Eight years ago today I started the ProductTank meetup in London so it’s a great time to look back, take stock of what we’ve built, and celebrate what has become the world’s largest product management community.
In the Beginning
Anyone who’s done product management for a while knows that this job can be a little lonely – there’s usually only one of you, the engineers all gang up on you, and there’s no one to learn from, no one to share with, and no one to share your woes with. Eight years ago I was a lonely product manager who decided to try to solve this problem. I got some beer money from my boss and managed to convince two old friends to speak. I found two awesome co-conspirators in Janna Bastow and Simon Cast and ultimately we attracted 26 other passionate product people to join us in a private room at the back of a slightly shady bar in a horribly touristy part of London. And it was amazing.
We would have been perfectly happy if that had been where it stayed: 20 or 30 passionate product people getting together in a room every couple of months, sharing lessons learned, mistakes made, new processes, and new ways to think about building great products.
A Growing Community
But fast forward eight years and we’ve come a long way – the same London meetup now has over 7,500 members and packs an auditorium full of nearly 400 attendees every single month. What’s even more exciting is that we’ve helped an incredible 145 other cities all over the world set up their own ProductTank chapters, bringing together nearly 100,000 product people across 56 countries into one awesome global product management community.
Since then we’ve also added our annual #mtpcon product conferences in San Francisco and London, who compete with each other for the title of biggest (and best!) product conference in the world, bringing together 1,600 attendees each from over 40 countries, and 36 states across the US. And we’re expanding these conferences with our MTP Engage series of regional events – our first one in Hamburg last year drew the largest gathering of product people ever in Germany.
Recently our Slack community has rapidly grown into the go-to online community for product people, with over 13,000 members posting hundreds of discussions every week across 150+ channels.
This blog brings it all together as a platform for our community with new content published every day. It features hundreds of videos from our conferences and meetups, and has given a voice to nearly 300 individual contributors from across that community.
Our job board is one of the highest quality places to find new product management jobs and the best product managers and designers. Over the years it has featured thousands of jobs from hundreds of companies all over the world.
And in the last year we’ve added a rapidly growing product management training business as well, delivering public workshops in a dozen cities and corporate training to dozens of clients all over the world, with much, much more to come.
A Growing Team
We’ve also grown as an organisation. It all started as a hobby but with so many events and activities to support, we’re indebted to our passionate network of 285 ProductTank organizers all over the world, our tireless ProductTank coordinator Marc Abraham, and our incredible full-time core team of 8. This month we’re delighted to welcome two new hires to that team: Juliette Barrett as our Account Manager for Mind the Product Training, and Emily Tate as our General Manager for the US. It’s especially exciting to welcome Emily into the fold as she’s not just an experienced product manager but she’s also been a member of our community almost from the beginning, and started the ProductTank chapter in Dallas/Fort Worth a few years ago.
As Emily herself shares: “Five years ago, I attended my first #mtpcon in London and quickly realized I had found my tribe. I’ve seen the value in bringing together a strong community of product people, and I’m excited to join the team to help continue to grow Mind the Product and this amazing community I’ve learned so much from.”
Our CEO, James Mayes adds: “From our start as a small meetup eight years ago through to the sold-out conferences and training we run today, we’ve always focused on quality content and an excellent attendee experience. Juliette and Emily bring skills that will help us reaffirm our commitment to these values, strengthen our core operations ability, and continue our mission of being a community for product managers, by product managers. I’m delighted to welcome them to the team and excited about the opportunities for even more growth ahead.”
But of course this is all about you – our community. So thank you for being part of this, our tribe of product people. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. Thank you for coming together to further the craft of product management – it is more important than ever. Eight years later and we all still love pouring our heart and soul into this community because every day we learn how to be better at this fascinating craft, and we can only do that together!
And don’t worry, the celebrations will continue – we have some exciting new releases coming up and something very special planned for May 23, the eighth anniversary of the first ProductTank meetup. So watch this space!