How To Be A Product Manager
Eric Carlson, Director of Product at Kapost
Eric Carlson has a background in human factors, machine learning, and software development. He's been in product management for 10 years. He's also worked as a software engineer and had a dark but mercifully brief stint in project management.
Eric has worked on a wide variety of products, from platforms for collaborative marketing campaign planning to mobile apps for organizing disaster relief efforts. When he's not working he can be found climbing or hacking on some iOS or Arduino project.
Natty Zola, Managing Director for Techstars Boulder
Previously, Natty was Head of Consumer Products for MapQuest, where he helped MapQuest return to profitability and year-over-year growth for the first time since 2007.
Before MapQuest, he was a founder of Everlater.com, a travel blogging platform and CRM system for tour operators, that participated in Techstars in 2009 and was acquired by AOL in 2012. He also graduated from GE's Financial Management Program and worked with Jim Collins on the best selling books "Great by Choice" and "How the Mighty Fall."
Natty is passionate about helping startups find product market fit, accelerate their growth, and develop company culture. His hobbies include mountain biking, reading business books, testing new apps, anything design related and gardening. He welcomed his first son into the world in May.
Dan Podsedly, VP and General Manager of Pivotal Tracker
Dan Podsedly is a Pivotal Labs VP and the General Manager of Pivotal Tracker, the popular project collaboration tool for modern agile teams. Dan has been with Pivotal Labs since their nascent days in the mid-2000s, and has experience in every aspect of software development, including engineering, product management, and UX design (though his utility on this last point is up for debate).
Jared Polivka, Chief Evangelist at Galvanize
Startups, storytelling and fitness; these are a few of Jared's favorite things :) Before donning the Evangelist hat, Jared served as Director of Product at Kapost (where he learned a ton from Eric Carlson) and had a brief stint as a Marketing Manager at Uber.
When he's not working, Jared can be found playing speed chess in the park, doing brazilian jiuj-jitsu, reading or hiking.
who should attend?
Aspiring product managers, founders who want more insight into the product process (agile process, prioritizing your roadmap, bug prioritization and squashing, working with engineers, making data driven decisions, etc.)
what will people do or learn, how does it fit into denver startup week?
The logistical scheduling of an efficient product team (daily standup, design kickoff, sprint duration, velocity of sprint, backlog grooming, etc.)
Going from idea to feature - idea, wireframe, design, user stories, pointing (i.e. assigning scope) with engineering, building, deployment
How to weight and prioritize features to create a product roadmap
How to get a job as a PM (how to prepare, crushing the product exercise, crushing the interview)
*note: could break these into a series of Product workshops during startup week
- why is it an awesome idea?
PM’s are in high demand. Many employees in various fields are considering making the jump to being a PM… but they don’t know exactly what the job entails or they don’t know how to begin that transition.
Current PM’s enjoy picking up ticks, tricks and workflows from other PM’s
Strong founders are product minded, especially in the early days. Yet, many founders don’t know how to steer the product ship when they have a team of 2 or three engineers and a designer (often the makeup of a small starting team)