Category Archives: technology marketing

Why Product Camps Are Important

I had the pleasure of attending Product Camp Atlanta. With over 300 hundred registered, there was a “buzz” in the air and the organizing committee and volunteers did a fantastic job. The sessions provided product management and marketing professionals with a boost of insight, knowledge and we had a good time learning from each other. 

Recently, through a survey, I asked Product Management’s opinion about where we should go. 

One question I asked was, “Where do you go to expand your product management knowledge?” Offering multiple choices, almost 75% of respondents said “product management associations, including product camps.” It’s interesting to note that 94% value the 100 product management and product marketing bloggers and those who contribute via Twitter, LinkedIn groups, etc. (click on the image below) 

I wasn’t surprised at the response and recognize after attending product camps several times, there are several reason while I’ll continue to attend, support and contribute.

  •  Product camps are a place to relax and engage – Let’s face it. If you show up for something on a weekend day, it better be engaging and provide an atmosphere that complements your role. The “unconference” style venue provides this and all the events I’ve attended, have consistent themes and relevant topics.

  • A Sandbox Where Eveyone Plays – Whether you’ve been in product management or product marketing for two weeks or ten years, each of us has something to offer. The active learning environment of product camps provide avenues for open comments, questions, debates and exchanges of experiences without any pretences.
  • Great way to build team knowledge – Imagine finding a place where your team can gather, have some fun, relax from the office grind and engage in topics relevant to the team.

What do you gain from spending several hours on a weekend day with hundreds of product management peers? 

While sitting in a session conducted by Karen Williams, Eric Holtzclaw and Tumara Jackson on Doing Personas Right, Tumara commented, “personas should play an integral role in roadmap planning.” This wasn’t a new concept to me, but one I hadn’t thought about. It was presented with real experience and she conveyed its value in 5 minutes. 

As you consider participating, volunteering, sponsoring, speaking or bringing your support and knowledge forward, I’d welcome you to join the majority and attend a Product Camp soon. There are several great links to keep you informed of upcoming events. 

Check out: 

Stewart Rogers Blog – the Strategic Product Manager 

Pragmatic Marketing



While Cruising at 70 mph…

Last week, I received a series Twitter post (aka tweets) from Brian Schnack (@theschnack – his Twitter ID) who shared the following, “Watching @Netflix on iPad over a hotspot on DROID X in back of car at 70mph”

I was sitting in my office eating M&M’s and almost sprayed the room with candy shell fragments laughing at the picture and thinking about the situation.

The next few minutes, Brian and I engaged in rapid fire shots in 140 characters while he was cruising at 70 mph and I was uber-connected discussing Life and Technology. I walked away thinking about the Fast & Furious exchange and realized there’s some leadership tidbits, so here goes.

Lifeit’s generational and if you’re not connected you’re not out of date, you’re just not informed. Here’s an example. Over the weekend, my oldest son called to update my wife on his purchase of his first home. As soon as the call was over, my wife said to my teenage son, “your brother’s buying a house.” My son said; “Yeah, I know. I read about it on Facebook a few days ago. That’s old news. I saw the pictures and it looks pretty cool! It has a pool!” Little did she know that I knew too.

Like it or not, we all communicate differently. But it’s more generational than you think. Leaders need to consider who works on the team, their communications style, habits and what is important to communicate. It’s a leaders role to create cadence and communications is no different. Have you discussed this topic with your team?

Technology – If the majority of the product management team or company is using IM, texting and collaborating online, and you’re expecting email and voice mail from them, you have an issue. Brian shared, “I’ve trained folks that I ignore vm (voice mail) and live by SMS, DM (um that’s Direct Messages for the non-Twitter crowd), SHORT email…or (!) face to face!

As a leader, do you know what tools and technologies are best for product management collaboration? Personally, I know if I want my college age son to connect with me, I don’t call and leave him a voice mail or send an email. Instead I send an SMS, “Call me, I pay your tuition – Dad.

I can set a stop watch by his return SMS or call. My wife doesn’t understand how I get such as quick response. However, I know what technology he’s adopted, I know the language he speaks (3000+ text a month) and the credit hours he carries each semester. I also pay his tuition. We understand each others needs.

So, what’s the net?. If you want to improve communications and collaboration as a product management leader, you have to listen and stay connected with what your team is using and doing.

If you’re resisting change, or want your team to adopt methods and technologies you use, it may be a quiet riot, so think again. You need to get on board, buckle up, hold on and sign in with your team.

And Brian, where ever you pick up this post, thanks again.