Free Training For Product Managers: ProductCamp Austin

ProductCamp Austin Will Be Held In Austin, Texas, on Saturday August 15th, 2009, 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
ProductCamp Austin Will Be Held In Austin, Texas, on Saturday August 15th, 2009, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

If you are a long-time reader of this blog, you know that I had a chance to attend the free product manager training that was held in downtown New York City. Hopefully, you thought that this was a good idea; however, if missed it or weren’t able to attend, then I’ve got great news for you – you’ve got another opportunity!

The History Of Product Camp

If you’ve ever been to a technical conference or some sort of product management training in the past, this event is nothing like those events. To understand how this all got started, you need to go back to BarCamp.

BarCamp is an international network of user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants. The first one of these was held on August 19-21, 2005 – so you can see that its not really been around for all that long.

ProductCamp is a specific type of BarCamp – this type of conference focuses on Product Management topics.

How Does All Of This Work?

This might seem just a bit chaotic when I describe it to you, but folks who have attended these things swear that it works. If you’ve ever been to a big formal conference, then you know that you are handed a pre-printed agenda at the door and you know exactly what’s going to be discussed where and when. ProductCamp works just a bit differently.

The first difference is that everyone who attends ProductCamp is asked to participate either by presenting or facilitating a session – no dozing in the back of the room here. Additionally, the conference doesn’t start with a pre-planned agenda.

Instead, the sessions are proposed and scheduled each day by attendees. You start to get a feel for how dynamic this is. If you’ll trust me that this actually works, you can see that hot topics and issues of great concern to all bubble up to the top. Likewise, there really are no boring sessions – they get voted away.

What’s Going To Happen At ProductCamp Austin?

First off, the reason for going would be to learn about and discuss the most current topics facing product managers and product marketers today. This is going to be (hey, it’s in Austin, TX – what do you expect?) an intense ad hoc gathering of product folks to share, present, network, learn, laugh, and discuss.

As we’ve discussed, there is no agenda. Instead, everyone who is interested in leading a session provides a brief (that’s about a minute) pitch in the morning before things start. Attendees then vote and those sessions receiving the highest votes are put on the schedule and groups form for intense learning. This will ensure that the participants get the most out of their experience.

If you’re the kind of person who is swayed by reviews, here is some of the feedback that came out of these previous ProductCamps:

  • “This was a great event. I took back more useful ideas than I have gotten at large industry events. The interactive format and the use of Brainshark and other tools made it very valuable.”
  • “What a great experience to get together with a (large) group of passionate product managers and have lively discussions about how we can improve.”
  • “There was a lot of collective talent assembled all striving for the same goal … let’s make product management the best career opportunity in the next few years.”

I’m Interested, Now What Do I Do?

I can’t remember – did I mention that this is all free (as in beer)? If you are going to be in Austin, Texas on August 15th (or if you can get there), then here are the details that you need to know:

ProductCamp Austin
Saturday August 15th, 2009, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

The conference will be held at University Teaching Center (UTC) @
The University of Texas at Austin, McCombs School of Business, Corner of 21st Street and Witchita St.

Of course, even though it’s free, they’d like you to register. You can get all of the details on this event by visiting their web site at:

Final Thoughts

Hey – it’s free, just how much thinking does this take? If you are even half way considering going – DO IT. The info that you get will be great, but the contacts that you can make will be even better.

Have a great time!

P.S.: Free subscriptions to the brand-new The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available.

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

This post will be an invitation for you to come along with me as I work with one of my clients to help them get ready to present their solutions to a customer in the hope of getting them interested enough to start to move forward towards a sale…