ProductCampAustin Blows This Bear Away

Can I just say that ProductCampAustinSummer2009 rocked?! Austin hosted its third ProductCamp last Saturday (August 15, 2009), and what an amazing event it was!

ProductCamp is a free unconference on Marketing and Product Management, run entirely by volunteers. Think 450+ folks jazzed about sacrificing a full Saturday to share ideas on how to best create, market, and launch products. Their website says it best: "ProductCamp is a bunch of smart, passionate people coming together to discuss, debate, and collaborate on the issues they face every day."

More than 50 people submitted session ideas, and attendees vote to determine which sessions get presented in the 30+ time slots (5 hours of sessions with about 7 concurrent sessions each). Biggest issue of the day: choosing which of multiple intriguing presentations to attend each hour. Generous sponsors ensured drinks, free lunch, and even conference goodies. Lunch even contained two big cookies.

If you want to get a feel for what a ProductCamp is like, Paul Young, the organizer,
wrote a detailed narrative of the Austin’s last ProductCamp (winter 2009) on
his blog (or wait a bit - he'll likely post one about this summer's ProductCamp too).

My favorite presentation, in which Pragmatic Marketing’s Dave Daniels offered “10 Ways to Identify an Impending Product Launch Disaster,” also won Best Presenter. Note to self: delivering 10 solid take-aways draws a large and appreciative crowd! Oh wait, we already do that in our 11 Best Practices for Peer Code Review white paper. But we could do it more. Anyone got requests for 11 knowledge nuggets they'd like to see from us? Leave a comment!

Overall thoughts: great networking, good sessions, extremely well-organized, positive experience. While Product Camp is targeted for marketers and product managers, I strongly recommend it for developers to garner free exposure to what’s involved in planning, creating, managing and selling products worldwide. The fact that volunteers pulled something of this caliber together on a shoestring budget just blows me away.

I can’t wait for the next one, tentatively planned for Winter 2010.

Other details:
-   Twitter stream: #PCA09
-   Expect to find the presentations on the ProductCamp Facebook page in the next week or two.






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