The Full Rundown of the 2015 Lean Startup Conference


The Lean Startup Conference brings leaders from around the world to San Francisco on Nov. 16-19 to discuss the ways they’re shaping the business world for the future. With more than 30 different options over three days and nights for things like interactive sessions, inspiring presentations, startup tours, industry dinners, master classes, Q&As with Eric, and office hours, you won’t want to miss our big annual event. That’s where this rundown of everything you need to know about the conference comes in.

When and where is it again?

The Lean Startup Conference is at Fort Mason (2 Marina Blvd.) in San Francisco starting at 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 17 & 18. We offer an extra workshop day starting at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 16 for Gold and Platinum badge holders and additional Startup Tours on Thursday, Nov. 19 for Platinum folks (more info on those tours below).

What’s going to happen each day?

You’re gonna want to arrive well rested. Seriously, look at this full schedule.

Here’s the deal for Monday, Nov. 16:

Swing by at 10:30 a.m for a little networking around the breakfast buffet while you grab your registration goodies.

Then Monday afternoon we dive right in, with workshops from noon to 5:30 p.m. on a range of topics. We’ll have three levels of Lean Startup Training for those interested in making Eric’s groundbreaking concepts real in their workplace. This means practical applications and viable tools for navigating common roadblocks, with industry specific solutions at the higher learning levels.

For conference backers of The Leader’s Guide Kickstarter campaign and all Platinum & Gold badge holders, we’re hosting a special Leader’s Guide Workshop with Janice Fraser of Pivotal. We’re calling this one a hands-on and minds-on session. We’ll take you through the nine steps related to culture, process, and accountability that lead to successful business innovation. Bring situations from your workplace or side hustle and we’ll work through solutions with you.

For folks who work at legacy companies, Microsoft’s Cindy Alvarez will lead a workshop on Driving Change within the Enterprise where you’ll practice working with skeptics, among other immersive (and entertaining) exercises.

All you design thinkers out there will appreciate these participatory workshops: Shufflebrain’s Amy Jo Kim on the Secrets of Game Thinking, and Wodtke Consulting’s Christina Wodtke joins forces with Users Know’s Laura Klein for Using Design Thinking to Build Creative New Products. Amy Jo will also lead a session on Lightning-Fast Customer Insights that’s especially geared for teams to attend; you’ll leave with an understanding of how to generate actionable customer insights in under three weeks.

For those interested in reading into the numbers, we have two great data-driven workshops on deck. Our longtime Lean Startup friend Alistair Croll of Solve For Interesting is leading two sessions on Using Data to Build a Better Business Faster that connects innovation to analytics. And Intuit Labs’ creators Hugh Molotsi and Bennett Blank will share tricks for creating an innovation lab of your own in the workshop Using Data from Your MVP to Win Support for Your Idea.

Dinadesa’s David Binetti returns with a perennial favorite, A Finance-Approved Approach to Innovation Accounting, which helps product and finance teams work together in assessing risk, avoiding traps, and producing the right valuation for your organization. Binetti will return on Wednesday for a talk about Using Innovation Accounting for Valuation and Risk Management.

On Monday evening, we’re hosting this cool thing called Ignite Opening Reception at Cowell Theater. Drinks and light apps start at 5:30 p.m.; Ignite talks kick-off at 6:30 p.m. This is where 11 brave entrepreneurs each get five minutes (and 20 fast-paced slides) in which to share the big lessons they’ve learned. Think of it as a lightning round of business insights.

Then on Tuesday, Nov. 17, we have all this and then some:

We’ll kick things off with a keynote talk by GE’s Mark Little, who will discuss the ways GE used Lean Startup techniques to achieve radical innovation and speed up production time. Then later Tuesday afternoon, we’ll continue on the theme of GE insight when Janice Semper takes us through the company’s Culture of Simplification efforts during her presentation on Getting Lean to Stick. The triple shot of GE will close with a presentation on Wednesday by Johanna Wellington on GE-Fuel Cells, the company’s internal startup working on clean, reliable local power that’s based on manufacturing MVP.

Our Tuesday morning sessions will focus on matters of size. Dropbox’s Aditya Agarwal will discuss Managing Through Hyper-Growth. And at the other end of the spectrum, Users Know’s Laura Klein will provide insight into the value of starting small and growing thoughtfully during So You Want to Be the Next Facebook. Speaking of cultivating things, Product Hunt’s Ryan Hoover will share his expertise on moving from an email list to a coveted digital hub during his presentation on The Building Blocks of Community.

