The Startup’s Guide to The Lean Startup Conference

Photo credit: The Lean Startup Conference/Jakub Moser & Erin Lubin

The Lean Startup Conference teaches companies of all sizes how to build iteratively, bring new ideas to market quickly, and outsmart their own perfection to create successful products. As part of our program-building process, we conduct hundreds of customer development interviews. One thing we’ve learned is that our startup attendees want to see the unique benefits offered to them.

So here we go: from programming to networking opportunities, here are 6 opportunities that we want on every startup attendee’s radar. (If you’re working for an established company, we’d love for you to pass this note along to your startup friends!)

1 – You’ll learn how to tackle your biggest challenges.

The Lean Startup Conference creates a culture that helps startup founders and employees learn from one another. This year, we’ll be featuring talks with founders like Ryan Hoover of Product Hunt, Prerna Gupta of Telepathic, and Gagan Biyani of Sprig, who will be sharing ‘in-the-trenches’ lessons learned that you can apply back to your business. We’ll also be hosting attendee-led small group discussions, startup-focused dinners, and a q&a with Eric Ries: all forums where you can share your own story and get great advice to apply to your business.

One of our community members, Emmanuel Eleyae, founder at consumer products company Satin Lined Caps told us that the 2014 Lean Startup Conference helped him grow his monthly revenue by more than 20 times in less than six months. Emmanuel implemented new customer development techniques in his family-run business—like conducting feedback sessions and tailoring his product to his target market—all decisions driven by attendee-led discussions and a group Q&A session with Eric Ries. And now, Emmanuel’s coming back in 2015 to learn new techniques for scaling his team.

2 – You can demo your product in our Startup Alley.

We get that startups need exposure but don’t have the same event marketing budget as more established companies, so this year, we’re launching a new program. It’s called Startup Alley, and it’s a demo space for our startup attendees

If you take part, you and a team member can demo your company and product to our audience of enterprise companies, growing startups, nonprofits, and government organizations. We’ve made pricing startup-friendly, too, but sign up soon: space is limited to 20 companies. For instance, Advanced-HR, a tool for compensation surveys and consulting service, will be demoing its product to reach its target customer base of startups and VC firms.

3 – You’ll meet collaborators, customers, and potential employees.

We provide a unique atmosphere where introductions and conversations happen with ease. Throughout the four days of the conference, you’ll mix with our cross-functional community of corporate innovators, senior leadership team members, marketers, product development leaders, engineers, and other decision-makers who are all eager to learn about your organization. These are all connections that will last beyond your conference. A couple of examples:

  • At the 2014 Conference, former U.S. CTO Todd Park recruited at least three attendees to the United States Digital Service (side note: you can read about Obama’s stealth startup here
  • We constantly hear about attendees consulting for one another and becoming each others’ customers after meeting. In 2015, we’re carving out opportunities to help attendees do more of this.

4 – You’ll meet potential mentors and advisors.

At some conferences, speakers and expert attendees like to hide behind the scenes. Not here. In fact, it’s the opposite: we constantly hear stories about attendees syncing up with speakers and becoming one another’s customers, coaches, and collaborators. These experienced founders and corporate innovation leaders make it a point to be available and accessible, and you can sign up to meet with them one-on-one during our speed-mentoring and office-hour sessions.

5 – If you’re a Platinum Pass holder, you can join our Startup Tours.

This is a popular option, especially among our non-San Francisco community. For a full morning and afternoon, we give you the opportunity to tour your choice of eight companies that utilize Lean Startup in their everyday operations. You’ll get to see Lean Startup stories in action—full of anecdotes and perspectives to bring back to your team back home.

We typically finalize our Startup Tours itinerary in October. You can see last year’s list here.

6 – If you can demonstrate need, you can apply for one of our $250 bootstrapper passes.

We know that early-stage (or never-been-funded) ventures are often strapped for cash, and we want to make sure that any revenue you’ve generated—or funding that you’ve raised—stays tied to your core business. No matter your financial standing, we want you alongside us in November.

A bootstrapper pass is the exact same as a silver pass, except you get your ticket for $250. Learn more and apply for these passes on this page.

While we don’t have a hard deadline to apply, we’re only offering 200 bootstrapper slots, and we expect them to fill up quickly.

If you’re part of a larger organization or VC firm that would like to fund a set of passes, please email [email protected].

Want to get involved sooner?

You don’t need to wait until November to get involved with The Lean Startup Conference. We’ve got lots of resources for startups and other organization types, too. You can follow what we’re up to here

Interested in continuing the discussion from what you’ve just read? You’ll make a great addition to the 2015 Lean Startup Conference community. Join us on November 16-19 at Fort Mason. Come away with new Lean Startup contacts and actionable takeaways that you can immediately apply at your company. Click here for all the details and to register now.

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