Aditya Agarwal, Dropbox VP of Engineering, remembered how important it is to hire unicorn employees at the very beginning, so that they can wear multiple hats and fulfill many roles. However as the organization grows it is essential to hire competent managers and build a management team to coordinate effort.
Ryan Hoover, is the founder of Product Hunt, a company that curates a daily feed of the best new apps and games. He recommends that you share mockups of new features or products with your community. He also explained how he built the community through an email list before creating a product around it.
This encourages community engagement, gets potential users involved with design, and increases the profile of your projects before they are even released.
Bennett Blank, innovation leader at Intuit, talked about the difference between the Leader and Scientific types of employees an organization requires. Balancing this ratio is important to all businesses in order to make things happen.
Bennett also pointed that “Middle management at large companies are trained to eliminate risk, killing creativity and entrepreneurial culture”.
Laura Klein noted that even if you want to build a 2 billion user app such as Facebook, you need to start with a very concrete user in mind such as Harvard students. If you try to please everyone and implement features for all demographics, you lose sight of your target audience and no early adopter will love your product.
General Electric and other large corporations are applying nowadays Lean Startup, reducing shipping time from 12 to 6 months.
Dan Olsen, author of The Lean Product Playbook, comments on the importance of early testing to prioritize Minimum Viable Product (MVP) features using data driven decisions. Some of Dan's most relevant slides follow:
Chris Luomanen talked about prototyping not only products but experiences using creative workarounds to test ideas.
Chris Dixon, partner at the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, said: “focus on Founder/Market-fit first and later on Product/Market-fit”. He also advises raising the right amount of financing for your investment stage.
Gagan Biyani, founder of Spring says: “Do not validate your ideas, focus on the problem and come up with a technical solution”.
Amy Jo Kim, on Game thinking: “think about what kind of game your users are on. To cross the chasm between innovators and adopters you need to find early adopters.”
Alexander Osterwalder, co-founder at Strategyzer, talked about Lean Startup Culture. Alex presented a new tool called Culture Map, a canvas to improve management and organisation culture.
The focus of Alexandre's talk on culture was to increase the proportion of engaged to not-engaged employees. This is the typical ratio in an average company:
Alexander recommended an employee survey tool Tinypulse, which can be used to determine the ratio of engaged to disengaged employees.
Lauren Braun from Gravity Tank, explained her experience running micropilots for service startups.
Gareth Dunham, founder of two startup accelerators, talked about leveraging the strength of Startups and Corporations. An example is Sphero the toy co-developed between a Startup and Disney which just raised $40M. Gareth stresses the importance of co-development between Startup and Corporations as opposed to consulting, getting both sides actively involved in product and market development.
My trip to San Francisco did not end on the Lean Startup conference. I will share soon other experiences, events, highlights, tips and tricks from my first 10 days in the Tech Capital of the world.