Sneak preview for P-Camp Austin 2010

I'm still finishing up the actual presentations that I've proposed for the Product Camp in Austin this Saturday. You can go to the official site for more details about the presentations, but in the meantime, here's a sneak preview of all three. Topics include:

  • From Product Management To Social Product Management. Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love social media as a way to make smarter product decisions.
  • The Strategic Role of PM. Yes, really, PMs are increasingly playing a strategic role in tech companies. Why is this change happening, and what does it mean for you?
  • The Old Launch Codes Won't Work. A tell-all expose about why tech companies are generally unsatisfied with the results of launches, and how some major trends in the industry are providing ways to fix that problem. 

Since this is your conference, if you like these topics, please vote for them.

Please yell at me for doing my job badly

Last Saturday, at the Silicon Valley Product Camp, I was part of a panel on PM metrics. Any topic that's at the same time important and unsettled keeps you thinking long after the panel, so not surprisingly, almost a week later, I'm still chewing on it. Here's an observation I'll make today, after further pondering:

You know when you're doing well as a PM when someone yells at you for getting a persona, user story, use case, or task analysis wrong.

Understanding the world from the standpoint of the individual buyer or user is one of the primary responsibility of PM. According to some schools of thought, it's the core responsibility, especially since no one else in a technology company is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and distributing these deep customer insights. (There are other core responsibilities, too, related to the company's business and the technology itself.)

That information may look academic, but it should be immediately pertinent in very important ways. Understanding the way in which people in a variety of roles assess, purchase, and adopt technology is critical for making smart decisions about everything from product design to the product roadmap, from crafting messaging to choosing marketing channels. Unless you live in a Soviet-style command economy, in which manufacturing 3,000 left shoes is a problem for the consumer, not the producer, customer insights need to inform both strategic and tactical decisions.

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If you don't go to P-Camp Silicon Valley 2010, slap yourself

Rich Mironov, organizer for the Silicon Valley Product Camp 2010, says that the pre-registration is closed at 960 people. Zounds!

The event is still open for any and all product managers and product marketers to attend. In fact, because 960 people have already registered, you definitely should attend. Last year's P-Camp was jam-packed with useful information, and it provided an unparalleled opportunity for PMs to compare notes. Attendance last year was a fraction of this year's pre-registration number, and the value of the P-Camp only increases with numbers.

Look forward to seeing you there. (And you'll have my gratitude if you vote for my afternoon presentation on the strategic role of PM.)

I see you, you see me...

In an earlier post, I argued that product managers in social media companies need to start sharpening their understanding of privacy and security issues. Here's another reason why:

Until now, geolocation has been one of those quaint, semi-useful buzzwords: '... now with geolocation!!!' Twitter, Buzz and Foursquare -- the main exponents of exposing your location -- might not be small, but they pale in comparison to Facebook. With the announcement that Facebook will be enabling geolocation next month, Pandora's Box has been torn open; whether you like it or not, geolocation is about to become a huge part of your life.

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Forrester open house for PMs

Late last year, we kicked off a series of open house discussions at the Forrester office in Foster City, CA. We're ready to resume that series, so here's the schedule of topics for the next few months:

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