The conference has finished couple of hours ago and I’m at the after party thinking about what I’ve seen during the day and why I have the feeling that I should be joining the conference next year again.
So I figured out that it might be useful to share my thoughts with those who didn’t have a chance to get to this conference so far. Especially as they extend it to San Francisco.
First what is it? It is arguably the biggest conference focused on product management in this part of the world (Europe). This year, there were 1,200 people at the conference. About 300 more compared to the last year. During the two days you get a chance to attend workshops and watch the general sessions (9 sessions). I can not speak about the workshops as I didn’t attend any.
I liked the conference. A lot. But then again liking a conference is like being a fan of a football club or loving salmon clothes: it’s something that it is not that easy to argument at least not in a scientific way.
Before moving forward and share my reasons for why you should get to this conference let me clear up one more thing: there are people who still think that they can learn tons of things at a conference. And if a conference doesn’t fulfil on this promise then it must be a shitty conference. Well, the truth is that unless you are a newbie then there are slim chances to find lots and lots of new things at a conference about your domain knowledge. In my previous life I was a technical evangelist and I’ve seen hundreds of conferences – so trust me that this is not happening.
After this rather lengthy introduction (I apologise if you’ve already knew all of this) let me give you some reasons to attend it.
If you are a product manager then you should definitely come. Maybe you won’t learn breaking new things but you will revisit some of the things you know that you should be doing or on the contrary, avoiding. And because of the insane rhythm we all work to deliver the next release we kind of “forget” about these things.
Furthermore, joining 1,000+ fellow product managers, chatting with some during the breaks or at the parties, watching the sessions has a therapeutical value: you realise once more that you are not alone. You are with your tribe and they dig in what it means to doing product management.
I was with my team and most of us were one day after the biggest release of 2016. So it was kind of a cathartic experience. Let it out, reset, and get ready for the next release. I guess that what I’m trying to say is that if you can attend the conference with your fellow product managers (from your company) then just do it. It might help you more than you think.
If you are not a product manager but for some reasons you are interested in this topic, then for all means do join the conference. You can see people on stage who master the topic and you can talk with product managers during the breaks and find more about whatever you are interested.
Now let’s talk about how good the sessions were. It doesn’t matter how good the speakers are when you see 9 speakers/sessions in a row you are going to end up with some sessions you didn’t like. For me out of 9 there were only 2 sessions that I didn’t like and another one that was close to make this list too. All in all it was a pretty strong lineup.
Now let me get back and revisit the main reason you should attend a conference (at least in our industry): it is all about networking, sharing stories with your peers, and get inspired by those who masters the skills. Quite simple, isn’t it? But then again I’ve never said there is more complex. See you next year in London!