ProductCamps have been around several years now, and plenty of words have been written about the experience from all sorts of perspectives. ProductCamp Austin founder Paul Young wrote a frequently-referenced description of ProductCamp, so I won’t re-invent the wheel here.
What I do want to touch on is the value ProductCamp provides to those attending and participating (preferably everyone there is both!). We just held ProductCamp Atlanta 4 yesterday, and one tweet from presenter Jason Moss really summed everything up:
Just leaving Product Camp. This was one of the most amazing and educational days in my career. THANK YOU ALL! #pcampatl
This is why people volunteer to conduct ProductCamps, present content, and spend a gorgeous Saturday afternoon inside a conference center sharing and learning about product management and marketing topics. Product Managers usually only work with a small team of people that are like them — and work with a business-at-large that thinks quite differently (from Paul Young’s “X-facotr” presentation–see slide 12). A day devoted to topics related to our line of work, with our peers, is hard to come by.
The fact that ProductCamp occurs on weekends demands a degree of self-selection — product managers who aren’t slightly maniacal about their careers and doing their job to the absolute maximum of their capability aren’t going to spend a Saturday in a conference center. As a result, the caliber of people you find at a ProductCamp exceeds that of many other conferences — these aren’t people who are guilted into showing up because their company enrolled them. These are people who made a conscious decision to spend the day advancing their skills and knowledge, and meeting people like them.
In the opening session, Jason Brett asked how many in the audience were at their first ProductCamp — and on this particular day, about 50% of the audience stood up. So i was interested to see what these people thought of ProductCamp. So here are a few other comments that validate the time and effort:
From Desiree Peeples: ”Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of such an amazing event… looking forward to next year!!!”
Also from Desiree: “#pcampatl ROCKED this year!!. If you weren’t there–you missed out!”
From Kellie Jones: “Great day. Awesome people. Good sessions. Sublime donuts and RiRa. #pcampatl”
How does ProductCamp get this kind of reaction? Aside from the self-selection mentioned earlier, people attending ProductCamp vote on session topics — so the democratic process encourages topics that the vast majority of people want to see. This time there were 32 proposals for only 16 slots — no room for sessions people were only marginally interested in.
So to sum up, if you haven’t paid much attention to ProductCamp Atlanta in the past, but you want to see what the fuss is about, check out pcampatl.com!