Category: ProductCamp

PcampSF is tomorrow!

 

As part of the wave of Pcamps bringing product managers together everywhere, ProductCamp San Francisco is tomorrow, October 22, 2011.

They’re all full unfortunately, but I’ll be there. Say hi if you’re there or follow @PcampSF or @onpm on Twitter for updates and items from PcampSF.

Ethan

P.S. Check out the Events page for other upcoming Camps in Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Minnesota & Nashville

Curious people can change the world: +1 for ProductCamp Austin

by Prabhakar Gopalan

Tweet this: @PGopalan: Curious people can change the world: +1 for ProductCamp Austin http://wp.me/pXBON-2OM  #pcatx #pcamp #prodmgmt

pennybacker bridge austinThis past Saturday, I was at ProductCamp Austin – a biannual un-conference for product leaders.  What a treat it was!  Apart from the privilege of presenting a session myself, I had the opportunity to learn quite a bit attending sessions as much as I could, have fun in an interestingly themed Game room track and chat with a number of like minded community members.

Earlier this year I wrote about why ProductCamps are the future of how conferences will turn into.  This time I’m going to focus on the people that attend and how they are different from everyone else in the product management community.

ProductCamp goers are curious people.   People get up bright and early on a Saturday morning, come to vote for their fellow peers’ sessions and stay all day learning and networking.  If you thought what’s the big deal in that – after all it is just a bunch of sessions by normal people (no celeb status) and you could get all that information in books and slideshare presentations anyway, you are mistaken.  It is about identifying yourself with a community of forward thinking people who want to test their hypothesis, listen to fresh ideas and are actually, curious.  Yes, curious.

Curiosity comes to all of us when we are born.  We are curious about how the food we eat tastes, the air we breath smells and much more.  But over time, as we ‘grow’ up, some nurture it, others suppress it or throw it outright.  Those that are not curious get into routines because routines are comfortable ways.  Until something disruptive happens.   And it is then, they do not have any ability whatsoever to absorb or adapt.  They scramble for the product roadmap, the plan and swot analysis and other routine strategies.  Alas, nothing works.  Not so with curious people.  Because they are curious, they’ll always be ready for changes.  They’ll embrace it, live it and try new things, continuously.

Curious people don’t need marketing, don’t need gimmicks, don’t need a sales pitch.  They are self organizing.  If you go and ask a ‘consultant’ on how to build a community, he’d give you a best practices document with 100 tricks and charge you an arm and a leg.  He’d also tell you to ‘price’ the ‘product’ and ‘promote’ it in multiple ways and make sure it’s ‘placement’ is appropriate channels.  All that fails when you have something like ProductCamp.  Because it is unconventional.  It is not the norm to see 300+ product leaders show up for a conference entirely on their own account to stretch their imagination.  But curious people make it happen at ProductCamp.  The not so curious people may have excuses – the dog ate their calendar or they were too busy with something else.  That will not stop where the world is headed.  For the curious people will carry the ideas forward.

Hats off to the founders, organizers, volunteers, attendees and sponsors at ProductCamp Austin!

- Prabhakar Gopalan


Tweet this: @PGopalan: Curious people can change the world: +1 for ProductCamp Austinhttp://wp.me/pXBON-2OM  #pcatx #pcamp #prodmgmt

 

Less than 1 Week until ProductCamp Toronto! – July 23, 2011


The next ProductCamp Toronto is less than 1 week away.  Join everyone on Saturday July 23th at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, in downtown Toronto.

For those of you in the Toronto area, plan on attending. This will be the 4th ProductCamp here in the city.

For those of you unfamiliar with ProductCamp, it’s a collaborative, user-organized, unconference focused on education, networking and open discussion around product management, product marketing and related topics.

There is no cost to attend ProductCamp Toronto, but you need to register.

REGISTER:  here.

For more details, check out the ProductCamp Toronto site: http://productcamptoronto.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Announcing ProductCamp Toronto 2011 – July 23


The next ProductCamp Toronto is set for Saturday July 23th at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, in downtown Toronto.

For those of you in the Toronto area, plan on attending. This will be the 4th ProductCamp here in the city.

For those of you unfamiliar with ProductCamp, it’s a collaborative, user-organized, unconference focused on education, networking and open discussion around product management, product marketing and related topics.

There is no cost to attend ProductCamp Toronto, but you need to register.

You can register here.

For more details, check out the ProductCamp Toronto site: http://productcamptoronto.wordpress.com

Looking forward to seeing you there.

