Monday, December 1, 2014

See More than 120 Speakers and Mentors at The Lean Startup Conference

Guest post by Lisa Regan, writer for The Lean Startup Conference


The Lean Startup Conference is next week--and now that we can step back and see all the speakers and mentors, we have to say: Wow. When you look through the list, you’ll see big names that we’re very pleased we landed, epic companies we really want to hear from, and people we’re particularly excited to present because they have incredible stories to share--and you won’t hear them anyplace else.
Here are a few speakers to look out for--though with more than 80 speakers and 40+ mentors, there are far too many standouts for us to mention individually here. Another way to learn more about who’s speaking is to sort the conference program by category and find people addressing specific topics.
Experienced entrepreneurs

We’ve got speakers who are justifiably respected by a lot of entrepreneurs. For example:


  • Mitch Kapor was a founder of Lotus. Now he’s a leader in social impact investing and equality in education. He’ll talk about making a profit and making a difference in a conversation with New Media Ventures’ Christie George.
  • Todd Park convened the team that saved Obamacare. As the emeritus Chief Technology Officer of the United States, he still connects government and Silicon Valley. He and some of his key team members will share advice for working in large (very large) organizations.
  • Ben Horowitz’s book The Hard Thing About Hard Things is driving the conversation around startup management this year. He’s a founder of Andreessen Horowitz, which has backed Facebook, Skype, Jawbone, and dozens of other companies whose products you use. Eric Ries will interview him.
  • Bob Sutton is a Stanford professor and the author of several best-selling books on standout management, including Scaling Up Excellence, an investigation of high-growth companies. He’ll talk with Eric Ries about how companies successfully scale.
  • Bill Gross founded Idealab in 1996, making it the longest-running technology incubator alive today. He’ll use his experience starting 100 companies to talk about what makes a successful MVP.
Companies of note

Learn from companies that have been through the fire--and have lessons to share.
  • Aditya Agarwal has lived through startup hypergrowth--twice. He was a very early employee of Facebook, and engineering director there through the moment it blew up. Now he’s VP of engineering at Dropbox, where he’s seeing similar growth. He’ll bring us real-world advice.


  • Melissa Bell co-founded Vox.com, which opened for business earlier this year and immediately became one of the most important site launches in a year of big launches. And the whole site was developed in just 9 weeks. Melissa will talk with Lean Startup Productions CEO and co-founder Sarah Milstein about how experimentation continues on the site even with millions of eyes on it every day.


  • Blair Beverly from Google’s AdSense group will describe a stealthy method for convincing colleagues to get on board with Lean Startup.


  • Jocelyn Goldfein was most recently Engineering Director at Facebook and will talk about how different types of software allow for different types of experimentation.
  • Bill Grundfest is not what you usually expect from a startup conference. A comedian who founded NYC’s Comedy Cellar--an enduring business--Bill has written for TV sitcoms and media companies. He’ll be running a hands-on session on how to make a compelling business video. We gave him a night session so he’d feel in his element.


  • Dan McKinley will show the math he used to test new ideas as an engineer during the early days at Etsy.


  • Hugh Molotsi, an accomplished innovator at Intuit, will talk about recognizing good ideas in big organizations.


  • Cory Nelson will talk with Eric about how GE has applied the MVP method to its development of very large diesel engines.
  • Max Ventilla took Aardvark from startup to Google acquisition, a case study Eric described in The Lean Startup. Now Max is reinventing education through AltSchool, which creates local microschools.


