Full disclosure. Technically speaking, I don’t claim to know anything. Okay, that may not be entirely true. There’s a lot of knowledge I’ve gained through experience. But not much else of what I truly know is (what I would call) organic; most of what I know I’ve learned from others.
For example, I’m not a technologist by training or trade. In the same way my knowledge of automobiles is limited to their operation (but not to their repair), my knowledge of how software product people work their magic is, shall we say, “well contained.” But that doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed how they effortlessly convert user insight and market data into a product vision to make our world a better place. I stand in awe of the designers and developers who translate that vision into problem-solving software products. My brain isn’t wired to work that way, but thank goodness our world is populated with a community of technology artists whose brains are.
That’s another thing. In this profoundly competitive world of high-tech software product development, product people and technologists seem genetically predisposed to help and support one another. To come together in collaborative ways, freely sharing knowledge and guidance. In my experience – perhaps revealing my naiveté, but I don’t think so – their only competition is in the race to find Truth, not to beg, borrow, and steal so that only their self-serving truth is discovered.
This esprit de corps is best demonstrated during the various software product conferences, like the fast-approaching Product Momentum: Beyond the Features conference, hosted by ITX (June 19-21) in Rochester, NY. Having attended a number of conferences throughout my career, I can honestly say that I’ve never felt a vibe quite like the one that radiates from an assembly of bright, creative minds coming together in search of knowledge. In search of Truth.
Among the gathering of bright, creative minds who will be in Rochester next month is Dan Olsen, best-selling author of The Lean Product Playbook: How To Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback. Dan’s not only a best-selling author, he’s also a prolific blogger, sought-after consultant, and dynamic speaker. When you roll that all together, it’s no surprise that Dan is also the host of the Lean Product & Lean UX Meetup – a monthly gathering of nearly 8,000 members who come together to learn from industry experts and one another about product management, UX design, Lean Startup, growth hacking, and Agile development principles.
Dan’s unique insights on the product-market fit concept – a perspective that serves as a melting pot where all the best ideas come together – align so tightly with our goals to help clients solve complex challenges on behalf of their end users.
Client challenges span different industries and areas of specialization. Thankfully, the burgeoning product management community adds members every day. Product people are making valuable contributions all the time, many coming through the lens of the technical, product, business & finance, marketing, and strategy disciplines. Their contributions are moving the ball in significant ways, so it’s especially fun to see it happening first-hand and to experience the collaboration that leads to new discovery.
Dan and his Meet Up community are a lot like me in that respect. We may not claim to know things or to have truly mastered any particular skill. That’s the path of sophistry. We consider ourselves lifelong learners who eagerly credit the many mentors, tutors, and advisers we’ve encountered along our journey. The vast majority of what we know we’ve learned from – and share with – others.