Friday, June 26, 2015

Intuit Labs Takeover

This week, the Lean Startup took over the blog on Intuit Labs with original stories centered around experimentation as a method for investigating all parts of a business or product idea. The week’s posts included case studies, tips, Q&As, startup stories, and more.

We started on Monday with a conversation between me and Intuit’s own Ben Blank. Ben and I talk about spotting next-generation leaders, how there are no tricks or tools for innovators, and giving corporate innovation teams permission to experiment. We also posted Lean Startup 101, in case you’re looking for a refresher or an explainer to send to friends or colleagues.

On Tuesday, we interviewed Amanda Krantz of Dohje, an early-stage startup, to talk about experimenting with product development. Krantz is in the middle of the swirling, changing truth about Dohje’s value to customers, and we get real some real boots-on-the-ground insight into what experimentation looks like at a young company. Alongside that case study is Daina Burnes Linton’s story about her startup, Fashion Metric, and running multiple tests without building a single thing—even when they really wanted to.

Wednesday’s theme was testing an idea through marketing experiments, and experts Anita Newton, Alistair Croll, and Cindy Alvarez gave us their best tips on how to do that. All three emphasize the need for creating a solid, constrained hypothesis, so we also put together a short piece on writing one.

Thursday brought stories from three startups—PayrollHero, Munchery, and Tough Mudder—about how they’ve experimented with their business models to get to where they are today. And there’s a Q&A with me exploring a startup at an impasse, where I talk about usability testing and two-sided markets.

Today, we’ve got an edited Q&A with Back To The Roots, who have experimented with all parts of their business—from distribution channels to community engagement, product to retail sales. Posted with that is Dan Milstein’s talk about identifying your biggest risk, and being scared of working on the wrong thing when you’re in a startup—since good luck and hard work are actually not the keys to success.

I wanted to share these Lean Startup stories with you to hopefully inspire you and give you some ideas for experimenting with your own business or product idea. Head over to Intuit Labs to see all the posts.

For more stories like these, come join us at The Lean Startup Conference 2015.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Speak at The Lean Startup Conference 2015

What follows is a guest post by Kirsten Cluthe, the new Editorial Director of The Lean Startup Conference. Kirsten is leading our program development and speaker selection -- curating a four day, multi-tracked, 2000-person event. With a career that’s spanned from the music industry to General Electric to the Olympics, Kirsten brings deep event programming experience to the Lean Startup team.

As the editorial director for this year’s conference, I look forward to bringing the latest thinking on Lean Startup practices to the global community. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak directly with advisors, faculty, team members, and customers to learn about key challenges in applying Lean Startup, as well as opportunities to educate and provide practical advice where it's needed most.

We want this year’s conference to be more valuable than ever, but we also aim to make it simpler to navigate, the content more exceptional, and more straightforward. Sessions will balance between hard hitting keynotes and interactive workshops. Yes, you’ll be inspired, but you’ll also have a chance to work through your business challenges while you’re with us. Topics like how to scale, how to create a culture of innovation, how to inspire leadership, finding the right product/market fit and more, delivered from people who are actually doing the work. We want you to learn, solve, and return to work with ideas and tools that you can apply immediately.
Last week we announced the first round of entrepreneurs and practitioners confirmed to speak at the 2015 Lean Startup Conference. Now, we turn to you. We’re reaching into the Lean Startup community to find hidden gems--the stories we don't know (yet).
Lean Startup methods are being applied by people around the globe, in startups and established companies, non-profit and civic organizations, and there are many stories to be told. We’re passionate about bringing fresh 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.