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Product Perspectives: Recapping the 2024 New York Product Conference

In the “city that never sleeps,” what better place is there to be – and community of product people to be there with – than in New York City for Product Collective’s 2024 New York Product Conference!

ITX’s EVP of Innovation Sean Flaherty kicked off the 2-day event with NYPC’s only in-person workshop: Influencing Without Authority: The Power of Product Leadership. Sean led a discussion for product leaders who carry much of the burden for product success, but little of the authority that comes with titles and organizational hierarchy.

In another part of the event space, the Product Momentum team was geared up to record live podcast episodes with conference keynote speakers April Dunford, Gabrielle Bufrem, Zoia Kozakov, Holly Hester-Reilly, and Denise Tilles. These insightful thought leaders touched on topics valuable to product people of every stripe: from product positioning to product ops, change management and product discovery. After each presentation, Product Momentum co-hosts Sean Flaherty and Paul Gebel sat down with our guests to drill deeper into their philosophies and practices; we captured these conversations here and in our live podcast episodes.

April Dunford. From Positioning to Sales Pitch: How to Make the Buying Process Easier

If you think B2B selling is hard (full disclosure, it is), get a peek from the other side of the transaction. Make the wrong purchase decision, and it may be your last. Call it what you want: purchase dissonance, doubt, second-guessing. The anxiety that comes with it can be paralyzing.

In fact, as April Dunford explained, 40-60% of the average B2B sales person’s pipeline is lost to ‘no decision’ (source: The JOLT Effect, by Matt Dixon). But it’s not that buyers are determining that the status quo is the better option. Instead, April continues, in the majority of cases buyers simply can’t bring themselves to make a decision they feel confident about. Understanding that dynamic is critical to understanding the challenge. And then, of course, taking the steps to resolve it.

How can we make the buying process less hard? What can salespeople (and their product manager colleagues) do to help prospects and customers make a confident decision?
The answer is simple, but not easy. Learn more when you catch the entire episode with April Dunford on our Product Momentum YouTube channel.

Gabrielle Bufrem. Confessions of a First Head of Product

Hindsight is 20/20, right? We’ve been in situations where we wish we knew more before jumping into a new project or job. It helps to know what we are going to be dealing with, so we can handle it the most effectively.

For today’s product managers, they can turn to Gabrielle Bufrem for those insights. She compiled many lessons she learned from her experience in working in product into a cohesive, engaging talk that brings light to some situations that don’t seem to get much attention.

And for Gabrielle, a valuable insight she learned was the importance of timing. Recognizing the right moments for important conversations and information sharing is vital, and it requires an understanding of audience needs. On the flip side, dealing with the pressure of delivering products takes balancing long-term vision with immediate demands. By nailing the timing just right, we ensure effective timing for achieving both our short and long-term goals.

When it’s time, we’ll share more of our conversation with Gabrielle – more conversations can be found on our YouTube channel here.

Zoia Kozakov. How to Drive Change Management (…when no one wants to change)

Any product manager who’s ever tried to pivot their organization’s approach to a new strategy knows the change management struggle – when no one wants to change. The reasons for resistance are many, and they’re real.

In her keynote, Zoia Kozakov, Vice President, Product Manager at JPMorgan Chase, cited fear of the unknown, mistrust in the organization’s leadership, lack of awareness around the reason for change, being excluded from change-related decisions among the leading candidates.

In response to these challenges, Zoia offered five tactics that help your team, as well as internal stakeholders, navigate the change you’re proposing. Taken together, they reflect the advice offered by recent Product Momentum guest, Jared Spool. “If we want [the change] to succeed,” Jared said, “we have to have a clear definition of what the outcome looks like of how it really does make things better in people’s lives.”

We’ll be dropping our podcast with Zoia in a few weeks; sign up for our Continuous Innovation newsletter so you can be on the lookout for it.

Holly Hester-Reilly. Setting Your Team Up for Success with the Product Science Principles

The tech landscape is ever evolving. For Holly Hester-Reilly, in the 17 years of working on the spectrum of organization size, the way we take what we learned, and use that evidence to help us make informed decisions will not change.

It was a pleasure to speak with Holly again, after hosting her on the podcast and having her as one of our keynote speakers at the 2022 Product + Design Conference. Her keynote focused on product science principles and using evidence to make data-informed decisions.

Like many professionals, Holly ensures to take stock at the end of every sprint, but she uses a specific phrase for this activity – understand what was built, what was learned, and what are we planning. Maybe the verb tense isn’t something to consider, but to Holly, it’s a valuable point (even one that she possibly made subconsciously.)

You can find our previous Product Momentum conversation with Holly here, and in a few weeks when her episode is live on our YouTube channel.

Denise Tilles. A spontaneous chat with a 2024 Product + Design Conference Keynote Speaker.

We were thrilled to see 2024 Product + Design Conference keynote speaker Denise Tilles at the event, and even more excited when she agreed to a spontaneous chat for the podcast!

What’s on her mind? Product Operations. The idea of bringing cross-functional information and insights forward to help align and create winning product strategies. In an era of tech industry layoffs, Denise sees organizations losing Product Operations teams, those orgs citing teams “working on the work” instead of “doing the work.” In her mind, this is an error in judgement.

Having focus on the operations of product teams helps organizations stay crisp and ensure that their practices are aligned with their goals. It’s not just hyper-fixating on processes one team makes, it brings to light all areas in an organization – including those that are end-of-the-line and customer-facing, to help companies make informed decisions.

It’s an area she’s passionate about sharing with others and giving them the resources they need to keep their product strategy in line. Her book Product Operations, co-authored with Melissa Perri, also brings real-life examples that helps readers understand the concepts in their book.

Our podcast episode with Denise is only a fraction of what she’ll talk about at our conference this June, and you can even take home your own copy of Product Operations when you register for our Keynote day.

A huge shout out to Product Collective co-founders Mike Belsito, Paul McAvinchey, and all the team members we worked with, for allowing ITX and Product Momentum to share this great event with you. And to the growing community of product people whom we serve, we’re grateful for your leadership and listenership.

If you couldn’t join us in person, tune into the Product Momentum podcast on or YouTube in the coming weeks to hear the episodes.

Find your next learning opportunity.

Join us for the 2024 Product + Design Conference this June.

Peter Sullivan's portrait Picture

Peter Sullivan is Producer of ITX’s Product Momentum podcast and a student of Product and Design processes that work. As ITX’s Marketing Content Lead, he spearheads our efforts to deliver thought leadership that helps Product makers and UX designers understand and shape the future. 

Headshot of Megan Lawson.

Megan Lawson is a Marketing Content Specialist at ITX. She focuses on creating content that solves problems and engages audiences. Megan received her BA in Communication from the State University of New York at Geneseo.

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