After lunch, we’ll be hosting the first of two days of Office Hours from 2-5 p.m., available to Platinum & Gold badge holders. You’ll get to sign up in advance for these one-on-one mentoring sessions. Choose up to three mentors (from our list of 30), with whom you’ll have 20 minutes to ask all your burning questions.

We also have a full afternoon of breakout sessions tailored to specific themes and topics, including a live Q&A with Eric Ries for Platinum badge holders. During the Q&A, all you entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs can ask our Lean Startup mastermind specific questions about your situation, with the added bonus of hearing his solutions for others making their way through the methodology as well.

Plus, we’ll have lots of Lean Startup case studies, including Harvard Business Review’s Digital Transformation, Transavia’s How Lean Startup Accelerates (Open) Innovation, Adobe’s How to Build the Right Product That People Will Love, Techstars & CA Technologies’ Accelerate Beyond the Lean Startup, Hotel Tonight’s Lean Startup Story, and some social enterprise advice from ArtLifting’s Re-imagining Job Creation: Using Paint.

Speaking of mission-driven organizations, leaders from ArtLifting, Bidhaa Sasa, and Cooler will drive a discussion around Social Good Startups, putting Lean Startup practices to work for humanitarian and environmental causes. Cooler’s Michel Gelobter will also lead social sector innovators through the “pivot, proceed, or quit” conundrum with his session on Lean Metrics for the Social Sector.

For those interested in a global perspective on Lean Startup techniques, we’ll have an interactive panel on Lean Startups Around the World as well as a presentation from Japan’s Learning Entrepreneur’s Lab on their Lean Startup Accelerator for Enterprises to Create New Businesses.

Since so much of the Lean Startup ethos focuses on understanding the users, we’re hosting a number of panels delving into the granular bits of user experience. NYU’s Frank Rimalovski will guide a workshop on Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding Your Customers. Former Googler and now WeWork’s Tomer Sharon will demonstrate the philosophy of Don’t Listen to Users, Sample Their Experience! (Hint: This involves a little thing they use at Google called the Experience Sampling Method.) And Huge’s Patricia Korth-McDonnell will talk about the concept of anticipatory design in smart products and services for her session on Applying Lean Principles to Anticipatory Experiences.

For the best advice from the product-market fit arena, we have a few different options. The Lean Product Playbook’s Dan Olsen will break down his six-step methodology in A Playbook for Achieving Product-Market Fit. Nowhere Digital’s Mark Bidwell is an expert in catalyzing change with market leaders. He’ll be presenting some of his findings during his talk on Building a Culture of Innovation: An Example from Agribusiness. And Femgineer’s Poornima Vijayashanker will pull from her book, How to Transform Your Ideas into Software Products, during her master class on How to Ship Your Ideas. How do you effectively bring new experiences to life for your customers? Thing Tank LLC’s Chris Luomanen will offer answers to that question during his session on Prototyping Your Experiences.

Lean Startup techniques are being adapted before the next generation of business leaders has even grabbed their diplomas. Educators are embracing innovation in schools, an exciting development that thought leaders from NYU, M34 Capital, and Neon will be diving into during their discussion From Campus to Startup.

We’ll close Tuesday’s afternoon sessions with a Conversation Between Eric Ries and Chris Dixon from Andreessen-Horowitz, where they’ll be mapping out the future of the Lean Startup community and what’s next on the horizon for entrepreneurs everywhere.

Here’s what’s on tap for Wednesday, Nov. 18:

On Wednesday morning, we’re thrilled to have Strategyzer’s Alexander Osterwalder as our keynote speaker, marking the business model guru’s premiere at the Lean Startup Conference. Later that day, we’ll have another big picture conversation with Andreessen Horowitz’s Frank Chen (and some special guests) about what it takes to be a modern entrepreneur. And we’ll close out the Wednesday sessions with final remarks from Eric Ries.

Good reasons to arrive before noon on Wednesday: we’ll be hosting talks ranging from the silver screen to market-strong products. Shufflebrain’s Amy Jo Kim will break down five early design hacks that’ll help in Getting to Alpha: Turbo-Charge Your Early Product Development, while Sprig’s Gagan Biyani will discuss the multiple pivots he navigated on the way to founding his dine-on-demand meal service for Eliminating Your Ego: Product Market Fit.

Art and analytics aren’t enemies. Telepathic’s Prerna Gupta will show how the two can actually aid one another, using case studies from the movie industry during How Data Can Save Hollywood. Spoiler alert: This one involves using metrics to analyze Tinseltown’s biggest duds and future blockbusters.

