Initial talks — more coming soon

Aditya Agarwal
Manage for Hypergrowth
Category: Scaling
For many startups, growth itself is a Bermuda Triangle, presenting fatal but hard-to-spot challenges on the path from traction to enviable success. Aditya Agarwal, who has led key teams at Facebook and Dropbox through critical growth phases, talks about how you can prepare for success while building for the reality of the present.

Cindy Alvarez
Live, No-Excuses Customer Development
Category: Customer Development
When you have an untested concept, it’s easy to come up with reasons to avoid customer development or ignore the qualitative feedback you’re getting. In this session, Cindy Alvarez, author of Lean Customer Development and head of product design and user research for Yammer (a Microsoft company), leads several entrepreneurs through a live problem-solving session, highlighting actionable approaches to customer development challenges.

Jessie Becker
Learn from Every Test
Category: Experiments
Experimentation can generate important insights, but it can also bury you under an avalanche of irrelevant data. Jessie Becker, CMO at Optimizely, shares three key tips and plenty of real-world examples for structuring tests to ensure that you derive useful data every single time you run an experiment.

Melissa Bell
A Conversation with Melissa Bell and Sarah Milstein 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 scrutinized site.

Sean Butler
Turn Lawyers into Allies
Category: Enterprise
As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably found lawyers to be more a barrier to innovation than a boon. But by actively reframing their role, you can transform the legal function into an asset rather than a liability. Sean Butler, Senior Corporate Counsel at Cisco, explains how.

Zachary Cohn
The Questions You Should Be Asking Customers but Aren’t
Category: Customer Development
When you interview customers, you don’t know what you don’t know–and you don’t know what questions you should be asking but aren’t. Zac Cohn, founder at Wonful, runs an exercise to teach you how to ask the right questions and uncover exactly what you need.

Holly DeWolf
Using Remote Tools for Customer Development
Category: Customer Development
You understand the importance of engaging directly with your customers as you develop products for them. But what happens when your user base is very far away? User experience consultant Holly DeWolf shares practical, cost-effective techniques for overcoming distance challenges and engaging with lots of customers remotely.

Steli Efti
Will They Buy It?
Category: Customer Development
After doing customer development, you’ve learned that your target market absolutely loves your new product idea. But will they buy it? Steli Efti, founder at, explains how to get an answer without turning off your interviewees.

Jana Eggers
Become a Better Listener, Build More Profitable Products
Category: Customer Development
Leaders often focus on becoming better communicators and speakers. But becoming better listeners may be more important in running profitable companies. In this talk, Jana Eggers–consultant, former CEO at Spreadshirt, and former General Manager of Intuit Quickbase–teaches actionable tips for becoming a better listener and ensuring that your customer development thus has a much deeper impact.

Mark Ferlatte
When the Scope Is Huge, One Way to Tell You’re Making Progress
Category: Metrics
As the team saving the site grew, they used an unusual metric to gauge success. Mark Ferlatte, co-founder at Tetherpad and member of the rescue team, tells the story.

Seppo Helava
Build a Culture that Outsmarts Perfectionism
Category: Leadership
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.

Ben Horowitz
A Conversation with Ben Horowitz and Eric Ries
Categories: Scaling, Leadership
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.

Ken Howard
Minimum Viable Belief: Experimentation in a Faith-Based Organization
Category: Experiments
Startups and churches share more in common than you might realize. Ken Howard, founding pastor at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Germantown, Maryland, talks about experimentation and developing his own version of an MVP—a minimum viable belief.

Lauren Gilchrist
Get Comfortable Shipping Imperfect Products
Category: Experiments
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 advice for shipping less-than-perfect MVPs so that you can all learn from end users, fast.

Laura Klein
Identify and Validate Your Riskiest Assumptions
Category: Experiments
MVPs are great–unless you’re building them to test assumptions that aren’t really mission-critical. In this hands-on session, Laura Klein, author of UX for Lean Startups and head of product development for Hint Health, breaks down the kinds of assumptions you should look for and a process for developing hypotheses that reveal your true barriers to growth.

