ProductTank organiser Benjamin Wirtz gives us a sneak peek of what the product scene is like in Sydney Australia.
What is it that motivates you to run ProductTank meetups?
Product Management is still poorly understood in most companies down under. The people who ultimately manage product managers often have no experience in the role and can offer little guidance, so we decided to bring the community together every month or so to share their experiences and best practices they discovered. All the talks are quite practical, so people can apply what they learned the next day and build better products.
Who plays an important part in Sydney’s ProductTanks?
There are loads of people who support our ProductTank but really, it’s the senior product people in Sydney who attend our events and share their lived experiences that help to make it what it is.
How many members does your ProductTank have?
How many ProductTanks have there been in Sydney to date?
When it comes to event planning, we had an amazing 21 events to date. Many of the big tech companies like Atlassian, hipages, IRESS and Xero have hosted us in the past (and sponsored food as well as drinks). Other companies with product teams like Macquarie, Arq and BlueChilli have been involved as well.
What can you tell us about Sydney’s Product Community?
Sydney’s product maturity is lagging behind the UK and Silicon Valley, but we managed to create a few breakout successes like Atlassian and Canva. The challenge for most tech companies is that they are usually quite founder-driven and don’t make the transition to letting product managers drive product strategy bottom-up instead of just focusing on execution. This is a trend we will have to change if we want to see more unicorns growing far beyond the billion-dollar mark.
Which talks have been a hit?
One of our most popular sessions was a live job interview — I asked Steen Andersen, who is a director of product management at Atlassian, some of the questions he was asked during his interview and we discussed the answers. The community gets little visibility of what is going on behind the scenes, especially with product leadership roles, so it was invaluable to shine some light on the topic.
How does ProductTank help product people?
Invaluable connections have been made — people have found mentors, new jobs or winning ideas that took products or careers to the next level.
Can you share any fun facts about Sydney?
Until 1961, Sydney had one of the largest tram networks in the world. The politicians dissembled the network in favour of allowing more cars on the road – until they realised that cars don’t scale as well, so in 2019 we have opened our first new tram line with plans for new lines. Not a very lean experiment, but it sounds like the right lessons were learned some 60 years later…
Enjoy more from ProductTank
ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you.
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