Unique lessons

We go to great lengths to find stories you won’t hear elsewhere, and then we train those speakers so that they can tell their stories with impact. Some of the best lessons you’ll learn this year will come from people you’ve likely never heard of before: Sheena Allen, Tiffany Bell, Kevin Ellsworth, Seppo Halava, Margo Wright and many, many more.
Many Lean Startup experts under one roof

The conference features core Lean Startup experts helping you learn the most important ideas. That includes:
  • Hiten Shah, co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg, talking about A/B testing


Great advice

Office Hours is your opportunity to sit down one-on-one with an expert and hash out the problems you’re facing. You can get direct advice from many of our speakers and from people like:
  • Farrah Bostic, founder of The Difference Engine and an expert in customer research
  • David Charron, serial entrepreneur and professor of entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business
  • Kevin Dewalt, a pioneer in bringing Lean Startup ideas to Asia
  • Ame Elliott, a senior team leader at IDEO, where she brings products from design to production
  • Sharethrough co-founder and CTO Rob Fan
  • Learie Hercules, technical lead for a number of successful Lean Startup implementations
  • Jini Kim, key member of the team that saved Healthcare.gov and a healthcare startup entrepreneur
  • UX designer for Toyota ITC Matt Kresse
  • Alicia Liu, engineer at mobile startup Lift.do
  • Erin McKean, founder of content personalization platform Reverb Technologies
  • Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media
  • Nicole Sanchez, founder of Vaya Consulting and a leader in improving hiring and diversity
A program highly relevant to you

We’ve tagged all the conference sessions by category, so you don’t have to guess which will be of interest to you. Here are just a few things you might look for:
All conference passes are on sale right now, and you can compare them here. The conference is just a week away, so look over the entire program on our site, and then register today!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Your Guide to the Complete Lean Startup Conference Program

Guest post by Lisa Regan, writer for The Lean Startup Conference
Eleven months in the making, the full schedule for The Lean Startup Conference is at last complete, and we can’t wait to show you around! OK, sure, we’re still nailing down a couple more speakers and sessions, which we’ll announce as we finalize them. But other than that, it’s all there. Talk descriptions, speakers, workshops, evening events, Ignite, Office Hours…but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Let’s slow down and go over just what we have and for whom.

We took the feedback we gathered in previous years to expand on and improve the program. We’ve got more in-depth how-to talks than ever and even better opportunities for you to meet other relevant attendees. That means there’s never been a better year to attend than this one. For first-time attendees, this conference offers a complete introduction to Lean Startup. Returning participants will find new speakers, fresh ideas, more options to meet other entrepreneurs, and special sessions for advanced practitioners.

Here’s an overview of it all, and of course, you can find more detail on our site. (If you need additional ammo to convince your boss, we’ve written up detailed benefits for employees of established organizations.)
-- The Conference Core: Two Days and Three Nights of Intense Education and Connection --
We don’t fix what’s already awesome. So as per usual, we kick off the main conference on December 9 with Ignite--a high-energy, entertaining series of lightning talks.

On December 10 and 11, the two main conference days are packed with mainstage talks to inspire and breakout sessions to teach you the how-to of implementing Lean Startup methods. At your request, we’ve brought in speakers from all kinds of organizations--including young companies, Fortune 500s, mission-driven orgs, and government, and they create websites, apps, games, hardware, consumer goods, social services, media products and more. We’ve tagged the talks by topic, so you can zero in on what interests you most.

If you’ve scanned the list of speakers before, take a second look. We’ve recently added talks from: Former US CTO and current tech advisor to the White House, Todd Park; former Facebook engineering director Joceyln Goldfein; Dropbox engineering VP Aditya Agarwal; and KISSMetrics founder Hiten Shah.
Take a third look, too, because there are a lot of people there you haven’t heard of but who have in-the-trenches information to share. That’s no accident. We actively sought out great stories, not just big names, and we found people who had compelling experiences to present. These are people you won’t hear at any other conference. It’s what keeps the Lean Startup Conference on point: No stale talks.

We’re also going beyond traditional sessions. To help experienced Lean Startup practitioners share knowledge with each other, we’re dedicating several breakout sessions each day for advanced attendees to hold focused conversations with each other. And after dinner on December 10 and 11, we’ve added hands-on sessions for you to learn video-editing techniques from one of our favorite speakers last year or to catch a jazz set with a discussion of improv as an analog for business collaboration.