When Product Management Goes to Seed

It’s gardening season where I live. The vegetables are in place and early crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes have been harvested and enjoyed. Earlier this week, I was walking through the garden and saw radishes going to seed.

According to Using English.com, going to seed “implies a decline in quality or appearance.” From a gardening perspective, going to seed implies a regeneration process. One where a plant or flower produces seed to replicate itself.

In the world of product management and product marketing, I often see both sides. This post explores if you’re regenerating or if you’ve gone to seed.

Why Does Product Management Go to Seed?
Whether you’ve always wanted to work with products and influence their direction or the role was delegated (thrust) upon you out of necessity, desire is a motivating factor. It’s a motivating factor in any role, but I believe especially in product management and product marketing.

I was recently talking to a peer. When I asked if a person we both knew and previously worked with was still in product management, he responded, “Yes. He’s still taking up office space and collecting a paycheck.” Knowing this person, I decoded the response as this person had gone to seed and “declined in performance.” How does this happen to smart, skilled and well-meaning product professionals? I recall this person when they were actively engaged in market sensing, guiding a product roadmap, the champion for new products and development had great confidence in them.

Jeff Lash, one of the smart guys in product management shared, “If you want to be a good product manager, you need to work at it. Very few people are just naturally good at product management. Most things in life require skills, knowledge, experience, and hard work to succeed.”

I agree with Jeff and would add, if you need skills, knowledge and experience as a product professional, you can’t wait for management, your company or someone to plan and act on this for you. The responsibility is yours. I’m not diminishing the responsibility of your leadership nor organization, I’m saying you should take charge.

Over the years, I’ve led, built and enabled product management and product marketing. For those product professionals who were “regenerating and growing,” they asked, pushed and justified what they required. I worked one-on-one with them and fought for funding to obtain the education and skills required.

Growing Where You Are
The great thing about growing season, is there’s new varieties, it’s continuous and there’s always something new. Product Management and Product Marketing should be the same, and you need to understand not only the roles around you, but the attributes, strengths and capabilities of the varieties your planted near. What can you do to grow where you are? I’ve found the following are great ways to grow and cross-pollinate:

  • Assess what you Plant – The product management and product marketing varieties planted around you are all growing in different stages. Align yourself with those who offer something you don’t have.
  • Plant a new variety – Before you do the same things you’ve been doing, volunteer for an assignment in areas where you may not excel. Find a person (internally or externally) who is familiar with the activity and ask them to teach you all they know. Then get going. It will be interesting to see what blossoms.
  • Prepare the Soil – The amount of product management and product marketing content found in blogs, and discussions on Twitter and LinkedIn will prepare you for new growth and solid roots.
  • Fertilize the Soil – While there’s a lot of bovine by-product spread by some product professionals, we all need additional nutrients to assist in growth. Have you joined or created a local product management and/or product marketing group? Have you shared experiences and “spread” yourself around?
  • Bring on the Sunshine – If you haven’t attended a Product Camp, you have to. It’s like sunshine to new and growing plants. As an idea, forgo a few stops at your local coffee shop, place an empty jar on your desk with a label that says, Product Camp Fund. Ask your management team and peers to contribute. Promise you’ll share some sunshine when you return.
  • Thinning and Weeding – Thinning plants as they grow yields more. Removing weeds that distract or limit growth increase production. Do you weed and thin your garden regularly? Do you look for insignificant tasks to replace with actions or best practices that help you grow where you are planted? If not, look for ways to eliminate habits that limit your success. If you have great leadership in place, ask for their assistance in validating what you are thinning and weeding. If you don’t have a person you can use, ask someone in the product management community. We’re always there to help.

The Warning Signs of Seediness

When I looked closely at the the radishes that had gone to seed in my garden, I saw:

  • Undesirable and bitter vegetables.
  • Plants tipping over because their tops (heads) were too big.
  • Roots that were thin and grasping for nourishment.
  • Stragglers taking all the nourishment they could and not giving any fruit in return.
  • Standing alone in a row and ready to be plucked out and thrown into the compost.

Hopefully, none of us find ourselves going to seed, but regenerating and populating great product management and product marketing practices. Please comment and share your ideas on how you grow where you are planted and what you’ve done to prevent the seedy side.

If you like the post, please share it on Twitter and LinkedIn: When Product Management Goes to Seed – a new post by @jim_holland http://wp.me/pXBON-2Cu #prodmgmt #prodmktg