Sunday, 6 June 2010

Berlin, product management, and Smalltalk events

Beach bars, cuba libres, bircher müsli. I'd forgotten how classically German these things are but it only takes being away for a few months to make them stand out again.

Thanks to the official un-organizers of Product Camp Berlin, yesterday was a very successful day of discussions and networking. Some interesting points for me were:
  • Kill a feature every day. That way people get used to the process and don't scream so loudly when support for features and platforms needs to be removed. This reminds me of the concepts of constant refactoring and non-ownership in software development, which helps ensure that people are similarly used to code going away.
  • The problem may be your pricing model. When products (in startups particularly) begin to flounder, there may be nothing wrong with the product itself. Sometimes a simple tweak of the pricing model can be the most effective solution.
  • The best way to unofficially kill a product is to publicly announce a "rewrite". Customers will avoid investing in the old system like the plague, rapidly starving the product of all its revenue.
  • It sounds like there are some interesting products on the way from Nokia.
  • This is my second conference since I actively started using twitter — it was not as well used this time but I still really like the technology for this sort of use case: it's great to see what you're missing, share your thoughts, and catch up with people after the event is over.
The weather was gorgeous in Berlin but has turned foul in southern Germany today. No big deal though as I've been slogging away indoors at my presentation for epicenter in Dublin on Thursday. I'm getting close with my slides and looking forward to the event but, before I can get that checked off my list, it's off to Stuttgart tomorrow evening for the VASt Forum.

[update: I've been offered 10 discount tickets for epicenter to give away; details here if you'd like to come see me in Dublin this week.]

For those wanting to attend the Camp Smalltalk London event on July 16-18, make sure you head over and sign up now. It's looking like we're going to fill up even our expanded capacity. If it's full by the time you get there, add yourself to the waiting list and we'll see what we can do.


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