We know that meeting other people at conferences can be rewarding--but surprisingly hard to pull off. So On December 10 and 11, we’ve booked tables for Lean Startup group dinners at popular San Francisco restaurants. These were such a hit last year that we’ve expanded on them, and we’ll designate groups for each venue--startup founders and early employees, entrepreneurs within the enterprise, or mission-driven and non-profit innovators--so that you can connect with the attendees most relevant to you.

You probably don’t come to this conference for the food--but that wouldn’t be a crazy idea. For lunches, we’ve contracted with local food trucks to park outside the conference and offer a taste of San Francisco entrepreneurship (literally) just for conference participants.
-- Go Deeper: Up to Five Days of Incredible Events --
We designed our Platinum and Gold Passes specifically for people looking to do a deep dive into Lean Startup. They include training and are an amazing deal; they also offer exclusive networking opportunities. You can buy these passes now or upgrade an existing Silver Pass. Platinum Passes include everything above, plus:

  • Startup site visits. Who doesn’t love a field trip? Platinum Passholders will spend December 8 visiting four successful San Francisco startups. See for yourself what innovation environments look like and connect with the people making them work.

  • Workshops. December 9 is devoted to full-day, hands-on sessions led by our community’s most accomplished Lean Startup trainers. This year’s workshops cover Lean Startup 101; Introducing Lean Startup in Your Corporation; Lean Impact; Innovation Accounting; and Metrics: The Data That Will Make or Break Your Business.
  • Office Hours. On the evenings of December 10 and 11, you can sign up for 15-minute, one-on-one conversations with select conference presenters and expert mentors. This was an experiment we tried last year, and we were frankly overwhelmed by the positive response. So this year we’re expanding Office Hours not only with more speakers, but also with more mentors from a range of fields--giving you an unusual chance to talk with people like O’Reilly Media CEO Tim O’Reilly, Reverb Technologies founder Erin McKean, and entrepreneurship expert Nathalie Molina NiƱo.

  • Live Q&A with Eric Ries. On December 12, Eric will answer attendees’ questions live. He’s going to take all kinds of startup questions--on designing experiments, understanding metrics, deciding when to pivot--whatever comes. You not only get to ask, but you also get to hear details of the challenges other entrepreneurs are facing.
      
  • Perks include:
    • Reserved front-row seating in every conference room
    • Platinum line at Registration to save you time
    • Platinum line for our food trucks on Tuesday and Friday
    • First dibs to sign-up for our Office Hours
    • First dibs to sign-up for our group dinners

Our Gold Pass covers three days--including December 10 and 11, plus your choice of Workshop on December 9 or Live Q&A with Eric Ries on December 12. Gold Passholders also get access to Ignite, Office Hours, and designated ballroom seating for December 10 and 11 mainstage talks.

-- A Pass for Every Income --
We’ve talked a lot here about the Gold and Platinum Passes, because they offer incredible value. But we also want The Lean Startup Conference to be accessible to everyone. So we’re pleased to offer passes at a complete range of levels:
  • Our Silver Passes are a great deal: Two full days of the conference, a seat at Ignite, sign-ups for dinners, food truck tickets for purchase.
  • Our Scholarship Pass offers the same benefits as the Silver Pass, but brings the cost of the conference down to $200 for people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend (think: fledgling solopreneurs, employees at very young startups and small non-profits). Apply for a Scholarship Pass here.

  • Livestream the conference. For the first time, we’re making the conference available via livestream to individuals. You get all the mainstage talks and the most popular breakouts, along with access to live Q&A, moderated chat, and a conference social network. You pay per screen, so sit down with a couple of friends and split the cost.

  • If you’re a student, you can apply to volunteer. Pitch in for a shift, and we’ll give you a Silver Pass. Apply to volunteer here.
All passes are on sale now, and you can compare them here. And, again, you can now see the whole program on our site. Register today to join us for our best Lean Startup Conference yet!

PS. While you wait for December, check out our webcast on November 25 with Brant Cooper--one of our most popular workshop leaders--and Coca Cola’s Carie Davis. It explores a topic we haven’t seen discussed elsewhere yet.

PPS. When you register for the conference, you can also choose to add on-site childcare options. Here’s the deal.