startup this fall in San Francisco:

  • Amanda Richardson, VP Product for hot startup Hotel Tonight, on product/market fit
  • Alan Lobock, the Chief Executive of Spartacus Muse and professor at ASU enlightens us with lessons on why Lean Startup principles can improve management
  • James Warren, CEO/founder of Share More Stories – a former corporate marketer tells us how customer development shifted his entire business model in the first year
  • Christina Wodtke, Wodtke Consulting & Stanford University – one the most popular speakers from LSC 2014 returns to lead a hands-on session about early stage customer development
  • Rishi Dave, CMO, Dun & Bradstreet, joins us to talk about applying Lean Startup to the (very successful) modernization of the Dun & Bradstreet brand
  • Eric Hellweg, Managing Director, Digital Strategy/Editorial Director at Harvard Business Review joins us to talk about turning a 122-year old brand into an agile shop by applying the Lean Startup method
  • Dave Binetti, Principal, Dinadesa and Creator of the Innovation Options Framework – another popular speaker from 2014 delivers another session focused on innovation accounting
  • Andrew Breen, VP Product Delivery, American Express brings perspective on creating a Lean Startup shop within the iconic financial services enterprise
  • Amy Jo Kim, Creative Director, Social Game Designer / Mentor at Maven Ventures | VC & Incubator will teach you how to turbo-charge your early product design
  • Prerna Gupta, founder & CEO, Telepathic demonstrates why the Lean Startup method could disrupt Hollywood (really).

We’re excited to share the editorial experience with you as we put the conference together.

As always, please let us know if there’s anyone you’d like to hear from, any topics you’d like us to consider, or any questions you may have about the conference. Email me at Kirsten [at]

The Lean Startup Conference

The conference is a gathering for entrepreneurs, corporate innovators, and thought leaders from across sectors and structures. A fast paced, highly curated program featuring the best of the Lean Startup community, it is held on November 16 – 19 in San Francisco. You’ll receive practical ways to immediately implement the Lean Startup methodology into your daily business. You can get a great deal with our Summer Sale – click here for all the details.

This post was written by Kirsten Cluthe, Editorial Director of The Lean Startup Conference.

Meet The Lean Startup Conference Faculty!

The Lean Startup Conference, a five day gathering of entrepreneurs, is held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco from December 8th through December 12th 2014. (© 2013 Photo by The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin)
Photo Credit: Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin

We’re doing something different this year. We’ve created a conference faculty — a team of experts and innovators who will help guide the programming and format of this year’s event. We’ve rallied this great group of people to get closer to the community we serve, and to help us uncover the emerging projects and best practices that are shaping the future of the Lean Startup.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing the behind-the-scenes of our editorial process, so you can see how we’re programming and developing the curriculum for The Lean Startup Conference. You’ll get to read about what we’re building on our blog, and join the discussion through the Lean Startup Webcasts Series with faculty members and conference speakers.

I am looking forward to the new set of remarkable people and ideas we’ll experience in San Francisco this November as a result of our partnership.

And speaking of remarkable people, we’d like to hear from you, too. Tell us about the Lean Startup issues you’re grappling with, what you’d like to learn or achieve at the conference this year, and any other ideas in a short note to me at kirsten [at]


Aneesh Chopra

Aneesh Chopra is the co-founder of Hunch Analytics, a “hatchery” incubating open data startups that improve the productivity of health and education markets, including NavHealth, a patient journey analytics service. He serves as a Member of the Council on Virginia’s Future and an inaugural Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

From 2009-2012, Aneesh served as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer with a focus on better public/private collaboration as described in his 2014 book, “Innovative State: How New Technologies can Transform Government”. Check out his Lean Startup webcast here:

Cindy Alvarez

Cindy Alvarez is the author of “Lean Customer Development: How to Build Products Your Customers Will Buy.” Cindy has been using customer development techniques for well over a decade, across a variety of roles and organization sizes. She hates that alleged Henry Ford quote “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would’ve said ‘a faster horse.'” After seeing many organizations struggle, she wrote “Lean Customer Development” as a practical, hands-on guide to effectively talk to customers. Through the tactics in the book, organizations will learn how to rigorously validate their ideas, differentiate customer ‘wants’ from ‘needs,’ and build constant learning into their product development culture. Check out her 2014 Lean Startup talk here:

Diane Tavenner

Diane Tavenner is the Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools (SPS), a non-profit charter management organization focused on Silicon Valley. SPS opens and operates high performing public charter high schools and works with communities and parents to ensure that every child has access to a rigorous, college preparatory public school education.

In 2003, Diane founded Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City. Today, Summit Prep is ranked by Newsweek as one of 10 miracle high schools in the nation that is transforming student lives. Check out her 2012 Lean Startup talk here:

Mark Graban

Mark Graban is the Vice President of Customer Success for the software company KaiNexus, helping further their mission of “making improvement happen” in healthcare organizations and other industries.

Mark is the author of the book “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization”. He is the founder and lead blogger and podcaster at Check out his Lean Startup talk here:

Laura Klein

Laura Klein is a Lean UX and Research expert in Silicon Valley, where she teaches companies how to get to know their users and build products people will love. She blogs about UX, metrics, customer development, and startups at Users Know. Her book, UX for Lean Startups, was published by O’Reilly and is aimed at helping entrepreneurs learn enough research and design to let them validate their ideas.  Check out her Lean Startup talk here:

Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and general partner at BUILDUP is dedicated to growing global innovations by bringing innovators together from an array of backgrounds and experience – technology, corporate, healthcare, design, environmental, social and political leadership – to a forum to investigate new realms of technology.

Wayne has over 14 years experience in technology, design and business development. He was recently recognized as one of the Silicon Valley 100 coolest people in tech.

