Top 10 Product Talks of 2017

BY MARTIN ERIKSSON ON DECEMBER 15, 2017

At Mind the Product our mission is to further the craft of product management by bringing together product people of all stripes to share their stories and experiences. And at our #mtpcon conferences and some of our ProductTank meetups we film those stories so we can share them as widely as possible. This year our speakers have shared a plethora of amazing product talks and those videos have had 100,000s of plays, so I decided to look at which videos our audience engaged with the most and which of those videos were played all the way through most often.

So without further ado, here are the Top 10 Product Management & Design Videos of the year:

1. 20 Years of Product Management in 25 Minutes

Dave Wascha at Mind the Product San Francisco 2017
Dave Wascha started as a product manager 20 years ago working on Internet Explorer 4.0. Since then he’s had his share of successes and failures in a storied career spanning the US and Europe, and in this entertaining and insightful talk from Mind the Product San Francisco he distills those 20 years into 12 key lessons.

2. The Hardest Part of Product Management

Janna Bastow at #mtpcon
There is probably one part of the product management job we can all agree is the hardest – people. People are unpredictable, they have strong opinions and unconscious biases. Many people in your organisation have more power than you, yet they are wrong just as often. In this illuminating talk from Mind the Product San Francisco 2017 Janna Bastow, Co-Founder of Mind the Product and Co-Founder and CEO of ProdPad, shares her own stories of dealing with people, and how she handles the toughest part of the job.

3. Innovation is Broken

Janice Fraser at Mind the Product San Francisco
In the course of a storied career that started at Netscape, and includes co-founding Adaptive Path and Luxr, consulting for Fortune 500 companies as well as the White House, Janice Fraser has focused on how to handle this “newness”. In this awesome talk at Mind the Product San Francisco, she shares how to tackle change and really drive growth in large organisations.

4. The Only Product Metric that Matters

Josh Elman at Mind the Product San Francisco
As product managers we spend a lot of our time thinking about product metrics, and in this compelling talk from Mind the Product San Francisco, Josh Elman helps to break through the data noise to define the one product metric that matters based on his experience at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the many startups he works with today as a partner at Greylock Ventures.

5. Design Sprints

Jake Knapp at #mtpcon London
Design Sprints allow you to get to the crux of your problem and explore a solution, quicker than other ways of working. They don’t give you a perfect solution or exact data, but they give you more than enough to decide what to do next by helping you glimpse into the future. Not only does this save a lot of time and money, it also results in better end products that people will love. In this incredible talk from Mind the Product London 2017, Jake Knapp shared how he developed the Design Sprint, and how to do them well.

6. Critical Thinking for Product Teams

Teresa Torres Opportunity Solution Tree at #mtpcon
In this illuminating talk from Mind the Product London 2017, Teresa Torres shares her opportunity solution tree – a visual aid that can help you find the best place to focus your team’s energies, whilst ensuring you consider enough opportunities. Opportunity solution trees also bring transparency to the process and get the whole team to buy into the decisions being made and the solutions being tested.

7. Product Design in the Era of the Algorithm

Josh Clark at #mtpcon
Machine learning has taken over huge parts of our world, from diagnosis of medical conditions to legal queries to beating human players in Go. How does this affect how we design, build, and manage products? In this insightful talk from Mind the Product London 2017, Josh Clark shares how we need to think about product design and product management in the era of the algorithm.

8. The Heartbeat of Product

Nate Walkingshaw at #mtpcon SF 2017
Nate Walkingshaw is the Chief Experience Officer for Pluralsight, where he is responsible for Product, User Experience, Engineering, and Content, and the co-author of Product Leadership: How Top Product Managers Launch Awesome Products and Build Successful Teams. But he started his career as an EMT at $7.14 an hour, and in this heartfelt talk from Mind the Product San Francisco 2017 he shares how his emergency medical experience and training set him up for success in building products and companies – and what we can learn from it too.

9. How to Break Free of the Feature Factory

John Cutler at MTPengage Hamburg
In the closing talk of this year’s MTP Engage Hamburg, John Cutler looks at why his Medium post 12 Signs You Are Working in a Feature Factory touched a nerve for so many people in product development.

10. Transforming to a Product Culture

Lea Hickman at #mtpcon on Product Culture
Through her experience with a wide range of different organisations across the world, Silicon Valley Product Group partner Lea Hickman has a unique perspective on how people do product. In this awesome talk from Mind the Product London 2017 she shares some of what she’s learned about creating a product culture and how everyone has space to improve. Whilst we may all be doing our own products well, the wider culture of our teams and organisations are where the ground remains to be gained.

11. Ethics in Product Management

As a bonus we had two talks that tied in engagement and both covered the importance of considering the impact our products have on the world, and how we as product managers, designers, and developers are responsible for that. In this beautifully narrated presentation from MTP Engage Hamburg, Sebastian Deterding, research fellow at the Digital Creativity Labs at the University of York, challenges us to consider the moral dimensions of our work as product people. And a few months later Amber Case, the author of Calm Technology, shared her views at Mind the Product London about the importance of designing technology that amplifies the best of technology and humanity, without taking over our lives.


Don’t forget to sign up to our 2018 Product Management Conferences for a chance to see more amazing talks like this in person!


Martin Eriksson

About MARTIN ERIKSSON

Martin Eriksson has 20+ years experience building world-class online products in both corporate and start-up environments for global brands such as Monster, Financial Times, Huddle, and Covestor. He is the Founder of ProductTank, the Co-Founder and Curator of Mind the Product and currently a Chief Product Officer at large, advising and mentoring startups. He is also the author of best-seller Product Leadership, How Top Product Leaders Launch Great Products and Build Successful Teams (O'Reilly, 2017).

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