We are passionate about helping product managers and other product people become better product people. It wasn’t very long ago before we were in product roles, yet were secretly confused about what it even meant to be a product person. Of course, we mostly kept that confusion to ourselves. What might happen if our bosses figured out we didn’t know what we were doing?
But then something happened. We started sharing this confusion and fear with other product people and quickly realized we weren’t alone. So many product people felt the same way we did. It shouldn’t have surprised us, really. None of us actually went to school for this. Most product people sort of “fell into” product management. We’re all trying to figure this thing out.
Selfishly, we thought, “What if we could bring the best product management professionals in the world to us -- and learn from them?” And thus, INDUSTRY: The Product Conference was born. We bootstrapped the very first edition of INDUSTRY in 2015 with the idea of bringing amazing product people to Cleveland, Ohio so we could meet them and learn from them -- and maybe people in the area would benefit, too. But it wasn’t just people from the area that made their way to INDUSTRY. In that very first year, we had attendees from 21 states and 7 countries. And that blew our mind.
We asked ourselves, “What if?” What if we had been planning that first conference full-time and not just on the side of our full-time jobs? What if we were to create other resources that could help product people in the other 363 days when this conference wasn’t taking place?
A lot has happened since we organized that first conference.
Attendance has increased from a couple hundred attendees in 2015 to over 1,200 product people in 2019. In fact, we’ve moved to a larger venue in Cleveland Public Auditorium, a venue with a storied history with the likes of The Beatles, The Who, The Jackson 5, and others playing on its stage.
With as popular as INDUSTRY has been, we brought it to Europe for the first time in 2018 -- making Dublin, Ireland our home away from home.
We also established Product Collective as a true community for product managers -- now serving over 30,000 through our weekly newsletter, semi-monthly INDUSTRY Interview live video Q&A chats, and massive Slack channel, where people give feedback, receive advice, and share resources and stories on all things product each day.
We still consider ourselves to be product people. It’s just now, instead of software -- our product happens to be a conference and community. Regardless, we are just so grateful that we get to work with and serve product people each day and cannot wait to keep thinking of more ways that we can do that even better.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.
Paul McAvinchey | Mike Belsito | Rebecca Feliciano
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