Low sign up rates, customers slipping away, figuring out pricing, deciding on the right features. These are problems have something in common, more than that they’re typical in almost every startup.

They’re decisions on incomplete information, information about customers that designer techniques are well-equipped to collect.

If you ask a startup’s founder what the startup does, you’ll usually get an impressive-sounding one-liner. But when you ask customers, you get a different answer, usually a lot simpler, and a lot more focused what’s important to them. When you get a different answer from each, who’s correct?

This difference highlights an important problem in startups, and it goes beyond talking to customers. It goes to the heart of understanding them in different ways. I see a lot of startups working hard, measuring the right things, but still unable to react in a way that unlocks growth. There’s a skill gap to be plugged with product design.

This is just starting to change in Sofia.

Sofia’s seen the arrival from Stanford’s D-School, Elina Zheleva. She’s been teaching the D-School techniques, in courses for social enterprises, restaurants, and soon startups. The D-School is truly one of the world’s most sophisticated repositories of design knowledge, and Elina’s moved into some challenging design/engineering territory; she’s become a world’s expert in airport design. And she’s now here in Sofia.

We’re also seeing a lot of knowledge stirring from around Europe. Ian Collingwood is one of London’s original User Experience Design leaders, and a long-time Seedcamp mentor. I know him as one of the world’s first designers to use Lean well, and he’s the typical polite British man who’s always happy to answer questions.

Ian and Elina will be at Leancamp, among other local and international leaders, happy to answer questions and help out Sofia startups. It’s a non-profit event where the costs cover catering and the flights of our international guests. Leancamp isn’t a conference – you get to choose the topics and get answers to your challenges. If you’re working hard to grow your startup, and think product design might help improve your core metrics, join us!

LeanCamp Sofia will be on May 31 2014, get your tickets now: http://leancamp.co/sofia