Meet The Lean Startup Conference Faculty!

The Lean Startup Conference, a five day gathering of entrepreneurs, is held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco from December 8th through December 12th 2014. (© 2013 Photo by The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin)
Photo Credit: Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Mosur and Erin Lubin

We’re doing something different this year. We’ve created a conference faculty — a team of experts and innovators who will help guide the programming and format of this year’s event. We’ve rallied this great group of people to get closer to the community we serve, and to help us uncover the emerging projects and best practices that are shaping the future of the Lean Startup.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing the behind-the-scenes of our editorial process, so you can see how we’re programming and developing the curriculum for The Lean Startup Conference. You’ll get to read about what we’re building on our blog, and join the discussion through the Lean Startup Webcasts Series with faculty members and conference speakers.

I am looking forward to the new set of remarkable people and ideas we’ll experience in San Francisco this November as a result of our partnership.

And speaking of remarkable people, we’d like to hear from you, too. Tell us about the Lean Startup issues you’re grappling with, what you’d like to learn or achieve at the conference this year, and any other ideas in a short note to me at kirsten [at]


Aneesh Chopra

Aneesh Chopra is the co-founder of Hunch Analytics, a “hatchery” incubating open data startups that improve the productivity of health and education markets, including NavHealth, a patient journey analytics service. He serves as a Member of the Council on Virginia’s Future and an inaugural Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

From 2009-2012, Aneesh served as the first U.S. Chief Technology Officer with a focus on better public/private collaboration as described in his 2014 book, “Innovative State: How New Technologies can Transform Government”. Check out his Lean Startup webcast here:

Cindy Alvarez

Cindy Alvarez is the author of “Lean Customer Development: How to Build Products Your Customers Will Buy.” Cindy has been using customer development techniques for well over a decade, across a variety of roles and organization sizes. She hates that alleged Henry Ford quote “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would’ve said ‘a faster horse.'” After seeing many organizations struggle, she wrote “Lean Customer Development” as a practical, hands-on guide to effectively talk to customers. Through the tactics in the book, organizations will learn how to rigorously validate their ideas, differentiate customer ‘wants’ from ‘needs,’ and build constant learning into their product development culture. Check out her 2014 Lean Startup talk here:

Diane Tavenner

Diane Tavenner is the Founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools (SPS), a non-profit charter management organization focused on Silicon Valley. SPS opens and operates high performing public charter high schools and works with communities and parents to ensure that every child has access to a rigorous, college preparatory public school education.

In 2003, Diane founded Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City. Today, Summit Prep is ranked by Newsweek as one of 10 miracle high schools in the nation that is transforming student lives. Check out her 2012 Lean Startup talk here:

Mark Graban

Mark Graban is the Vice President of Customer Success for the software company KaiNexus, helping further their mission of “making improvement happen” in healthcare organizations and other industries.

Mark is the author of the book “The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen: Leadership for a Continuously Learning and Improving Organization”. He is the founder and lead blogger and podcaster at Check out his Lean Startup talk here:

Laura Klein

Laura Klein is a Lean UX and Research expert in Silicon Valley, where she teaches companies how to get to know their users and build products people will love. She blogs about UX, metrics, customer development, and startups at Users Know. Her book, UX for Lean Startups, was published by O’Reilly and is aimed at helping entrepreneurs learn enough research and design to let them validate their ideas.  Check out her Lean Startup talk here:

Wayne Sutton

Wayne Sutton is a serial entrepreneur and general partner at BUILDUP is dedicated to growing global innovations by bringing innovators together from an array of backgrounds and experience – technology, corporate, healthcare, design, environmental, social and political leadership – to a forum to investigate new realms of technology.

Wayne has over 14 years experience in technology, design and business development. He was recently recognized as one of the Silicon Valley 100 coolest people in tech.