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ProductCamp Austin Nuggets of Wisdom

Last weekend I attended ProductCamp Austin. ProductCamp is "a collaborative, user organized unconference, focused on Product Marketing and Management topics". Here are the top nuggets of wisdom that I heard there:

  • Oftentimes we focus too much on a feature. Instead, focus on the problem you're trying to solve. This will encourage you to think of other (potentially better) solutions.
  • Iteration demos are a great opportunity to bring in select customers. It is important that they have an interest in the area being demoed and a good attitude towards improving things.
  • Toyota's model of chief engineer puts one person in control. Too often we distribute leadership to the point that no one owns things.
  • The chief is responsible for the voice of the customer, goals, architecture, etc. They're able to do the job of any of those on the team (broad skillset). They have a feel for the customer. They're visionary, but practical. An exceptional engineer, teacher and communicator who is willing to get his hands dirty.
  • Flow is what makes agile go; staccato causes chaos.
  • Beware of this pattern: self organization -> self management -> self determination -> self entitlement -> unmanageability. Management (if done right) adds value.
  • More ventures fail from loneliness than due to financial issues. Note: not sure if this is true, but you get the point. You need someone to help build up your confidence / lift you up in the times when you question yourself.
  • In the last decade, more than 50% of jobs created have come from companies of less than 10 people.
  • "Sales drained my karma. I found product management to be a good middle ground between development and sales."
  • To be part of the community, you need to speak the language, contribute to projects / events, engage in conversations, and be relevant.

P.S. In addition to attending, I also presented. You can find the presentation here. The ProductCamp Austin folks videotaped the presentation and are planning to put it on YouTube in the coming weeks.

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