8th Annual Kellogg Alumni Entrepreneur Conference
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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John Prendergast '03
Co-Founder and CEO, Blueleaf

Speaker Bio

John Prendergast '03 is the co-founder and CEO of Blueleaf, a savings and investment oriented financial application platform and also a board member of oneforty, the destination for social media business tools. He is one of the early leaders in the Lean Startup movement and currently leads the Lean Startup Circle Boston with 1,300 members.

Early in his career he was one of the first Boston Chicken Franchisees where he learned to put chicken on a spit four at a time. He also has led product management for a number of startups. And he was an Investment Banker for Technology Companies leading Broadview’s (Jefferies) efforts in Infrastructure Software. He received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and his undergraduate degree from Boston College.

Follow John on Twitter.

Workshop Description

The Lean Startup Movement is a innovative approach to starting a company that is transforming the way new products are built and launched. Based loosely on the famed Toyota production system, lean startups eliminate waste in the startup process by removing every activity that is not necessary for creating customer value. Lean Startups use customer development to reduce waste by increasing the frequency of contact with real customers, therefore testing and avoiding incorrect market assumptions as early as possible.

John will introduce the fundamental concepts of the Lean Startup Methodology and describe how it can be adopted by both startups and existing businesses.



Ross Kimbarovsky



Mike Samson

Ross Kimbarovsky NU '92 and Mike Samson '04
Co-Founders, crowdSPRING

Speaker Bio: Ross Kimbarovsky NU '92

Ross Kimbarovsky is a co-founder of crowdSPRING. crowdSPRING is the world's largest community of graphic designers, web designers, illustrators, writers and industrial designers. Ever since he emigrated to the United States from Kiev, Ukraine, Ross has dreamed about starting a technology business. In 2007, Ross left a successful 13 year career as a trial lawyer to pursue his dream (it's only partially true that he did so in order to wear shorts and sandals to work).

Ross actively talks about startup issues at conferences and on his personal blog, where he's published over 100 videos for entrepreneurs and startups (on diverse topics including: marketing, online tools, software development, legal, fundraising, SEO, social media and much more), sharing many lessons and his many mistakes along the way. crowdSPRING's blog is a ranked among the top marketing blogs in the world by AdAge. Prior to crowdSPRING, for 13 years as a successful trial attorney, Ross counseled and represented clients (from small Internet startups to Fortune 100 companies) in complex disputes involving intellectual property in United States state and federal courts and before the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Follow Ross or crowdSPRING on Twitter.

Speaker Bio: Mike Samson '04

Mike Samson is a co-founder of crowdSPRING and resides firmly at the bottom of the company’s ping-pong totem pole. An enthusiastic entrepreneur, Mike is a leading voice on crowdsourcing, industry disruption, startups, and small business issues and writes a regular column on the crowdSPRING blog (ranked in the AdAge Power 50 Marketing Blogs). Prior to starting crowdSPRING, Samson was an Emmy Award® nominated Producer, and Production Manager with more than 20 years of experience as a senior manager in the film and television production industry. He has worked on dozens of feature film and television projects including "Wall Street," "Bull Durham," "Steven King's The Stand" (Miniseries), and "Men in Black II." In prime-time dramatic television, he supervised on TV series such as "New York Undercover" and "Third Watch." Mike has received numerous honors individually and as a team member, including an Emmy Award nomination, DGA awards, and a George Foster Peabody Award. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Samson has a BA in Mass Media from the University of Illinois and a MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. He speaks often to audiences of entrepreneurs and marketing professionals as well as to business schools and professional organizations.

Follow Mike or crowdSPRING on Twitter.

Workshop Description

Lean Marketing 101 takes key elements of lean startup principles and applies those elements to strategies for small businesses and startup marketing, including offline and online promotions, online small business listing sites, referral programs, deal-of-the-day sites like Groupon, print ads in local papers or mailers, online ads, hyper-local advertising on Facebook, participation on Twitter, or adwords on Google.

This session will cover all aspects of lean marketing, including best practices, useful resources, measurement – anything and everything that you’ll want to know to effectively and affordably market your entrepreneurial business or startup.

For more information, please contact the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice at levyinstitute@kellogg.northwestern.edu or 847.491.3255
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