The event started with an optional golf round on May 11th afternoon at the Palo Alto Golf and Country Club with a wonderful weather to welcome the participants. The golf was followed by cocktail, dinner and poker: a very fun start to prepare the full day of content and networking on May 12th at the Rosewood SandHill.
Unveiling of the "10 Things Every CEO Needs to Know About Product Design"
The best rated session of the day was the presentation by Jason Putorti on product design. Jason is the design Czar who designed the Mint user experience and we are incredibly lucky to have him as our first Designer In Residence!
Jason's presentation was focused on the "10 Things Every CEO Needs to Know About Product Design and User Experience". The full presentation is available at the bottom of the post but here are the key highlights:
- Design can change businesses: little things can have a great impact. A simple example: the difference between "I am on Twitter" and "You should follow me on Twitter here" increased the registration rate by 173%!
- Design is more than pretty picture: it is all about the user experience and the brand you are trying to build
- Talk benefits not features: It is much better to write "Understand your money" than "20 colorful configurable charts and graphs". Another way to think about it is Microsoft vs. Apple packaging :+)
- Think in flows, not screens
- Do not make the user think: Make obvious what is clickable, minimize noise, omit needless words
- Start with a great story: Make the value obvious and present it first in the user flow
- User design as a lever: The best marketing tool you can have is a well designed application
- Get out of the office: Watch people experience your product or service
- Have your bible: Synthesize your design guidelines in a company style guide
- Repeat & refine: Allot product cycles to improvement
A few highlights from the different keynotes and speakers
On top of Jason, we also had the chance of having many great speakers at the event and here are a few quotes and notes that I have taken during the different keynotes and panels:
- Joe Payne, CEO of Eloqua moderated the panel on Revenue Performance Management. One of his secret: "Incentivize your marketing team on sales not leads"
- Jeff Jordan, CEO of OpenTable speaking about his IPO process: "Build relationships with key public investors 2-3 years before going public (Morgan Stanley, Fidelity and T. Rowe). It is enough to meet them 1-2 times a year and it helps a lot during the roadshow"..."don't expect the IPO to boost your consumer brand, it does not help a lot"
- From the panel on the "Consumerization of Software" that I was moderating: "integrate your user flow from landing page to payment and usage into one single flow", "test, test, and test: user feedback is key"..."Use the 1/60 rule: less than one minute to understand the value and less than 60mn to experience it"
- Sarah Friars, lead software analyst for Goldman Sachs on IPO timing: "Go when you can"
- Michael Simon, CEO of LogMeIn on the Exit/IPO panel: "Pick the bankers you really like as you will spend a LOT of time with them!"..."1 out 25 company going public is bought in the process, ...the likelihood is fairly low"
- Bob Goodman, Bessemer on the same panel: "Bankers are good negotiators, that's why you hire them: the only way to get something out of them is to adopt a 'take it or leave it' stance!"..."having a large VC on your board helps keep the bankers honest and they are less likely to walk on your toes"
Looking forward to the fourth edition next year!