Groundhog Day (plus Q&A with John Roman)

Groundhog Day is the uiltimate A/B testing movie. It doesn’t just show how iteration and user testing leads to better products. It demonstrates how these practices push us to understand things about ourselves, to become better people. That’s why we’ll be showing Groundhog Day at The Lean Startup Conference on Thursday, Dec 11 and encouraging the local Lean Startup comunity to attend as well.

Even better, we’ll have a special guest. John L. Roman, film and television producer and Adjunct Professor at USC, was an assistant director on Groundhog Day, and says that making the movie was its own set of experiments. He will be answering your questions about the making of the film and what Lean Startup practitioners can learn from movie-making.

There will be a cash bar, some Groundhog Day DVDs given away, and other shenanigans. Come and meet your fellow Lean Startup practitioners who share your taste for fun!

Learn from Every A/B Test

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.

Experiments in Humor

You know that people respond to humor in marketing and even in products. But you also know that you don’t want to be responsible for cringe-inducing messages that misses the humor mark. Good news: You can take the risk out of being funny. In this talk, Rachman Blake, Director of Growh at AppHeroes and Co-founder at FunnyBizz, teaches techniques for experimenting your way into funniness.

Will They Buy It?

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

Get Buy-In to Invest in Experimentation

One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurial employees face is getting support from your company leaders. Because when presented with proposals for user research or experimentation, corporate leaders will frequently question the value of those processes and shoot down the ideas. Nate Weisz, Director of Product Management at 3Pillar Global, shares techniques he’s developed that pave the way to organically gaining support from executives.

Convert Gatekeepers into Advocates

When your customers are large, complex organizations, key influencers act as gatekeepers between your MVP and your end users. How do you turn gatekeepers into advocates? Amanda Krantz, founder of DohJe, shows how her team navigated this maze to launch a software pilot program at UCSF, a large teaching hospital.

Blur the Line Between Customer and Engineer

Live chat that’s built into a website or app for customer support is usually answered by customer service reps. But some teams use it as a direct communication line between engineers and their customers. Charlie Scheinost, engineering manager at Adobe, shares lessons from building live chat into his team’s workflow early on and using it to shape features and prioritize development.

MVPs You Can Learn From

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.

Use Remote Tools for 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.

Lean Placemaking for Cities

You may not know that cities, like startups, can run experiments to test new initiatives. Urban design expert, Mariela Alfonzo shows us how she has applied Lean Startup to urban planning to and created a tool that helps cities generate and test their hypotheses effectively.