Browsing Tag


Spring Has Sprung! So that must mean I’m Camping and Talking all over the place…

There are just a bunch of events I’m planning on attending which should be a blast over the next 45 days or so. Every year spring marks the time for rebirth, but also a bunch of travel for me and always has.  I really like to see how the country changing in spring, but also meeting with folks that read this blog and getting the opportunity to meet people I don’t already know.   To that end, I thought I would do a post on places I’m going to be in an effort to hopefully catch up with more folks along the way.   Traveling around and having interesting conversations around product marketing and product management is not just part of my job, it’s something I really enjoy.   I guess that makes me a little geekier than most, but you have to love what you do.

Speaking of conversations, I just had the pleasure last week to do a Podcast on innovation with Scott Sehlhorst and Josh Duncan which was a blast. If you are interested in listening, you can hear it on A Random Jog or via iTunes.  I hope Josh makes this into an ongoing series, since there is still a good deal of stuff to tackle in product marketing for technology folks.

So here is my schedule of where I’m speaking publicly and the events I plan to be @


ProductCamp Chicago – 4/2 @ Orbitz:  This is the second installment of PCAMP Chicago and it has reached the maximum number of registrants already, so while you can’t register, you should be able to keep up to date on the happening online this weekend via Twitter.  This weekend is a busy ProductCamp weekend, with several of my fellow instructors at Pragmatic Marketing also participating in Silicon Valley PCamp and the Boston ProductCamp.

ACETECH 4/7 – This is an interesting event without a doubt set in beautiful Whistler.  So while I’m going Whistler I’m probably not skiing, but I’m definitely looking forward to talking strategy with some of Canada’s senior technology leaders and getting better insight from founders and CEO’s on their take of what they are seeing in their markets.  While I’d love to spend time skiing, I’m excited about the event because it is chocked full of interesting activities and a schedule of great content which I’m looking forward to from a learning perspective.   I already know at least two readers who are planning to make it so if you are, drop me a note.

ProductCamp DC – 4/30: This is the second installment of ProductCamp DC and will be first one for me.  There is still space for registering, but if this is like other PCAMP’s it’s probably not going to have room soon, so don’t forget to register. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting folks who I’ve been following on twitter and in the marketplace who I have yet to meet in person like @pradsam.


Austin 5/2 -4 – I’ll be in ATX for both an Effective Product Marketing and a Product Launch Essentials seminar at the AT&T conference center which is one of my favorite venues.  If you haven’t had been to one of the training courses for outbound marketing, this course is anchored in the Pragmatic Marketing Framework and how to better manage engagement and content to influence buyers.  You can find out more on the seminars from the website.

Schedule Updates

So with being on the road like this for the next month or so it might be hard to keep up with the whole blogging thing, but I’ll try.  Regardless, now that you know where I am let’s catch up on the road if you are attending one of these events.

I’ll continue to update by my schedule in the widget up on the right for those of you who are interested.  Now if you’re interested in staying up to date on product camps, you can do so at

If you want general schedule information for marketing training events or product management courses, you can sign up for alerts on when Pragmatic Marketing is in your area, subscribe to the RSS feed or even go to the facebook page and join the other 500+ product marketing and management folks keeping up to date on all the blogs, seminar dates and product camps around the globe.

Enjoy spring and see you on the road, cheers!


Get Insight from the Community of Marketers: ProductCamp Atlanta is on the schedule!

The 4th installment of PCAMPATL is on the schedule for February 19, 2011 at GTRI.  The last several events continue to validate that the community of technology leaders in Atlanta are committed to sharing best practices in Product Management, Product Marketing and development.  The last event was standing room only – let’s see if we can do that again!

While historically these are often seen at techno-centric events, they aren’t!  Product Camps are for anyone that markets, builds and lead groups who bring products to market.  Representation from B2B companies and Consumer product companies abound.  If you aren’t familiar with what a product camp is or if it’s for you, Paul Young has a great product camp overview on his blog which summarizes what product camps mean for the community/participants.

The event is free, so if you haven’t been to a product  camp make this one.  You can register here.

Not in Atlanta? provides the latest information on PCamps around the globe.   If there isn’t a Product Camp in your community why not start one?  Not sure how?  You can read up on best practices for gearing up a Product Camp in your city and there is even a starter kit available.

By the way, these events wouldn’t happen without volunteers, so when you sign up also help out because PCamp isn’t a spectator event, it’s about participation.  How do you volunteer?  The sign-up form asks you if you want to help or you can ping @jbrett on twitter.

PM Scenario #108: Webinars, Boxes, Arrows & Tech Acronyms Work Everywhere – Right?

Image by spatiallyrelevant via Flickr

I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks focusing on consuming content, spending a good deal of time in PowerPoint and getting insights from folks which has been very rewarding and challenging.   I’ve also been taking an inventory of situations I’ve been in/witnessed throughout my career to see if I would address a situation/access the situation differently today than I would have say 6 years ago.    The scenario I’ve dragged out and documented below is one that most product managers who have a global sales force have been in before – a newly launched solution in which not everyone is fully up to speed on, especially the folks who aren’t in your country.    Regardless of the organizations readiness, there are opportunities in the pipeline and work has to be done to move the prospect through the sales cycle, like a demo for a large customer somewhere on the planet and the local SC’s don’t know/aren’t comfortable with the product yet.

Launching products are tough enough in one geography, but launching a product globally requires additional discipline, different tactics and a baseline understanding of what each market and sales organization needs to be successful post-launch.

