It is great to see that more and more product people enjoy getting together for events like ProductTank (now in over 90 cities across the globe!) and two major events of our tribe, the Mind the Product conference in London & San Francisco. It shows that many of us share a healthy curiosity to learn, a great willingness to share, and an active interest to engage with other product people. But what if we could do even more?
The growing German product community
In Hamburg we have been running ProductTank for 3 years since my friend Marc “imported” it from London where he’d been participating from the very first ProductTank. Since then our local community has grown to 800+ people, some of whom seem to participate in every event while at the same time there are always new faces among the ca 100 people that come to our quarterly events. And it’s great to see that in parallel similar ProductTank communities have grown in Berlin, Munich, and more recently Vienna and Stuttgart with a total of over 3,000 product people just in the German speaking region.
In Hamburg we curate ProductTank in such a way that we combine one speaker from the local product community with speakers who we invite from further away (often London – sometimes New Jersey, Berlin, or Munich) to broaden our horizons. We usually run our events in English because we want to be accessible to the non german-speaking product people in Hamburg (and also because our speakers from abroad usually don’t speak German). At the same time we understand that a good share of the networking after the talks happens in German and that wild mix of English and German is fine – in fact we even like it that way.
Before I get carried away with what else I like about ProductTank and our local community there are also some things that are not ideal about a purely local afterwork event like ours:
Everything’s over so quickly: Once we have so many great people in a room wouldn’t it be great to have more time together?
Local is great but still a bit limited: Wouldn’t it be great if we had more of an exchange with product people working in other cities in our region?
More great speakers than we can handle: While setting tough priorities is part of our job it’s still a shame that we can not realistically invite all the speakers we would like to have at ProductTank.
Admittedly these are all luxury problems, but we wanted to address them and happily responded when Martin Eriksson and the Mind the Product team told us that they were looking for partners to help develop and “prototype” a new, larger event format to complement ProductTank and help grow our local product communities: Mind the Product Engage.
A new product conference
MTP Engage will be an all-day event in Hamburg on 28th April 2017 that brings together 300 product people from around the region with a mix of keynotes & interactive sessions for a more intimate and local product conference to complement the global #mtpcon events.
We are still in the early stages of putting together the agenda (and there will be an additional public call-for-sessions soon), but the general idea is that we want to use the keynotes for broader & more general topics presented in English. In the interactive sessions we want to get closer to the day-to-day work, helpful frameworks, and methodologies as well as reflections of what the topics presented in the keynotes mean for our own product work. To make it easier for participants to engage, most of these sessions will be held in German. But we will make sure that at any time there’s also at least one English session for the international product community.
As if that’s not enough, for the day before the event we are looking into various formats to bring together participants in small groups to make the most of our time together in one city.
Parts of the agenda and in particular the interactive sessions will feature members & previous speakers of the various regional ProductTank communities. And while I’m thrilled to be hosting and curating this great event, I’m also very glad that the Mind the Product team in London are taking care of all the operational headaches and supporting us! If this first event is the success we expect it to be, we hope to see the ProductTank and Mind the Product community roll out this event series to other regions around the world.
We look forward to seeing you at MTP Engage in Hamburg in April – tickets will be released in January, and updates will be posted on the event page!