MIT Enterprise Forum Presents: Billion-Dollar UX

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MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC Presents:
Billion-Dollar UX: How UX Has Become Key to Massive Product Valuations & Exits

Beverly May20140930_191952, Executive Director of the UX Awards, was a Panel Moderator during the Billion-Dollar UX panel event on September 30th, 2014 hosted by Chadbourne & Parke LLP in NYC.  She was accompanied by panel speakers: Tomer Sharon, Sr. UX Research at Google; Karen Kranack, Global Executive Director of UX at Estee Lauder Online; Scott McDonald, CEO of Modus Associates; and Turi McKinley, Design Director at Frog Design.

Imagine you`re a 23 year-old Stanford undergrad. You`ve created a mobile app that has no revenue model and is free. 17 months after your first seed round of under $500K, your app is enjoying 400 million customer transactions a day with a team of under 30 employees, and you smugly decline a $3 billion acquisition offer from Facebook. Of course, this actually happened in 2013 with Snapchat.

What made Snapchat worth $3 billion? Was it unique technology under the hood? No; this is a standard mobile-only app with no particularly unique technology. Was it non-replicable, protected IP? No; anyone can create a mobile app to share photos with friends. Was it huge revenue? No; it`s free. Was it a growing market or targeting a lucrative audience? No; this is used by mainly teens and young adults. What separated Snapchat was simply its UX, with an experience that combined sharing photos with a selected audience with a simple time-limitation to enforce urgency and confidentiality.


Snapchat isn`t the only product in this club. There`s Uber at an estimated $16 billion valuation; AirBNB at $10 billion; Nest; Instagram; Tumblr; Tinder; Pinterest. A select few of these actually make real money; the rest are valued because their UX and product concept was so compelling that they were able to gain swift market share and show game-changing engagement quickly. In today`s technologically evolved and competitive market, great UX is an absolute essential for creating game-changing products and reaching eye-popping valuations.

How do you create great game-changing UX that can be worth billions? This event began with an overview of the basics of what UX is, why and how it`s essential. Attendees learned from the expertise of the International User Experience Awards, now in its fourth year, in a forum that discussed today`s game-changing companies that are prioritizing outstanding UX, focusing on the impact of UX on top technology company valuations.


Watch the Full Presentation:

Billion-Dollar UX How UX Has Become Key to Massive Product Valuations Exits


Watch quick clips in five minutes or less! 

Quick Clip: Beverly May answers: What is UX?  How did evolving technology present a need for designs based on user experience over the past few decades?


Quick Clip: Beverly May explains how incorporating UX testing into the product design process can eliminate friction from the customer experience.  


Quick Clip: Beverly May shares the value of UX and the strategy behind how it can tailor a product to meet customers’ needs in your target market.



Panel Moderator Biography
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Beverly May
Executive Director
UX Awards

Beverly has over 17 years’ experience in tech, product development and user experience. She is the Principal of Oxford Tech + UX, a boutique UX and product strategy agency in NY and San Francisco that focuses on data-driven UX approaches. She is also the acting President of NYC-CHI, NYC’s largest and longest-running UX group, and the founder and Executive Director of the User Experience Awards. She has held leadership technology, product and UX roles at digital agencies, incubators, startups, publishing and the UN as well as helped launch hundreds of new technology and web initiatives.

Beverly has an Executive MBA from the University of Oxford, a technology Master’s degree in systems design from New York University, and a BA in English from University of Toronto. She is a triple UK- Canadian- US citizen.

More info: @OxfordTech @UXAwards


Panel Speaker Biographies

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Turi McKinley
Current UX Awards Judge

Turi focuses on developing participatory design and creative collaboration processes and skills within Frog and for Frog clients. She partners closely with companies seeking to develop new skillsets and creative collaboration capabilities to identify strategies and projects where skills can be built through a learn-by-doing approach. Her clients include GE, Honeywell, ETS, Humana, Mars Drinks, UNICEF, Colgate and MTV.

Turi`s background is in interaction design, design research, and experience strategy. She holds an MFA in Design and Technology from the Parsons School of Design.

She has lived, researched, and worked extensively in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, Nepal, Korea, and China. Her academic background is in Anthropology with emphasis on symbolic anthropology and ethnography. Outside of the office, she blows glass and travels the world.


LinkedIn: Turi McKinley


Karen Kranack
Global Executive Director of User Experience at Estee Lauder Online

Karen is a versatile user experience executive specializing in creating digital ecosystems that balance business objectives, user goals and technical feasibility, beginning with mobile-first design. Currently, she is the Global Executive Director of User Experience for Estee Lauder Online and just oversaw the relaunch of in June.

In her previous role, Karen was the Director of User Experience at LBi. With her extensive experience on both the agency and client-sides, Karen brings a multifaceted perspective to all engagements. Karen has worked with such companies as Coca-Cola, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Google, Seamless, Lucasfilm, Second Life, Thumbplay, Barnes &, Verizon, General Mills, and Orbitz.

Karen’s background in English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh aids in telling a good user experience story, and her Master’s in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University helps her marry theory with practice.

Twitter: @kranbot


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Scott McDonald
Past UX Awards Winner

Scott is an Internet strategist and entrepreneur with over 16 years in media, technology and professional services.

Prior to founding Modus Associates, Scott was a strategist with the New York office of Scient Corporation and creative supervisor at Young & Rubicam`s Brand Dialogue interactive group. He has led high-profile strategic initiatives for Morgan Stanley & Co., SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Sony Electronics, Comcast Corporation, InterActiveCorp, Major League Baseball, MasterCard International, McNeil Consumer Healthcare, Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, United States Army and Citibank.

Scott is a member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association, the Digital Analytics Association and the Project Management Institute. He is co-chair of the Digital Analytics Association`s New York City chapter and serves on the board of advisors of two Internet start-ups.


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Tomer Sharon
Past UX Awards Judge

Tomer Sharon is a Senior User Experience Researcher at Google Search in New York City. He is the author of the book, “Lean User Research for Product Development” (Rosenfeld Media, 2015) and, “It`s Our Research” (2012). He is a startup mentor at Google`s Campus in Tel Aviv, Israel. Tomer founded and led the Israeli chapter of the User Experience Professionals’ Association. He holds a master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University in Waltham, MA.

He is @tsharon on Twitter.


Board Member Organizers

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Eddie Quiroz
IT Director
MIT Enterprise Forum of NYC

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Katja Bartholmess
Founder & CEO
Gimme Gorgeous LLC


Event Partner:

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NYC-CHI is the largest and oldest UX group in NYC, with 2000 members. We have sporadic events in the NYC area on UX, and an active mailing list that anyone can join. More info: and

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The UX Awards are the premier global Awards for exceptional digital experience. The 4th Annual event and talks will be in San Francisco, CA on September 11, 2014. For tickets and more info:


Event Host:

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Follow us on Twitter @OxfordTech & @UXAwards or on Facebook to learn more about upcoming UX Events.