In the afternoon, we’ll look at Lean Startup experiments in the religious arena. Yes, you read that right. We’re excited to examine new territory at this conference — proving that innovative strategies really do transcend mission or industry — with Exploring the Fertile Boundaries Between Faith and Business, when speakers from FaithX, UpStart Bay Area, and Hatchery LA will be discussing the intersection of faith-based organizations and progressive organizational methodologies.

In Minimum Viable Taxes: Lessons Learned Building an MVP Inside the IRS, Andrea Schneider of the IRS and Lauren Gilchrist of Pivotal Labs will discuss how an organization not known for swiftness is releasing a new MVP, and how to create a lasting culture of experimentation inside a bureaucratic organization.

Enterprise intrapreneurs, we’ll have multiple sessions analyzing legacy organizations. American Express’ Andrew Breen will offer tips from his company’s journey through corporate innovation. Garrett Dunham of DunhamLabs will help us figure out how to span team schisms with How Enterprises & Startups Can Accelerate Innovation Together. And, because we can learn from failings as much as we can from successes, we’re very happy to have Ericsson’s Ken Durand open up about his View From the Trenches: What Went Wrong With Our Lean Startup Program. Plus, we’ll dig into enterprise marketing with Ritika Puri’s (Storyhackers, Lean Startup Company) talk about Minimum Viable Marketing.

What kinds of people should be on your team — and how should you best manage them in order to maximize Lean Startup principles? These questions are fodder for our Wednesday management track workshops. Alan Lobock of Spartacus Muse LLC will offer actionable advice during his session on Management Framework for Fast-Growing Early Stage Companies, where he’ll discuss how to build adaptive teams rather than manage by crisis. Scripps Networks Interactive’s Freyja Balmer and Michael Greene will also get into office DNA with their talk on The Human Side of Lean Startup: Functional Team Culture, which rewards engaged staffers over teams that cling to vanity metrics. And ReadyTalk’s Andrea Hill will lead a how-to on finding project sponsorship within a larger organization using Internal Customer Development.

Just because an industry is heavily regulated doesn’t mean organizations working in those markets are stuck in the old ways of doing things. In Lessons on Lean Collaborations in Health, Energy & Talent Markets, leaders from Hunch Analytics, Workday Inc., and PG&E discuss how they were able to drive change in sectors ranging from government to veteran care and energy.

The hardware industry is embracing innovation in some really interesting ways too. Just ask Marcus Gosling of Highway1, who’ll be presenting the experimental methodologies hardware engineers are investing in during his presentation on The Lean Hardware Toolbox.

We’ll also continue the conversations about customer discovery on Wednesday. LensBricks’ Gaurav Agarwal will share his hacks and tips in a hands-on session of Customer Development Power-Ups. For those working in the service industry, you’ll want to check out the interactive workshop with gravitytank’s Lauren Braun focused on Lean Experiments for Services, while Share More StoriesJames Warren will examine The Startup Storyteller: Using Stories to Learn. If you haven’t yet used LinkedIn for user information, Brandy Nagel of Georgia Tech VentureLab has some neat hacks to share during her session on Using LinkedIn for Customer Discovery.

The Return of Attendee Networking Dinners

We know you don’t just go to conferences to hear people speak, you wanna meet them and exchange ideas with them too. We’re enabling some solid networking after hours again with the return of our Networking Dinners on Tuesday, Nov. 17 & Wednesday, Nov. 18. Registered attendees can can grab a seat at a table full of small business owners, corporate innovators, government and educational intrapreneurs, and international entrepreneurs — we have all sorts of groups you can join, depending on your industry (and the type of cuisine you prefer). This deal is available to all badgeholders for only $55 per person.

Thursday bonus: Startup Tours

Platinum pass holders are invited to join our Startup Tours on Thursday, Nov. 19. We’ll be visiting some of San Francisco’s leading edge companies: Pivotal Labs, General Assembly, Eatsa, and Highway1 and learning about their processes, their offices, and other fun details about how they operate. More info here. And if you’re not Platinum but would love to upgrade your badge, no problem. Contact [email protected] and we’ll help you out.

It’s not too late to attend the 2015 conference

If you like what you just read, but have yet to grab your ticket to attend, you can still join us. Register here for your conference ticket today.

The Lean Startup Conference. Nov. 16-19, 2015 in San Francisco, CA.