Program Details

Talks about Leadership

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Early Morning Talks9:00 AM - 11:15 AM

  • Leadership, Uncertainty, and Self-DeceptionLeadershipReducing Risk
    Dan Milstein, Hut 8 Labs, @danmil
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    What’s the biggest challenge in getting a team of people to adopt Lean Startup methods? Dan Milstein, founder at Hut 8 Labs, suggests a somewhat surprising answer: it’s the tendency of leaders to fall prey to the deep, built-in human propensity for self-deception. We’re wired to lie to ourselves in certain situations–and, in startups, those situations crop up all the time. Tying together psychology research and his own (painful) experiences on both sides of the leader/team member divide, Dan looks at the dangers of self-deception and what you can do to overcome it.

  • Giving Voice to Good IdeasEnterpriseExperimentsLeadership
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    Every business leader knows that, in theory, good ideas can–and should–come from anywhere in your organization. But in reality, the voices of introverts and people far-removed from decision makers often go unheard. Hugh Molotsi, Vice President of the Intuit Labs Incubator and self-proclaimed introvert, talks about how Lean Startup methods at Intuit have helped surface game-changing ideas from quiet employees, front-line staff and unexpected corners of the organization.

  • A Conversation with Ben Horowitz and Eric RiesLeadershipScaling
    Ben Horowitz, Andreessen Horowitz, @bhorowitz
    Eric Ries, The Lean Startup, @ericries
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    As a well-known startup veteran, investor and author, Ben Horowitz brings unusually deep insight to the hard questions that entrepreneurs face. Eric Ries interviews him and gives you a chance to ask questions, too.

Late Morning Talks11:50 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Bake in Cross-Functional CollaborationCross-functional TeamsLeadershipRemote Issues
    Cheryl Contee,, YesWeCode, Fission Strategy
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    When you run a startup, it’s easy to assume that your small team necessarily works cross-functionally, because you all talk pretty often. But when you’re trying to move quickly, and lots of projects are run by just one person, you can inadvertently skip important collaboration across roles. Cheryl Contee, CEO at Fission Strategy and co-founder of, talks about how her startups bake in cross-functional collaboration from the beginning, both to improve their products and to lay the groundwork for holistic product development as they grow.

Concurrent Afternoon Talks 34:00 PM - 4:20PM

  • Create a Culture of ExperimentationEnterpriseExperimentsLeadership
    Manuel Rosso, Scripps Networks Interactive, @manuelrosso
    Room: Crystal

    What happens when your team uses Lean Startup methods, but other people in your organization don’t? Manuel Rosso, VP of Commerce at Scripps Networks Interactive, explains how his team taught coworkers to value experimentation over expertise.

  • Build a Culture that Outsmarts PerfectionismLeadership
    Seppo Helava, Nonsense Industry, @nonsenseind
    Room: Gold

    The build-measure-learn loop is often accompanied by the frustration-confusion-failure cycle. In other words, implementing Lean Startup methods is hard–particularly when your experiments invalidate a lot of your ideas. In this talk, Seppo Helava, founder at Nonsense Industry, teaches us how he’s led his team to overcome perfectionism and become more comfortable with grey areas and failure.

Concurrent Afternoon Talks 44:30 PM - 4:50 PM

  • Get Comfortable Shipping Imperfect ProductsExperimentsLeadership
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    Top product managers must have great customer empathy–but too much of it can slow you down. On the one hand, you need empathy to understand your customers, so that you can build products that solve their problems. On the other hand, too much empathy can prevent you from releasing a product that doesn’t solve all of your customers’ needs at once. Lauren Gilchrist, Product Manager at Pivotal Labs, gives five tips for shipping less-than-perfect MVPs so that you can all learn from end users, fast.

  • Use Lean Startup Techniques on a Remote TeamLeadershipRemote Issues
    Room: Fountain

    A lot of distributed companies use Lean Startup techniques for product development. But it’s challenging to successfully run customer development and cross-functional experiments with remote colleagues. William Donnell, lead design and UX specialist at Sodium Halogen, teaches creative techniques for very effective Lean Startup approaches on a virtual team.

Closing Session5:05 PM - 5:50 PM

  • Lessons from Experimentation at the Biggest Organization in the USGovernmentLeadership
    Todd Park, White House
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    The US federal government is the country’s largest employer and does not have a reputation for moving quickly. But Todd Park, who served from 2012 to 2014 as United States Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President and is now a technology advisor to the administration in Silicon Valley, is bringing an entrepreneurial approach to government and continues to make real change. He and key U.S. technology leaders describe their most challenging projects and share advice for experimenting in large organizations.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Early Morning Talks11:00 AM

  • A Conversation with Melissa Bell and Sarah MilsteinExperimentsLeadershipScaling
    Sarah Milstein, Lean Startup Productions, @SarahM
    Room: Grand Ballroom has been one of the most closely watched media launches of the year–and it took the team just nine weeks to develop the high-profile site. As its Senior Product Manager and Executive Editor, Melissa Bell has been responsible for leading a lot of’s success. Sarah Milstein interviews Melissa to learn how the company has moved unusually quickly and how it continues to experiment on a scrutinzed site.

  • Convince Colleagues to Use Lean Startup: The Stealth ApproachEnterpriseLeadership
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    When a team at Google felt uncertain about which pieces of their work drove real value for customers and had an impact on the bottom line, Blair Beverly, a Manager in Google AdSense, suggested they try Lean Startup methods. He explains how he’s working to win over colleagues and management, using a counter-intuitive process to adopt the ideas.

Concurrent Afternoon Talks 12:20 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Attendee-Led Conversation: Teaching Managers to Become Lean Startup MentorsLeadership
    Carlos Oliveira, Senior Strategy Manager, TELUS, @userprofile
    Room: California

Concurrent Afternoon Talks 44:30 PM - 4:50 PM

  • Talk About Risk Without Causing FearLeadershipReducing Risk
    Adam Josephs, Celerity Consulting Group, @celeritycg
    Room: Crystal

    Risk and uncertainty define startups–they’re the very qualities that make new initiatives different from established projects. But few of us have productive ways of discussing risk, and in fact, bringing it up can cause fear and undermine morale. How can we make coworkers comfortable addressing risk? Adam Josephs, Principal Consultant of Celerity Consulting, shares advice for discussing it early, often and constructively.