Yes, I had a lot of fun, met some great people, got to answer a lot of questions and became a mentor to lad wanting to move into product management. All very satisfying for me but doesn't do much to further the art and discipline of product marketing in the community.
There were two things that struck me about Product Camp: the dearth of pure product marketing sessions and a lack of contributions/challenges from the audiences (in the most of sessions I attended).
There was good info in all the sessions I attended but they were all positioned for PM with the afterthought: "Most of this applies to PMM, too." Gee, thanks. What does and what doesn't? We're charged with driving sales through vision, creative thinking and always pushing, not walking in the shadow of PM like some 19th century footman. "I brushed your tweed suit for you sir. Shall I fetch the cigars now?" Why weren't more PMM sessions proposed nor voted on?
Maybe I'm just grumpy this afternoon but I was expecting each session to have lively conversations with challenging statements and crunchy war stories - not college lectures. Not surprisingly, Larry McKeogh's session on interviewing had a lot of questions and good suggestions for both sides of the equation. Barbara Nelson is a great presenter with a great topic but audience contribution was sparse despite her efforts. The others I attended bordered on moribund. For my money, if we all take the speaker's position as gospel, if we don't expand the topic with our own contributions on how we did something differently, if we don't challenge a position as <insert invective of choice> we'll all end up doing the exact same thing - resulting in an entire industry of leading providers of next generation technology. How sad is that?
Here's what you do at the next Product Camp you attend:
- Bring war stories - share them in session
- Call BS when you see it - explain yourself
- Ask at least 3 questions per session - consider yourself a failure if you don't
Next up: What do XT-2000, VIO-4000 and DRX-9000 have in common?