To my local community-sponsored agriculture group,
We have had an on-again/off-again relationship during the past two years. I know that I’ve just been dipping my toe in the waters, hiding behind friends while we did our little dance. It just hasn’t been easy committing to Thursday afternoon visits, despite the romantic atmosphere of the gardens. I suppose I was afraid at first, of what you might ask of me.
I’ve gone to ProductCampNYC for the past fewyears, and it’s always a great experience! This year was the first year that I submitted some ideas for speaking, and I was fortunate that folks were interested in HTML5 (or at least, as much as I am!). But my bigger takeaway this year was from the keynote speaker, Brian Fitzgerald of Knewton, and his very keen comments on a “Product Culture.” In short, I think of the culture as the thing that gets everyone pointed in the right direction, while his point about focus gets everyone moving quickly in that direction. I’ve seen situations where Product folks resist investing the time to contribute to the culture, and that’s a real shame. If anything, I believe that Product folks are responsible for motivating customers to engage with the product, as well as motivating the team to build, iterate, and innovate.
So following my earlier recommendation, I jumped out of bed on a crisp Saturday morning and headed over to the Microsoft offices in midtown Manhattan for the 2010 version of ProductCampNYC! There were great conversations, a ton of expertise, and an awesome raffle to close it out.
To give you a sample of the topics, I heard about:
entrepreneurship and its role in fostering great product managers
how difficult it is to really figure out what consumers really want
the key skills and attributes that make your career as a product manager stand out, and
how consumers and their behaviors need to be contextualized to realize the full value of the insights about your product (physical good, service, solution)
It got me really thinking about my own career and aspirations to do product management work. If you get the chance to go to a ProductCamp, don’t hesitate to sign up and contribute!
ProductCampNYC was a fantastic event where I met likeminded individuals and enjoyed a day that’s dedicated to the amorphous blob of a role/function that is the Product Manager. I highly recommend going if it’s offered in the future!