This week, we’ve been at The Lean Startup Conference out in San Francisco—getting inspired and learning a ton.
So of course, we wanted to share with you a few of our favorite talks. These are from Wednesday’s lineup and are mostly about experimentation. We’ve got a list of favorites from Thursday’s lineup, too.
Test Your Way to the Right Answer by Anita Newton
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.
Identify and Validate Your Riskiest Assumptions by Laura Klein
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.
The Diesel Engine MVP: Cory Nelson in Conversation with Eric Ries
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.
How a 30-Year-Old Hardware Company Is Bringing Products to Market 3x Faster by Kevin Ellsworth
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.
Get Comfortable Shipping Imperfect Products by Lauren Gilchrist
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.
Lessons from Experimentation at the Biggest Organization in the US by Todd Park
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.