Program Details


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

General Registration8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Light continental breakfast to be served in the Venetian Room. Open all day,  the Venetian Room will host beverages, snacks, a livestream lounge, and our handpicked exhibitors.

  • Guided Meditation | 8:30am - 8:45am
    Stacy Conlon, The Zen Media Group, LLC, @TheZenGirl
    Room: Fountain

    It’s well known in the startup community that meditation can help improve your concentration, judgment and emotional clarity. Stacy Conlon, also known as “The Zen Girl” and founder and CEO of The Zen Media Group, leads a guided meditation to start your conference day with balance.

Early Morning Talks9:00 AM - 11:15 AM

  • Data-Driven Done RightExperimentsMetricsReducing Risk
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    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.

  • Test Your Way to the Right AnswerCustomer DevelopmentExperiments
    Anita Newton, Mighty Green Solutions, Adknowledge, @anitabnewton
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    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 tested its way into the customer insights it needed to sell its consumer packaged goods to the largest retailer in the world.

  • Overcome Your Own ExpertiseCustomer DevelopmentLean Impact
    Room: Grand Ballroom

    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.

  • 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.

Break11:15 AM - 11:50 AM

Join us in the Venetian Room to meet our sponsors, network with other attendees, and enjoy coffee service.

    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.

    • When Failure Is a SuccessExperimentsPivots
      Ursula Shekufendeh, AppFolio, Inc., @ursheku
      Room: Grand Ballroom

      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.

    • Getting Very Big by Being Very User DrivenCustomer DevelopmentLean ImpactScaling
      Max Ventilla, AltSchool, INC
      Room: Grand Ballroom

      When you’re tackling a hard problem, the solution rarely comes from what you do initially. Rather, it emerges from what you do continuously–provided you set up systems to learn as you go. Max Ventilla, founder at AltSchool, explains how his organization is staying very close to its customers as its key mechanism for scaling up a large network of independent schools.

    • Getting Closer To Your Customers In StartuplandCustomer Development
      Room: Grand Ballroom

      When you’re moving fast to build and grow a new company or project, you’re bound to make mistakes as well as unexpected discoveries. Mikkel Svane, CEO & founder of Zendesk and author of Startupland, shares real stories from the front lines of starting Zendesk that explore how you stay in touch with the human side of customers and your business as you scale.

    • An Experiment on StageExperiments
      Room: Grand Ballroom

      As the founder and CEO of Idealab, Bill Gross has started more than 100 companies, with MVPs of all kinds. This afternoon, he’ll share his best advice for making them successful–and this morning, as an experiment within the conference, he’ll share a preview of that talk from the main stage.

    Lunch1:00 PM - 2:10 PM

      Concurrent Afternoon Talks 12:10 PM - 2:50 PM

      • MVPs You Can Learn FromExperiments
        Room: Gold

        As the founder and CEO of Idealab, Bill Gross has started more than 100 companies over the last 20 years and has seen MVPs of all kinds deployed. He shares the best ones and best practices to help you make the most successful startup with the MVP methodology.

      • Balance Compliance and ExperimentationEnterprise
        Joanne Molesky, ThoughtWorks, @jemolesky
        Room: Fountain

        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.

      • Identify and Validate Your Riskiest AssumptionsExperimentsReducing Risk
        Laura Klein, Hint Health, @lauraklein
        Room: Grand Ballroom

        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.

      • Attendee-Led Conversation: Lean Startup, Hardware EditionHardware
        Elaine Chen, Founder, ConceptSpring, @chenelaine
        Room: Hunt
      • Attendee-Led Conversation: Finding Early Customers and Building Trust to Run ExperimentsCustomer Development
        Room: California
      • Attendee-Led Conversation: Using Digital Tools -- YouTube, Facebook, Google and More -- to Drive Early Sales and Validate MVPsCustomer DevelopmentExperiments
        Emmanuel Eleyae, COO,, @satinlinedcaps
        Room: Grand Ballroom Lounge

      Break2:50 PM - 3:05 PM

      Join us in the Venetian Room to meet our sponsors, network with other attendees, and enjoy coffee service.