So while it might be easy to just to do a webinar or provide  “global” product overview sheets for the field it may not be the most effective way to engage and spin up a global sales organization for lots of reasons.  Below is a reasonably accurate reconstructionist email thread from a while back around a product launched globally which which aligns to rule of thumb asserted above.  For ease of reading I’ve reversed the order of the email thread:

De: [mailto:]
Enviado: Lunes, 08 de agosto 20xx 6:02 AM
Asunto: Reunión y Demo en Barcelona y Madrid

Producto Gestor,

Dos de nuestros grandes clientes en España desea un panorama general de nuestro nuevo producto, ya que todavía no han tenido una llamada de ventas en la solución, ¿sería posible que usted venga a España y aportar la visión global de NOMBRE DEL CLIENTE 1 y CLIENTE NOMBRE 2? Déjame saber y confirmar las reuniones de 15 de septiembre y 18. Gracias.

Personas Nombre
Solution Consultant
Empresa K

Follow Up Note:

From: [mailto:]
Sent: Lunes, 08 de agosto 20xx 8:12 AM
Subject: RE: Reunión y Demo en Barcelona y Madrid

Persona Nombre,

Sólo hablo un poco de español, pero si usted me pregunta que hacer una reunión en el otoño de España a principios, entonces tengo que pensar en eso. 8 horas en el aire, el tipo de cambio y todo lo que puede hacer que no de 4 horas de las reuniones de la pena. Voy a seguir en el próximo par de días. ¡Salud!!

Product Manager
Company K

For even easier reading, I’ve used Google Translate below, which is what most of us use anyhow when researching a global product inquiry in which over 50% of the forwarded email thread is in a different language:

From: [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, 08 of agosto 20xx 6:02
Subject: Meeting and Demo in Barcelona and Madrid

Product Manager,

Two of our larger customers in Spain want a quick overview of our new product, which I have not yet had a sales call  for the solution, is it possible that you come to Spain and to provide overall vision CUSTOMER NAME 1 and CUSTOMER NAME 2? Let me know and confirm the meetings of September 15 and 18. Thank you.

Persons Name
Solution Consultant
Company K


From: [mailto:]
Sent: Monday, August 8, 20xx 8:12
Subject: RE: Meeting and Demo in Barcelona and Madrid

Person Name,

I only speak a little Spanish, but if you’re ask me to do a meeting in the fall of Spain at the beginning, then I have to think about it. 8 hours in the air, the exchange rate and all we have is 4 hours of the meetings of the sentence. I will confirm in the next couple of days. Cheers!

Product Manager
Company K

There are a good deal of options to pursue and at this point, from a wholesale no to other travel related options.  I’ve listed a couple for consideration:

  1. Decline the meetings wholesale and kindly point them to the intranet information (training videos, presentations and online demo)
  2. Setup additional client meetings yourself, extend the trip a week and do a couple more sales calls throughout Europe, but also schedule a product session with the field on the newly launched solution face-to-face.
  3. Book flights for the in-laws to come down to watch the kids and add your wife to the boondoggle and accept the two meetings only while occasionally responding to emails.
  4. Accept the two meetings, enjoy Olympic Harbor, do email at odd times and essentially work 14 hours a day for a week responding to inbound email and meeting requests in North America
  5. Setup a webinar for the EMEA organization to again provide an overview and decline the request
  6. Request from your superior to do 90 days helping the field in Europe to get comfortable with the new product, effectively becoming super SC for Europe and odd hour email response personnel.

Are there other options you would pursue? Or would you do a hybrid of a couple of them, say option 2 and 5?  Option 4 is basically just a reality from my experience, at least the 14 hour days part.

As an FYI:  Option 3 is tough many levels even though it seems like a good idea on the surface, I had a Microsoft Partner Conference in New Orleans I tried it with, but we did get to see 2 nights of  Widespread.

So what would you do?

Stuck in the Middle: The Geologist

As part of the stuck in the middle series, I will develop multiple personae for examination – the first one is “The Geologist”. The Geologist can be a leader or an individual contributor whose actions of each are on opposite poles of detail – too much or too little.

The Geologist as a leader, says “Bring me a rock” – most often in business this cliche has many use cases, but in my view its the project sponsor, manager or executive who only knows they need something which has a hardness on Moh scale than talc, but clearly we don’t have time for diamonds or a meaningful/supportable/executable explanation of what is required.

Don’t get me wrong, I like bullet points like the next person – but not in the project definition phase – conclusions, lessons learns and general presentations – bullet=rock, but not in the “project contract” for lack of a better word.

Typically this [tag]leader[/tag] will not fully understand what they want – “I want a new “X””. The geologist doesn’t know what it is, but they clearly know what it is NOT. So contributors will go labor, come back and get told “not exactly”, go labor – come back, “nope”, so the loop continues…

There is a point in time typically when the geologist realizes 2 or 3 of the loop iterations ACTUALLY were close, they synthesize and go home. This can add as much as N-times of effort, had the leader defined his or her wants the first time or understood their wants.

Now the [tag]individual contributor[/tag] which is a geologist type, endlessly “tumbles” their rock until it is shiny and cool. It’s not at all the right rock, but they have spent so much time that they are convinced it is valuable – kinda of a fools gold deliverable if you will.

When you get a geologist leader AND executor, you are sure to have over efforted products, content and requirements which will total miss the spirit of the project, but not the letter. After all, the Bullet=Rock, so everyone is fairly happy right until the market launch. Speaking of market launches, this can at times be a great persona for embracing the perfection trap.

At some point you have to stop the tumbler, make an assessment and deliver goods – even if it is a ROCK.