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If the Shoe Fits: More Lean Startup Conference

by KG Charles-Harris

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here


Well, actually, it was a shared 1st place with the Garage.com conference I went to in 2000 and met Guy Kawasaki and Bill Reichert who funded my company based on the impromptu pitch I did to them at the conference.

However, I am writing now about the last day of the Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco.  A fantastic last day.

It completely reinforced what I wrote yesterday, that this has been the most practical and useful conference I’ve been to as a startup founder.  

Even though I’ve done several startups and had successful exits on three, and been on the other side of the table as an institutional investor in startups, it was astounding how much I learned that was useful.  

I really wish that this conference had existed 15 years ago when I got started in the startup business!

In the morning I went to a seminar led by Ash Maurya, author of the book “Running Lean,” called Innovation Accounting: A Blueprint for Defining, Measuring, and Communicating Progress With Internal and External Stakeholders.  

In addition to Ash being a good presenter, every minute and every slide he went through was deep learning in how to get the operational aspects of a startup up and running around a new product.  

In fact, it was a systematic methodology of building new products that I wish had been available for my past ventures.  Everyone who is in the process of creating a new product, especially a software product, should read Ash’ book and participate in one of his practical seminars.

The afternoon session was called Science of Pricing: Tools to Optimize Price Without Sacrificing Conversions and was led by Justin Wilcox.  

I have yet to experience a more dynamic, fun and practical seminar leader.  In building a startup or product, one of the core challenges is how to price the product to get maximum conversions to sales at the highest possible price.  

What Justin did was lead us through a hands-on session of how to accomplish this and got us actually doing a practical test on several products (after dividing us into teams, each testing pricing on one product) focusing on how to price them and pinpoint the optimal price to sales ratio.  

Justin and his team are experts well worth consulting with to get this right.  It is guaranteed to earn you a lot more money and save you from pain.

To be honest, based on past conferences I’ve attended, I had low expectations arriving at the Lean Startup Conference.  And as you have read, I’ve been totally blown away by what I experienced.  

If you are an entrepreneur, even an experienced one, you must beg borrow or steal to get the opportunity to go.  

Don’t miss this learning opportunity – for me. It would have saved me millions of dollars in cash, several years of time, and lots of sleepless nights and struggles at home and at work.

I have one criticism about the conference – please choose better names for the sessions.  

The naming convention was horrible and made it difficult to compare notes with fellow conference participants of what they had experienced since none of us could remember the names of the sessions.

Thank you, Lean Startup Conference – I’ll see you next year!

KG Charles-Harris is CEO of Emanio and a special contributor to MAPping Company Success.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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2 Responses to “If the Shoe Fits: More Lean Startup Conference”
  1. Sean MurphyNo Gravatar Says:

    I agree with you: the Garage.Com “Art of the Start” and “Startup Bootcamp” conferences come closest to the energy and range of practitioners on the stage at the Lean Startup Conference. I miss the earlier years of the Lean Startup Conference when it was called “Startup Lessons Learned” and with a smaller crowd presenters could be more candid and take questions from the audience but I suppose size is the price of success given the growth in interest.

    For a comprehensive list of slides, videos, blog posts, and articles related to the 2013 Lean Startup Conference see http://www.skmurphy.com/blog/2013/12/14/lean-startup-conference-2013-roundup/

  2. KGNo Gravatar Says:

    Thanks, Sean. Fantastic resource!

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