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Austin VOP - 5 Lessons from 15 Product Leaders - Product Camp Austin 19


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I launched Austin VOP (Voice of Product) to learn from product leaders in Austin and bring these expert insights to the broader Austin product community. I have 5 lessons to share from 15 Austin product leaders.
Product managers are linchpins in the success of tech companies. Through these interviews and articles on, I hope to encourage collaboration and learning. My thesis is, that by making the product community stronger, we can help make our technology company ecosystem in Austin thrive.

Published in: Technology

Austin VOP - 5 Lessons from 15 Product Leaders - Product Camp Austin 19

  1. 1. Austin VOP 5 Lessons from 15 Product Leaders Reza Shirazi, Austin VOP Product Camp Austin 19 - August 2017
  2. 2. Austin VOP
  3. 3. Austin VOP About Reza Shirazi Founder & Principal Consultant Rezonate Group Product | Strategy | Agile Austin VOP Austin Voice of Product Interview product leaders to share insights and learning My goal is to build a stronger tech & product community in Austin
  4. 4. Austin VOP 5 Lessons 1. Path to Product Management 2. How do you learn & grow 3. Advice for aspiring product leaders 4. Building a stronger tech & product community in Austin 5. Favorite product
  5. 5. Austin VOP 12 B2B - 2 B2C | 9 Small - 2 Medium - 3 Large 1. Mike Alexander - ePatientFinder 2. Dan Corbin - Return Path 3. James Davison - NEXD 4. Alykhan Daya - TAVHealth 5. Mike Ditson - Alchemy Systems 6. Tim Gasper - Bitfusion 7. Teri Harwood - AgileAssets 8. Sam Heywood - Cloudera 9. John Liska - Dun & Bradstreet 10. Azim Panjwani - Vyze 11. Michael Senftleber - Spredfast 12. Rob Shepler - athenahealth 13. P.J. Tanzillo - Favor 14. Jason Whitson - 15. You! 11 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
  6. 6. Austin VOP 50% - 50% Technical path: “I wanted a role where I had one foot in the technology realm, but was closer to the user or business problems.” Rob Non-technical path: “The combination of business background and technical experience has served me well in my product roles.” John 1. Path to Product Technical vs. Non-Technical
  7. 7. Austin VOP Quick Activity: What was your Path to Product?
  8. 8. Austin VOP 2. Learn & Grow 1. Learn technology / Use technology 2. Marty Cagan (SVPG) 3. Gaining industry/domain knowledge 4. Learning from outside the tech industry 5. Product Camp “When I seek inspiration, it is from design conferences or product conferences like Product Camp Austin.” Azim “I digest what I read and connect the dots on how it applies to my context. There is no one way of doing things for something as complex as a digital product.” Jason
  9. 9. Austin VOP Quick Activity: How do you Learn & Grow? Write down one thought leader you follow or activity you do on a post-it
  10. 10. Austin VOP 3. Advice for aspiring PMs 1. Build Trust “Never be full of sh*it. Your team needs to trust your judgement and they won't if you are full of sh*t.” P.J. 2. Hone your soft skills: Influence and Listening “Similar to Akido, you have work with [your stakeholders’] energy and move it in the direction you need.” Mike A. “You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room. It is so much more important to be the best listener.” Alykhan 3. Understand the problem/Know your customer “If you don’t spend time with your customers, you are basically running a backlog for someone else.” Sam
  11. 11. Austin VOP 4. Austin Tech & Product Community - Open & collaborative network - Creative culture and vibe - Quality of life in Austin - More laid back “Austin is small enough to get involved, grow your network, and learn from those that are more experienced than you.” Dan “I like our underdog mentality. We are scrappier!” Tim
  12. 12. Austin VOP 4. Austin Tech & Product Community 1. More and bigger startup successes 2. A stronger product community 3. More UX skills and B2C companies “We need more large exits, particularly where the capital came out of Austin.” James “We need more acceptance of product management and UX. You need to do more work before you decide to build.” Teri
  13. 13. Austin VOP Quick Activity: Building a stronger product community in Austin Write down one idea on a post-it for how we can build a stronger product community in Austin
  14. 14. Austin VOP 5. Favorite Product Tech (8) ● AirPods ● Roku (2) ● Playstation ● Eat This Much ● Goodreads ● Expensify ● Redfin “They really nailed the personas and design.” Mike D. - Expensify Non-tech (6) ● Dodocase for iPad ● Fender Rhodes piano ● Zebra Telescopic pen ● Vitamix blender ● 5th & Lamar shirts ● Rega RP1 turntable “A good product should do one thing and do it well.” Michael - Zebra pen
  15. 15. Austin VOP Quick Activity: What is your favorite product?
  16. 16. Austin VOP
  17. 17. Austin VOP Thank you