LeanUX Panel at Startup Lessons Learned 2011

I was lucky to share a stage with Janice Fraser, Tim McCoy, Jeff Gothelf, and Zach Larson at Startup Lessons Learned yesterday, the conference organized by Eric Reis to evangelize the concept of Lean Startup.

Watch live video from Startup Lessons Learned on Justin.tv
Our panel, called “Design + Lean Startup = Lean UX,” was a lot of fun: the goal was to talk about how design works within a Lean Startup context, and to talk about the subset of traditional design techniques that work well in this context. If you’re an entrepreneur who is not familiar with the wider design world, take a look–I’d love to hear your thoughts on the content presented and how (or if) you think it’s relevent to your work.

Of course, the notion of “Lean UX”  has some folks in the design communty grumbling. We both love and hate the growth of these new terms. Design Misanthrope (courageously anonymous as ever) tweeted during the talk, “Glad to see the #leanUX crowd admitting it’s basically same shit in different bottles.” Maybe. But good shit in good bottles? I call that good business. Personally, I’m glad to have a chance to talk to a receptive community of entrepreneurs about the value of design. As I said in the talk, designers who collaborate are the ones who win, and part of collaboration is developing a shared language. (The flipside of this is true as well, and we took pains to call this out during the panel. As @kylec tweeted during the talk, “A lot of the Lean Startup talk is the same stuff that designers having been calling UX research for years.”)

As far as the rest of the conference went, there were lots of worthwhile presentations.  Two that were personal highlights were Brad Smith (CEO of Intuit) talking about how Intuit manages innovation at a huge, successful software company, and Mitch Kapor’s discussion of failure, an object lesson in humility, self-awareness, and life-long learning. (Watch every presentation from the conference here.)

Thanks to Eric for having me, to Janice for organizing the panel, and to my fellow panelists for raising the bar for me. And kudos to conference organizers Charles Hudson and David Sachs, who not only ran a flawless show, but arranged to simulcast the conference to over 100 locations worldwide and to make available recorded video as soon as each talk was done.

Finally, in the video, I tell the story of a product development effort that happened during my tenure at Liquidnet. (The story starts at about the 37:00 mark in the video above.) In my rush to get my story in under 5 minutes (fail) I didn’t remember to credit the designers while onstage, but the brilliant design team that worked on this was Jeanine Harriman and Eric Wright. Their work on that project embodies what great designers can do.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.