        Concurrent Afternoon Talks 23:05 PM - 3:45 PM

        • Design Your Way to Product/Market FitProduct/Market Fit
          Christina Wodtke, Wodtke Consulting, @cwodtke
          Room: Fountain

          Finding product/market fit is the key to success for new ventures. But it’s often elusive, and understanding the needs and desires of your potential customers is harder than many of us expect. Christina Wodtke, of Wodtke Consulting, shares design techniques to help you glean meaningful insights about your target market.

        • Constraints That Help You Build Valuable SoftwareReducing RiskTechnical
          Jocelyn Goldfein, Investor, Advisor, Entrepreneur, @jgoldfein
          Room: Crystal

          More than you know, your software’s business model and technology stack shape your appetite for risk, creativity and pace. Jocelyn Goldfein, former Engineering Director at Facebook, explains the constraints you face with various kinds of product DNA–and how you can embrace those constraints to build valuable software.

        • The Diesel Engine MVPEnterpriseHardware
          Cory Nelson, General Electric, @CorwinNelson
          Room: Grand Ballroom

          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.

        • Live, No-excuses Customer DevelopmentCustomer Development
          Room: Gold

          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. 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.

        • Attendee-Led Conversation: Attracting Early-stage Investors Who Will Accept Lean Startup Methods
          Jose-Luis "Jou" De Alba, Chairman and Co-Director, Atma SC and InnoHub Guadalajara Accelarator, @Jou_DeAlba
          Kriss Hammond, Managing Partner, EasyStreet Ventures
          Room: Hunt
        • Attendee-Led Conversation: Embedding Lean Startup Ideas in a Local Startup Community
          Justin Souter, Managing Director, Souter Consulting Limited / Lean North East, @souterconsults
          Room: Grand Ballroom Lounge
        • Attendee-Led Conversation: In Corporations, Integrating Innovation Projects Back into the MothershipEnterprise
          María Olano, Telefonica R&D, @mdomata
          Susana Jurado, Telefonica R&D, @sjapru
          Room: California

        Break3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

        Join us in the Venetian Room to meet our sponsors, network with other attendees, and enjoy coffee service.

          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.

          • Mobile Experiments: Easier Than You ThinkExperimentsMobile
            Sheena Allen, Sheena Allen Apps, @whoisSheena
            Room: Fountain

            Mobile development presents particular challenges for experimentation. With competing operating systems and app stores to contend with, how can you move rapidly? Sheena Allen of Sheena Allen Apps walks us through the framework she used for launching–and learning from–six mobile apps on various platforms.

          • How a 30-Year-Old Hardware Company Is Bringing Products to Market 3x FasterExperimentsHardware
            Kevin Ellsworth, Cirris Systems Corp
            Room: Grand Ballroom

            Hardware companies face particular challenges testing and iterating on their product ideas. It’s often cost-prohibitive to get an MVP in the hands of customers, and it can be seemingly impossible to ramp up production cycles. But you can push the boundaries of convention. Kevin Ellsworth, Product Manager at Cirris, explains how his team has built systems for consistent learning that have helped them release new products over a matter of months rather than years.

          • 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.

          Break4:20 PM - 4:30 PM

          Join us in the Venetian Room to meet our sponsors, network with other attendees, and enjoy coffee service.

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

            • Learn from Every A/B Test
              Hiten Shah , KISSmetrics , @hnshah
              Room: Gold

              Experimentation can generate important insights, but it can also bury you under an avalanche of irrelevant data. Hiten Shah, founder at KISSmetrics, shares key tips and plenty of real-world examples for structuring A/B tests to ensure that you derive useful data every single time you run them.

            • 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.

            • Integrate Customer Feedback Into Your ProductCustomer Development
              Room: Crystal

              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.

            Break4:50 PM - 5:05 PM

            Join us in the Venetian Room to meet our sponsors, network with other attendees, and enjoy coffee service.

              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.

              Office Hours at The Fairmont6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

              For Platinum and Gold Passes only.

                Group Dinners at Local Restaurants6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

                  Evening Session8:30 PM - 10:00 PM

                  • Create Great Videos--the Lean Startup WayContent StrategyExperiments
                    Bill Grundfest, Hollywood Content, @BillGrundfest
                    Room: Crown Room

                    Video provides a powerful way for businesses to attract customers. But with so much video and other content out there, how can your productions compete? Golden Globe Award winning writer-producer Bill Grundfest leads a fun, hands-on session teaching you to use Lean Startup methods as you create compelling business videos.