Why You Should Speak at Lean Startup Conference

Image 061115

Photo credit: The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Moser & Erin Lubin

Last week we announced the first round of talent confirmed to speak at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference. Now, it’s your turn. We’re reaching into the Lean Startup community to find hidden gems–the stories we don’t know.

Lean Startup methods are being applied by people around the globe, in startups and established companies, non-profits and civic organizations, and there are many stories to be told. We’re passionate about bringing fresh experiences and ideas to the community, and we encourage you to apply as a speaker–especially if you haven’t had the chance to speak from the Lean Startup stage.

What we’re looking for

Our goal is to bring the most interesting, relevant, and impactful stories to the conference. We’re looking for practitioners who are doing the real work. That’s where you come in. As a speaker, you’ll have the opportunity to share your advice, insight, failures, and successes in order to help and benefit from the Lean Startup community.

Now in its 6th year, the conference has evolved from entrepreneurs-helping-entrepreneurs to something much larger and more powerful–a global community of businesses helping each other grow. This year, we’ll stick to the key themes you’re already familiar with, such as Innovation Accounting, Experimentation, Reducing Risk, and Lean Impact; but, we’re expanding our focus to include examples of how the Lean Startup method is changing the way we do business, and what the future of that might look like. Topic categories such as Leadership Development, Change Management, Marketing, Design, and Data Science and more, will be on the agenda.

What is your Lean Startup story?

If you have a Lean Startup experience to share, regardless of whether you’ve ever spoken publicly or not, we encourage you to propose a talk via our application form. You’ll submit your idea in the form of a short video, but don’t worry–iPhone video capture is just as good as broadcast quality. We only ask that you make sure the sound is good, so we can hear you. Here’s an example of a CFP we loved:

Here are some basics to keep in mind as you put your proposal together:
  • You don’t need to be a Lean Startup all-star. You just need a good story, useful tips, advice, or practical applications to share.
  • The core of your proposal should be around one of the questions posed in the CFP form. Keep it simple and focused.
  • Do your best to deliver your pitch in the proposal video as you would on stage. Though there’s still time to practice, stage presence matters.
  • Your presentation can be in the form of a case study, an interactive session, a list of lessons learned, or a discussion — whichever format you think delivers the most punch. Let us know.

Conference attendees are entrepreneurs of all kinds–venture backed, bootstrappers, even entrepreneurs in corporate and government settings. We are seeking talks aimed at all segments of our audience:

  • Bootstrappers and startups
  • Corporate intrapreneurs
  • Educators
  • Government innovators
  • Non-profit and social impact leaders
  • Developers

Just as our audience is incredibly diverse, we are looking for speaker candidates from all over the world and from all walks of life, regardless of gender, race, or age.

So, why apply? Because the community needs you, and your work deserves to be celebrated.

Here’s what to do next:

  1. Click here for the application. Read it thoroughly (the directions are KEY).
  2. Submit your CFP by 11:59p PT on Wednesday July 15.
  3. We’ll do our best to respond to you by mid-August.

Would you rather attend?

The Lean Startup Conference is the best way to connect with other experts in the Lean Startup community. You’ll receive practical ways to immediately implement the Lean Startup methodology into your daily business

Now is the best time to purchase your tickets for The Lean Startup Conference; you will be able to take advantage of our Spring Sale prices. There is a package for every budget (and options to bring your entire team at an affordable rate). Click HERE for the details.

A Sneak Peek of Who You’ll Meet at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference

We are thrilled to announce the first round of speakers who will be joining us at the annual Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco, November 16-19, 2015. The stellar line up includes a visionary four-star general who has transformed how we think about leadership, an entrepreneur who is radically changing the way that people eat, one woman who founded an innovation lab inside the federal government, and another who runs an energy start-up inside one of the world’s biggest companies. This is just the start of who you will see, learn from and connect with at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference!

This November, you’ll hear from:

StanleyMcChrystalStanley McChrystal, Former Commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, Author of Best-Sellers Team of Teams and My Share of the Task, and Co-Founder of the McChrystal Group





Gagan Biyani, CEO, Sprig





Hillary Hartley, Deputy Executive Director, 18F





Johanna Wellington, GM & CTO, GE Fuel Cells





Mark Little, SVP, GE Global Research





Alexander Osterwalder, Entrepreneur / Speaker / Business model innovator





Ryan Hoover, Founder, Product Hunt





Errol Arkilic, CEO, M34 Capital





Janice Semper, Leader, GE Culture





Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup and the forthcoming Leader’s Guide



Interested in joining this incredible list of speakers?

Take a look at our Call For Proposals form. If it seems like a fit, we highly encourage you to apply today.

This year’s conference (our 6th!) will shine the spotlight on what’s next for the Lean Startup community. You’ll hear stories from the startup and enterprise sectors, as well as non-profit and government, healthcare, finance, consumer goods, and more — all supported by tools for practical application, deep dive case studies, workshops, and master classes.

In San Francisco, we’ll gather at the historic Fort Mason, where you’ll get downtime by the bay and ample time for the unexpected conversations that help to create the most memorable event experiences.

The Lean Startup team is working hard to plan an exciting event, and this year, we’re throwing in a few new twists to the program. You won’t want to miss it!

Don’t put off getting your ticket

Attending The Lean Startup Conference is the best way to connect with the Lean Startup community and receive practical ways to implement the Lean Startup methodology into your daily business — immediately.

Now is the best time to purchase your tickets for the conference; you will be able to take advantage of our Spring Sale prices. There is a package for almost every budget (and options to bring your entire team at an affordable rate). Click here to pick the best pass for you.