(Too busy to read this whole post? The TL;DR version is that I’m hosting a Vancouver livestream of the Lean Startup Conference on Monday, December 3. You should join me!)

“If one more person tells me to read The Lean Startup, I’m gonna flip out,” complained one of my favourite tech startup founders recently.  Indeed, if you work in tech and you haven’t heard of  that particular bestseller, chances are you’ve been living under a rock with earmuffs on. Just about every startup founder I know bandies “MVP” around with as much frequency as other popular acronyms like ROI, iOS, and HTML.

Meanwhile, outside the tech sector, there’s a whole world of entrepreneurs who are just beginning to get that ole Minimum Viable Product religion, thanks to inspired preachers like Tara Gentile and Adam King over at Kickstart Labs. (By the by: Their 5-day Prototype Challenge is an excellent hands-on introduction to the concept, should you be in the market for such a thing – and will nudge you from concept to execution with impressive speed.)

I’ve noticed that whenever I talk about Lean Startup principles to people outside tech, they immediately grasp the concept and run with it – it’s one of those small-but-mighty paradigm-shifting concepts that has the power to radically revamp the way you do business, for the better. It’s quite simply one of the must-read books of the new economy.

Anyway, if you’re wondering why I’m waxing poetic about a book that came out over a year ago, it’s because the Lean Startup Conference is coming up in just a couple of weeks – and the conference organizers are providing streaming video of the December 3 event to official simulcast partners around the world… including yours truly.

That means that I’ll be hosting up to 40 people at the Mozilla office in downtown Vancouver for a Lean Startup Conference livestream event. (There are two other downtown Vancouver venues as well, because my co-hosts and I are expecting a crowd and we thought it would be nicer to meet in several smaller spaces rather than a big, impersonal lecture hall.)


This is gonna be so much fun. So here’s the deal.

Who should come?

  • Entrepreneurs of all stripes – startup founders, leaders of established companies, government intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and nonprofit innovators
  • Product designers
  • Developers
  • And anyone interested in learning to make data-informed business decisions.

You’ll find value in this whether you’re new to Lean Startup methods or have been putting the practices to use in your organization.

Give me three reasons I should make time for this.

  1. Instead of traveling to San Francisco and paying $900 for a conference ticket, you can stay home, save on airfare and carbon emissions, and pay $5 to watch the same amazing content.
  2. You’ll meet a bunch of Lean Startup aficionados in a beautiful, comfortable, welcoming environment – and you’ll be guaranteed lots to talk about with them thanks to the fantastic speaker lineup.
  3. Even if you can only come for part of the day, or have to bring a laptop and get a bit of work done, this will be a fantastic environment to soak up some fresh ideas, boost your creative energy, and meet smart people.

Who’s speaking?

The (remarkably diverse, hooray!) speaker lineup can be found here. More than 30 entrepreneurs will speak about their first-hand experiences, with keynotes including:

  • Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz
  • Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur, author, lecturer at Stanford
  • Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer at GE
  • Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

What should I expect?

As with any conference, the stuff happening onstage – or in this case, onscreen – is only half the story. The real value of coming to the livestream event will be the conversations you have with the other people in the room, and the connections you’ll make.

Plus, it’ll be low-key and relaxed; you’re welcome to bring your laptop and get some work done while you’re there.

Why are there 3 venues?

Because we wanted to keep costs down, and the very generous people who offered us the spaces are providing them for free. (We’re bootstrapping, dig?) And because we thought it’d be nicer to hang out in a couple of smaller rooms where we can see each other’s faces than sit in a cavernous lecture hall where we’re likely to experience first-year-of-university flashbacks.

They’re all within a few blocks of each other, anyway, so we’re hoping to organize a post-event meetup nearby where we can gather for beers.

Which venue should I choose?

Well, I’m totally biased, ’cause I want you to come to mine! I’ll be at Mozilla’s gorgeously refurbished office in the Flack Block, which is not only one of my favourite buildings in Vancouver, but is a stone’s throw from at least three of the best lunch spots in the city (La Taqueria, Nuba, Meat & Bread) and some truly excellent coffee (JJ Bean, Revolver).

But hey, the other two venues are awesome, too. Work@Play has a beautiful office a little deeper into Gastown/Railtown, and The Network Hub is right at Richards & Hastings, about a block or two from every conceivable type of public transportation you might want to use.

If the venues are free, why does it cost $5?

Because anyone who’s organized a free event knows that it becomes nigh-impossible to predict attendance with any accuracy unless you charge people something. And so that we can keep everyone fueled with coffee and snacks during the event.

Why are you doing this? What’s in it for you?

Because I think the Lean Startup is awesome, and I think I’ll meet some awesome people by hosting. Also because I happen to know a couple of people at Mozilla and they said they could offer their amazing space. Besides, I just like hosting events; it’s fun.

Where do I sign up?

Riiiiight here. Can’t wait to see you.