Room 4 

10:20 - 11:20 


Talk (60 min)

What the Soviet Space Program Taught Me About Digital Product Development

The space race between the USA and USSR was one of the great dramatic stories of the 20th century. Our very industry was born as Washington and Moscow relentlessly competed to master the stars.

Work skills

For space nuts like me, this fascinating time is utterly compelling. It’s also highly instructive for digital product developers. After all, engineers drove the innovation that pushed us beyond earth. The lessons they learned and processes they created can help us today as we make software, apps, and advanced functionality online.

Of course, the Soviet side of the story tends to be less understood. And that’s exactly what we’ll explore. It’s unbelievable stuff, and a cautionary tale for development teams.

- How differing philosophies of development lead to different processes and results.
- What Soviet imperatives parallel modern development approaches.
- Why the USSR led the space race early, but ultimately failed to reach the moon first.
- What we can learn, adapt, and avoid today from the 20th century Soviet model.

Dean Schuster

Dean Schuster has been envisioning and creating human-centered digital products since the advent of the commercial web. He is founder and owner of the user experience strategy firm truematter, leading the team to help national and international organizations change the way they do business online. He travels all over the world to speak and teach, mentoring professionals and challenging teams to a higher standard for digital experiences.

Dean is also an avid ultra-marathoner and trail racer, often found in out-of-the-way places, including Antarctica.