Yesterday, I went to The Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco. It was a full day of incredible presentations, fireside chats (without the fires), sharing of lessons learned and of course networking. This was my first Lean Startup conference and I was blown away by the diversity of ways Lean thinking is impacting the world around us. Here are some of the highlights, cliff notes style;

The US Government is doing big things with Lean thinking. Did you know the government operates 24,000 websites? The United States Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park discussed many efforts, benefiting form Lean methodology like a a proposed visa¬† path for entrepreneurs and shortened FDA approval cycles. He discussed RFP EZ, a platform that makes it easier for businesses to sell to the government and Blue Button which enables veteran’s to securely download their medical records. Further, he discussed some of the incredible resources made avialable by the Data Initiative Project (looking for a data play, check the Open Data Initiatives out). He talked about some of the great things that Code for America is doing with local governments across the country.

Conference Organizer and Lean Startup author, Eric Ries talked about the importance of Innovation Accounting as a guide for startups in the development phase of their business.

Beth Comstock described how GE created a protected class of ideas as an innovation pipeline to insulate them from the day to day pressures of the market and how they carefully integrate these ideas into the the main revenue streams of the company.

Danny Kim had an amazing presentation on his team’s process with Lit Motors including a fake dealership they set up to do customer development.

Matt Brezina of Sincerly wrapped up the early session with a great set of tips for Rapid Mobile Ap development;

  • Build an MVP
  • Test off-brand- they have a separate company for testing apps in the wild (or in Canada)
  • De-emphasize Visual Design early (but not integration design)
  • Re-use common components (payment processing, registrations)
  • Buy cheap, disposable user to test
  • Be willing to kill aps (even if they are generating a little money)
  • Used Android for quick testing
  • APIs are everything, use them!
  • Pair developers and designers
  • Minimize interdepence, empower your teammates