CIID NYC: Getting To Good Quicker

Launching a successful product is no easy task. It requires good design, elegant use of technology and a smart approach to fundraising. Last Monday evening CIID hosted their first NYC event; ‘Getting to good quicker’.

We gathered a group of eclectic speakers to share their diverse experiences on how to accelerate the development of meaningful ideas and launch successful products. From building hardware prototypes to launching a successful kickstarter campaign, the speakers all had extensive experience in supporting companies, startups and individuals in launching some of the products we know and love today.

Over the course of 4 short talks, our speakers shared actionable insights and inspirational anecdotes that highlight why design, prototyping, culture and collaboration are essential facets of launching products that bring value to people and businesses. At the end of the talks we facilitated a group Q&A session. Below you can see an outline of what the talks covered:


Ted Ullrich: Founder and Partner, Tomorrow Lab
Ted focused on talking about a prototype driven development process and the connections between hardware and software. He talked about the importance of service avatars and the ‘stickiness’ of physical things to create ownership and user engagement. Ted wrapped up his talk by giving a very informative and realistic glimpse of the investment needed to get a physical product into the world, by showing an overview of hardware development timelines.

“the content of my talk was not only to share an overview of Tomorrow Lab’s process, but to share some insights that we’ve picked along the way from working with startup teams. What makes a good team, what makes a good product and some insights into the NYC venture community”

Elena Gianni: Design Lead, New York Times Beta Group
The New York Times Beta Group is a cross disciplinary team that has been established to develop new products that use existing NY Times journalism content. The team is made up of designers, developers, editors, journalists and product managers. Elena’s presentation focused on ‘how to do new things in old places and what the key ingredients are for it’. She discussed her experience of working in a diverse team and the challenges associated with it. She then followed up with key principles that illustrated how the BETA group has become successful. Some of these included designing for new habits, having shared values and only shipping complete experiences.

“the key thing i wanted to emphasis in my talk was how you can make new things in old places, and what are the ingredients to do so successfully”

Zofia Ciechowska : Business Strategist, Spotify
Zofia’s background focuses on organizational strategy and was one of the trail blazers at Undercurrent, before it closed it’s doors. Zofia’s talk was a breath of fresh air. It focused on ‘process as a product’. During her presentation she shared strategies that enable teams to be happy and successful for entire project life cycles. She talked about radical transparency, diversity, self-organization, autonomy, better feedback, culture growth and how these can help you build better products.

“I believe that happy teams make great products, which is why i think this topic is particularly relevant. I think it’s very important for you to be mindful about the process you are using and treat your process as a product”

Julio Terra: Community Manager and Technologist, Kickstarter
Julio’s talk gave a great overview of Kickstarter and the way it works. He then went on to talk about how startups are using Kickstarter to build communities and embrace transparency while bringing products to life. He gave some great insights on how to build a good campaign and the considerations around it.

“Bringing a project to life where you involve the users in the creative process means really amazing opportunities are brought to life, but also amazing challenges that you need to learn to deal with”

The event brought together CIID’s close network and many other creative folks from NYC. Around 80 people attended and we saw a good mix of old and new faces. There were representatives from Little Bits, Spotify, The Met, Bloomberg, J&J, prospective CIID students, CIID alumni and a whole host of NYC based agencies and consulting firms.

The event was hosted at Rise New York a Barclays sponsored initiative. Rise is a collaborative co-working community shaping the future of commerce and fintech by supporting startups and entrepreneurs. Rise New York also houses a world-class event space (when the talks were held) and is home to the first U.S. cohort of the Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars.

Stay tuned for the video!