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September 2017

Why I’m Excited for the Industry Product Conference in Cleveland

By Speaking No Comments

I’m heading to Cleveland, Ohio, to give a workshop and a keynote talk at the Industry Product Conference. This will be my first time participating in this conference, and I’m really looking forward to it! In case you aren’t familiar with the Industry conference, I wanted to share why I’m excited to participate.

I really like the format of the conference. The main conference is two days long (Thursday and Friday), so it’s going to be chock full of great PM advice. It’s a single-track conference, with each morning and afternoon focused on one of four topics: ideation, design, development, and growth. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also an optional workshop day on Wednesday. There are three half-day workshops to choose from and they start at 1 pm, which gives you plenty of time to settle in after your travels. Industry limits the workshop size to 40 people to ensure they are highly engaging and interactive.

There’s also plenty of time baked into the schedule to meet and compare notes with your fellow product people (aka “PM Therapy”). There’s an early registration party Wednesday night for workshop attendees and anyone else who’s in town the night before. After the conference on Thursday, there’s a happy hour at the conference venue followed by a party at the Hofbräuhaus. Party on, Wayne!

Industry is a fast-growing product conference now in its third year. In my experience I’ve found that, just like most Microsoft products, it usually takes a conference until Version 3 to hit its stride. They expect over 600 attendees at this year’s conference. Industry earned a place on my list of the Top 10 Product Conferences of 2017 (which I published earlier this year).

Many product conferences in the United States tend to be in the San Francisco Bay Area. So it’s nice to see a product conference in a new city: Cleveland, Ohio. I’m personally excited to head back to the Midwest because I studied at Northwestern University. I’ve heard great things about Cleveland and look forward to checking it out. The city has a rich musical history, including the Cleveland Public Auditorium where the conference will be held. It will be pretty cool to give a keynote speech from the same stage that the Beatles played on back in 1964. The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, and many more talented musicians played there. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Industry is organized by Product Collective, and I really like what they are doing. They have a deep understanding of and passion for product management. Product Collective has created an impressive collection of resources for product people. In addition to their annual Industry conference, they:

  • Write their Product Brief blog articles and weekly curated email newsletter
  • Run a Slack channel with over 3,000 product people
  • Host regular Product Lunch webinars
  • Publish their Build Launch Scale podcast. I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Mike Belsito for their first episode.

Last but not least, I am grateful to the organizing team. Believe it or not, Product Collective and Industry are run by a small but talented team of just three people: Mike Belsito, Paul McAvinchey, and Rebecca Feliciano. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to organize a conference for 600 people. So be sure to give them a well-earned “thank you” if you run into them at Industry.

If this all sounds amazing and you have some serious FOMO right now: don’t worry, there are still a few tickets left if you act fast.

For those about to rock at Industry: we salute you! 🙂 Look forward to seeing you there!

Why I’m Excited for Mind The Product London

By Speaking No Comments

I’m excited to be heading to London for Mind The Product this week. I’ll be giving an all-day workshop on How to Achieve Product-Market Fit, where I’ll be sharing advice from my book The Lean Product Playbook.

This will be my second time participating in Mind The Product (or MTP for short) London, which is typically held in September. I’ve also participated in MTP San Francisco the last two years, which has been held in May or June.

For those of you who have also attended the MTP conference before, you know how great it is. For those of you who haven’t yet, well, this post is for you. I wanted to share why I’m excited to be a part of the MTP conference again.

MTP is the largest product conference in the world with a distinguished history. Many conferences come and go, but MTP has been going strong since starting in London in 2012 with 600 attendees. Since then, the conference has grown to 1,400 people strong. As a result, they’ve moved to increasingly larger venues. MTP San Francisco has been held in Davies Symphony Hall and MTP London has been held at the Barbican Centre. Both are wonderful venues with great seating and an impressive stage setup.

I really like the format of the MTP conference program. The conference spans two days. Day 1 consists of several all-day workshops, where you can really learn a topic in-depth. Each workshop is capped at 30 or 40 attendees to ensure an intimate setting. I’ve really enjoyed giving workshops at MTP: my attendees are serious about learning and are really engaged. I like being able to do a deep dive on how to product-market fit and bringing the concepts to life with lots of interactive class discussion and group exercises. Day 2 is a single track of around 8 or 9 speakers. Many conferences offer multiple tracks concurrently, but the MTP team places a lot of value on everyone sharing the same experience so they can discuss and compare notes about the talks later. The talks are usually between 25 and 35 minutes long, which is a good length: short enough to keep you engaged but long enough to establish context and teach you something new.

MTP has hosted many great speakers. There are too many to list, but some of my favorite speakers who I’ve seen speak at MTP are Marty Cagan, Ken Norton, Josh Elman, and Laura Klein, to name a few. This week, I’m really excited to hear my friend Teresa Torres’ talk. The speakers always know their stuff and the production value of the talks is top notch. Martin thoughtfully curates the speakers and topics for each conference to create a well-balanced program. There’s always a mix of product management and design speakers, and often a “wildcard” speaker from a different discipline. I always leave the conference learning something new, gaining a new perspective, and feeling inspired.

There is also plenty of time baked into the schedule to socialize and compare notes with your fellow product people (all 1,400 of them!). On Day 1, after the workshops there is a happy hour that is a lot of fun and several other sponsor events. On Day 2, breaks and lunchtime give you time to chat with folks in between talks. And that night they throw a great afterparty, which is always fun. I really enjoy connecting with product people from around the world at MTP, hearing their stories, comparing notes, and engaging in the “PM Therapy” that inevitably takes place whenever PMs get together 🙂

Last but certainly not least, what I also enjoy about the MTP conference are the organizers. This small team of talented people are super passionate about product management. They are really good at designing, planning, and executing a great product conference. It takes an amazing amount of commitment, work, and attention to detail to pull off a great conference, especially at this scale. So if you bump into Martin, James, Janna, Simon, Analisa, Emily, Marc, or Chris at the conference, please be sure to tell them what you think about the conference (and give them a well-earned pat on the back).

If you’re at MTP London this week, I look forward to seeing you there. If not, MTP San Francisco will be taking place again July 16-17, 2018. Hopefully I’ve convinced you why you should check it out. Tickets always sell out quickly, so when they go on sale, don’t miss your chance.

Hope to see you at an MTP conference soon!