ProductCamp was this past Saturday, June 14th, and I’m happy to call it a complete success. In almost every way, it exceeded our goals for participation (130+ signed up, 80-90 showed up), sessions (over 20 presentations and roundtables), sponsors (11 great sponsors), volunteers, and feedback. Nearly everyone I talked to was extremely positive about the event, and was looking forward to the next PCA. The consensus of the group was that they would like to do ProductCamp twice yearly, so we’re going to do just that.
If you missed ProductCamp, first I’m sorry because you really missed out on a great day of teaching, learning, and networking. Second, we’ve capture many of the presentations and session notes on the ProductCamp page for you to review. Here are some highlights:
- Charlie Ray won Best Overall Session for his presentation on “Navigating the Poltical Minefields of Product Management.” It was a really raucous and entertaining session, some choice quotes included:
- “Product Management is the most visible position in the company. People see you hanging out with the CEO and glad handing the VP of Marketing, and they want you to fail!”
- “You should be aware of which people are setting you up to fail so you can get them first. Always listen, and never give information, only take it.”
- “The hardest thing I do in my job is fake sincerity and pretend like I’m interested in going to your meetings.”
- John Milburn of Pragmatic Marketing and I hosted a standing-room only session on Startup Product Management, based on the webinar we did several weeks ago (based on the article we wrote for the Pragmatic Marketer). This fostered a really good discussion of the differences between PM in a BigCo and Startups. My favorite quote from the audience:
- “Startups in the Valley are hipster-based. Startups in Austin are geek-based.” The commenter was making a point in reaction to John saying that if you asked VC’s they would say that the startups in Austin are less focused and driven than in the Valley.
- Ben Phenix gave a User Experience session that people raved about on Twitter. Twitter was the surprise hit of the day to me – everyone was using it, and you could monitor the tweets as a backchannel discussion to gauge how the day was going. We set up a PCA twitter account that everyone could reply to.
- Tal Boyd of Seilevel and Paul Sizemore went around a took lots of pictures, which are now on Flikr.
- Graham Joyce of Pragmatic Marketing handed out their upcoming book entitled “Tuned In” (which I am almost done reading…topic of an upcoming post) during lunch to the person that had been in Product Management the longest (28 years, sorry Don), the shortest (1 week), and who traveled the furthest to get to PCA: Plano – we actually had several Dallas people make the trip, which was great.
I had lots of interest from PCA participants to help plan the next ProductCamp. If you’re interested in planning, please join the Google Group PCA-Planning. If you’re interested in participating in a future PCA and would like to be kept up-to-date, please join the general ProductCamp Austin Google Group.
My favorite memento was I had the PCA participants who lasted until the evening all sign one of the ProductCamp Austin sponsor boards that we had made. That will live in my office as a memory of a great day, and more great days to come.
Some final notes, in the post-PCA survey we sent out, we asked “Would you recommend ProductCamp to your peers?” 100% said yes (n=26). That says enough for me!
Thanks to everyone who made ProductCamp Austin a reality, and let’s get started on the next one!