Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Product Camp SoCal 2/28, My Notes

LFP*: Just my personal takeaways, no institutional ownership implied or intended.

On resume: It's not really about you. Lead with benefits for prospective employer. Research / Interviewing: ask "why is this requirement critical NOW?" The first answers you hear may not be the root cause of the opportunity. Present yourself as the solution to the root cause.

On sticking your foot in the door: To find a company email format, ie "", search * To find a title at a company, search "title" + companyname.

On creating your personal value proposition: are you a Vitamin or Painkiller? People buy vitamins with discretionary funds and buy painkillers in good times and bad. Catchy. "Better" is nice, "Significantly better" is differentiating. How do you do that vitamin to painkiller transform again?

On wireframes: Visio is fast and painless compared to other graphics-ware. Avoid re-invention: Search web for custom Visio stencils which may apply to your situation. (Personally, Visio has been my first graphics choice since the mid 90's. Still using 5.0. Suppose I should upgrade to the MS version?

On your career as a product: Everyone should roadmap their career. Nice thought. However, do you know anyone who's career followed a roadmap? My take: opportunity presents out of nowhere and not all that often. Recognize opportunity and be more ready to jump than not. Sometimes things will go badly. Pick yourself up. . . .

On voting with stickydots: I suspect this makes attendees "pile on" to ensure first tier offerings go early and they can get home. No objective research behind this conclusion whatever. On the "meetup:" well worth my time. Advise you plan to attend next time. "Un-conference:" right. This reveals organization by marketing types (am one so I can recognize)

On anthropology and marketing: a complete mind-blower. The title may not have been voter friendly. By all means keep offering this session until I get some ideas I can apply without professional assistance.

On Pragmatic Marketing and Agile: Be certain your proposed software addresses problems the customer is looking to solve. What you (your CEO, whatever) think is (final-successwise) beside the point. Poorly thought-through user stories will crash on an Agile team. Agile teams move fast; they will run you out of ideas if you haven't done your homework and do not have real customers from which to solicit further detail. "Thought Leadership" is the best two-word complex process description I've seen in a long time. Pragmatic owns product marketing and sells it one seminar at a time. Best business model ISIALT.

On social media: Sprinkles. Quantcast. Filterbox. Radian6. Actually, she said Radian7, but the fact check department couldn't find it. Wow, Virginia, you can quantify the impact of social media.

happy to be here, thanks

David Sheriff

*legal fine print


  1. Hi David -

    Heh, yep. We're a 6, not a 7. Thanks for sharing the recommendation.

    Re: wireframing, I'm not totally sure on your context, but I really like Balsamiq, and there are some other well-received options here. I've tried a few, and admittedly sometimes go back to Keynote and good ol' slides :)

    Amber Naslund, Radian6

  2. Whoopsie! Here's the link I was referring to for the wireframe tools:

    Sorry. :)

    - amber

  3. Amber,

    Thanks so much for the comments. How did you find the post so fast? Do you run a continuous autosearch tool of some kind?

    I'm basing the Visio recommendation on the presenter's suggestion at the conference as well as my own experience. I tried making a switch to what seemed to be a better graphics program nearly 10 years ago. What I figured out is that the best program for doing almost anything is the one you have pretty well mastered. Unless the reasons to switch are compelling, the learning curve keeps you pretty much where you are. For me that includes the antiques Photoshop 5 and Illustrator 8.

    As noted, I still use the pre-Microsoft version of Visio. Vista doesn't like it, but with the firewall turned off (a common user reaction to over-intrusiveness) it shuts up and runs Visio just fine. I'm sure there are things the old version will not do and I'll change when I need to.

    I don't actually do wireframes. I am quite willing to believe there may be better graphics programs for wireframes or for picking to learn if you are starting fresh.

    I made the switch to Open Office for documents, spreadsheets and presentations several years ago on principle and economics. I'd still be running W2k if new apps ran under it, but I like Vista. I think the message is that the prospect of steep new learning curves keeps most people with what they know how to use. And I love my new Motorola Droid. Once again, Verizon has worked well for me and I'm not switching without compelling reasons.

  4. Thank you so much for your notes and thoughts about ProductCamp SoCal 2! We're planning for the next one, so I'm scouring the Internet for feedback.

    I bet Agile product development & management will be a hot topic at the next pcSC on October 15th. :)

    I particularly enjoyed your comments about the anthropology in marketing session. The use of humanities-based methodologies in marketing & product management are near-n-dear to my heart.

    I hope to see you at ProductCamp SoCal 3 on October 15th at CSU Fullerton's Mihaylo Hall. Take care.