For my inaugural article
I wanted to share some perspective on one of the most valuable “unconferences” one can attend related to product management/marketing and entrepreneurship. Having attended twice before to see what the event was about, I had decided to submit a presentation proposal this go around entitled “5 Product Management Lessons from the World’s Largest Private Tech Company”.
What is an unconference?
For those of you unfamiliar with “unconferences”, and ProductCamp in particular, the idea is that attendees have the opportunity to vote, on the day of the conference, on sessions they want to hear about most. These sessions are submitted in advance by anyone wishing to present at the conference. The morning of, while all attendees are gathered, those that submitted a proposal take the stage to offer a 30-second pitch to the audience on what their topic is about and why the audience should vote for their session.
Once all the pitches are given, the every attendee submits a set number votes for sessions they would like to see. Sessions are then determined based on those votes, and scheduled throughout the day.
I had the fortune of being selected to present, and even more fortunate to have such an engaging audience willing to share their experiences as it related to some of the lessons I highlighted during my presentation on product management.
As for the rest of the conference, the presenters and topics are diverse. Within the context of product management, discussions ranged from the importance of networking and relationship building, to strategies on developing a brand or improving UX. Attendees, by the same token, come from equally diverse backgrounds and industries. Some looking to begin a career in product management, while others look to improve their own products using strategies learned at the conference. Most importantly, the networking at the event is probably one of the most valuable components of the conference. It is precisely because of the diversity in backgrounds and industries that anyone attending stands to gain plenty of insight from the experience of others. As an example, most everyone is involved in the tech field, and while my background is in hardware, I enjoy the opportunity to meet folks involved with software and learn about product management and marketing from that standpoint.
What’s in it for business owners?
For those of you running your own company with your own products and/or services, this conference can be incredibly valuable as you learn to think about your business strategy from start to finish. To outline a basic process of a product/service launch, it may help to think of it a bit linearly like this:
- Identify need in the market that a product or service can address
- Gather market data (population surveys, for example) to help craft product or service features
- Develop proof of concept with small-scale launch
- Refine product/service
- Create a go-to-market strategy
- Track performance and continue to refine product/service and marketing efforts
At ProductCamp, you’ll often find sessions that discuss one or more of these topics. And for that reason, as a business owner with products or services, there’s no reason not to attend!
With that said, if you have an interest in ProductCamp, you can visit their website at: http://www.productcamp.org/
For the local Austin chapter of this event, you can find them here: http://productcampaustin.org/