The Lean Startup Conference 2015

November 16 - 19, 2015 - San Francisco, CA

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2015 Lean Startup Conference Program Details

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Registration Opens; Breakfast and Networking8:30 AM

Location: Herbst Pavilion

    Morning Plenary9:45 AM - 12:30 PM

    • Opening Remarks
      Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, @EricRies
      Room: Herbst
    • Lean Startup at GE
      Mark Little, GE
      Room: Herbst

      As GE’s Chief Technology Officer and Leader of GE’s nine Global Research Centers, Mark Little embraced the Lean Startup methodology to improve business outcomes. Mark will describe specific examples where he helped the organization use Lean Startup to help drive speed and innovation with cross functional teams across GE.

    • 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:
      —, VA, Emily Wright Moore
      — MyUSCIS, Immigration + 18F + USDS, Erica Deahl
      — betaFEC, FEC + 18F, Leah Bannon

    • Sponsored Talk: Outsourcing vs. Hiring Your Own Team
      Room: Herbst

      After working with hundreds of startups, many of them coming from Y Combinator and worth hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as running innovation for Fortune 500 brands, we know the answer to whether it’s better to hire your own team or outsource your project.

      This talk is sponsored by STRV.

    • How Mindfulness Can Help You Reduce Stress
      Stacy Conlon, The Zen Girl, @TheZenGirl
      Room: Herbst

      Eighty percent of workers feel stress on the job according to the American Institute of Stress. In just a few minutes, you will learn how mindfulness and meditation can help you transform stress into focus, calm and productivity.

    Lunch Break12:30 PM - 2:00 PM

    Food Trucks at Herbst Pavilion & General’s Residence

      Master Class1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

      For Platinum and Gold Passes only.

      • How to Ship Your Ideas1:00 - 1:45 PM
        Room: C260

        Are you busting at the seams with ideas for that next great software product, but feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to bring those ideas to life? Perhaps you’re feeling stuck and bombarded by the questions in your head asking things like, “Is this idea really any good?” or “Will it attract paying customers?”, or “How in the world do I go about recruiting the right talent who can successfully help me ship a product?”. Entrepreneur, engineer, author, and speaker, Poornima Vijayashanker, will teach you how to tackle these questions and beyond. Channeling her experience as the founding engineer of, and launching BizeeBee and Femgineer, Poornima has developed a proven step-by-step process for successfully shipping the idea or ideas you’ve been dreaming about. She has shared her expertise and insights with entrepreneurs of various backgrounds around the world, lectured at her Alma Mater, Duke University, and served as the Engineer-in Residence for 500 Startups, a top accelerator in Silicon Valley. From her book, How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products, Poornima will teach you how to: Validate your idea before you spend time and money on it; Talk to prospective customers without feeling awkward or pushy; and hire talented people to build your product for you.

      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 - From Campus to Startup2:00 -3:00 PM
        Frank Rimalovski, New York University, @rimalovski
        Room: Southside

        In this panel, participants from leading academic institutions and entrepreneurs with technologies that have been spun out will discuss how Lean Startup is being applied in a campus setting and beyond. You will learn how Lean Startup has restructured the innovation ecosystem at Georgia Tech, and how NYU has spread it throughout campus to foster cross-boundary collaboration. You will also learn about the genesis of The National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program and hear what it takes to transition from search to execution from one of I-Corps’ emerging success stories, Neon Labs.

      • A Playbook for Achieving Product-Market Fit2:00 - 3:00 PM
        Dan Olsen, The Lean Product Playbook , @danolsen
        Room: C260

        Everyone working on a new product is trying to achieve the same goal: product-market fit. Although product-market fit is one of the most important Lean Startup concepts, it’s also the least well defined. Dan Olsen shares the top advice from his book The Lean Product Playbook, including the Product-Market Fit Pyramid: an actionable model that breaks product-market fit down into 5 key elements. Dan also explains the Lean Product Process, a 6-step methodology with practical guidance on how to achieve product-market fit, illustrated with a real-world case study.

      • Accelerate Beyond The Lean Startup2:00 - 3:00 PM
        Zach Nies, Techstars , @zachnies
        Room: C205

        You know that Lean Startup techniques have helped your company move forward, and you know your competitors are successfully using those same techniques. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to find new ways to accelerate your company. The key is to use Lean to balance exploration and operation within your company. In this experience report, Zach Nies and Rachel Weston Rowell will share techniques and stories from startups to large organizations that have accelerated their growth by applying Lean thinking to how they operate their company and how they explore through uncertainty.

      • 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.

      • Don't Listen to Users, Sample Their Experience!3:30 - 4:00 PM
        Room: Herbst

        Uncovering true user needs is one of the most challenging aspects of product development. Oh-so-many organizations develop products and services that nobody needs. The Experience Sampling Method is a simple research technique for uncovering user needs. In a typical Experience Sampling study, research participants are interrupted several times a day to note their experience in real time. In this talk, Tomer Sharon will demonstrate the method with conference attendees, show how it can help shape product roadmap priorities, describe how it serves as Google Search’s secret weapon, and demonstrate live, onstage data analysis.

      • 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.

      • Live Q&A with Eric Ries3:30 - 4:30 PM
        Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, @EricRies
        Room: Cowell

        This session is open to Platinum passholders only. Eric Ries will hold a live Q&A with entrepreneurs. Not only will you have a chance to ask him your toughest questions about running experiments, measuring success, knowing when to pivot, understanding customer feedback and more–you’ll also hear about the challenges other entrepreneurs face and the advice Eric gives them.

      • Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding your Customers3:30 - 4:30 PM
        Frank Rimalovski, New York University, @rimalovski
        Room: Southside

        While most entrepreneurs understand that “getting out of the building” is a core tenet of the Lean Startup, many still struggle to effectively conduct the kinds of interviews and experiments that will lead to the insights they seek (and need). In this hands on workshop, you’ll be guided through the process of securing, conducting and synthesizing early customer discovery interviews.

      • 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.

      • Mastering Customer Discovery3:30 - 4:00 PM
        Ariana Friedlander, Rosabella Consulting, LLC , @arianaf
        Room: C205

        Do you struggle connecting with your customers? Having a hard time getting valuable insights from your customers? Tired of running experiments that don’t give accurate pass/fail indicators? In this hands-on interactive session, Ariana will help you move past those limitations by sharing her unique co-creational approach. At the end, you will walk away with a well crafted line of inquiry so that you may conduct more effective experiments while building your community of supporters.

      • 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.

      Office Hours2:00PM - 5:00PM

      For Platinum and Gold Passes only.          Location: Firehouse

        Closing Session5:00 - 6:00 PM

        Attendee Networking Dinners7:00 - 9:00 PM

        Continue the conversations provoked in our daytime sessions over dinner with your peers. See the details and purchase tickets here.

        These dinners are not part of your conference ticket. Any passholder can register for them.