Kathryn Kuhn
How HP Shipped Faster–Much Faster
Category: Enterprise
It’s no secret that product leaders in big companies who need to test new ideas quickly are often stuck with slow release cycles and rigid team processes. How can you overcome the legacy approach? Kathryn Kuhn discusses the calculated tradeoffs her Hewlett-Packard innovation team made in order to speed up its product development cycle, bringing a complex product to market in a matter of months.

Jean Lauer
Getting Better at Guessing Wrong
Category: Experiments
You did significant customer development, and you’ve identified a real pain point you can address. But your early MVPs are getting zero traction. Now what? CEO Jean Lauer tells the story of how her company learned to create increasingly effective experiments–even without a technical founder for their web-centric service.

Julie Lorch
Boost Collaboration, Improve Experimentation
Categories: Leadership, Cross-Functional Team
To succeed, experimentation requires more collaboration and communication across roles than most of us are used to. How can organizations make sure that teams share information in meaningful and action-oriented ways? Julie Lorch, head of user experience at, gives us advice.

Dan McKinley
Data-Driven Done Right
Category: Metrics
We all hear that we should make “data-driven” decisions in deciding what to test and how to measure results. But few of us have much experience actually doing that. With real and accessible examples, Dan McKinley walks us through the process–and the simple math–he developed to test, or scrap, new ideas at Etsy.

Joanne Molesky
Balance Compliance and Experimentation
Category: Enterprise
In heavily regulated industries, compliance is non-negotiable, and for many product teams, governance can be a deterrent for launching experiments. Is it possible to balance innovation with compliance? Joanne Molesky, principal consultant at ThoughtWorks, answers this question with key lessons learned from her experience in the IT industry.

Cory Nelson
The Diesel Engine MVP
Categories: Enterprise, Hardware
When you have long product cycles or you’re building big physical things–or both–you typically face significant risk, as a lot can go wrong between drawing board and customers. In theory, Lean Startup methods help you reduce that risk. But it’s not always obvious how you can apply them. Cory Nelson, Sr. Executive Product Manager at GE Distributed Power, talks with Eric Ries about how GE has used Lean Startup methods to develop a new diesel engine more quickly and with less risk than it had for similar products in the past.

Greg Nelson
Integrate Customer Feedback Into Your Product
Category: Customer Development
Your team is committed to customer development and conducting user research, but how do you integrate the information you collect into your product development? Hudl Product Manager Greg Nelson explains how his company ensures that the entire, cross-functional product team understands and can act on customers’ needs.

Anita Newton
Test Your Way to the Right Answer
Category: Experiments
Brand-new startups begin with almost zero customer data–a risky position from which to build a new product. But when you have very little money, how can you acquire critical information quickly? Anita Newton advisor, investor and marketer at Mighty Handle, reveals how her bootstrapped, non-technical startup did clever customer development online, and rapidly testing its way into the customer insights it needed to sell its consumer packaged goods to the largest retailer in the world.

Susana Jurado & Maria Olano
Case Study: Lean Product Development in a Very Big Organization
Categories: Enterprise, Hardware, Experiments
Telefonica, a Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider with operations in Europe, North America and South America, is one of the largest mobile network providers in the world. What happened when the employees wanted to experiment with a new handset idea? Susana Jurado and Mario Olano, Innovation Managers at the company, have a detailed and instructive story to tell.

Ursula Shekufendeh
When Failure Is a Success
Category: Pivots
It’s one thing to decide that you’ll rigorously test product ideas, and it’s entirely another matter to actually kill something that isn’t clearly a dud. AppFolio faced this dilemma when deciding whether to launch a new product last year. Product Manager Ursula Shekefundeh takes us through the surprising–and hard–decisions her team made at the persevere/pivot/kill crossroads.

Margo Wright
Overcome Your Own Expertise
Category: Experiments
When you’re building a new product, your own domain expertise can–surprisingly–prevent you from recognizing your potential customers’ needs. Margo Wright, founder of Yenko, shares the customer-development approach she’s used to overcome the blinders of her expertise.