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Insights & Benefits of Attending Technology Conferences
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Oct 20, 2022 8:49 AM

Insights & Benefits of Attending Technology Conferences

by HubSite 365 about Adam Harmetz

VP of Product at Microsoft. Follow for career, product, and parenting thoughts. Enterprise SaaS, Microsoft Viva, SharePoint expertise.

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Gain insights from a Microsoft experts experience at tech conferences, exploring their impact on career development and the tech landscape.

Adam Harmetz, a seasoned product manager, shares his thoughts on tech conferences, specifically reflecting on his experiences at ESPC22 in Copenhagen, a conference dedicated to SharePoint, Teams, Viva, and Microsoft 365. After a three-year break due to the pandemic, he reveals a newfound perspective on business travel and its significance to his work.

Through sharing various moments that defined his journey at the conference, Harmetz reaffirms the importance of fostering a thriving economic ecosystem through platforms like SharePoint. Moreover, he highlights the value of the partner ecosystem in exhibiting diversity and adaptability with dynamic shifts like Staffbase acquiring Valo Intranets and AvePoint buying TyGraph. Observing the ecosystem dynamics allows Harmetz to assess his team's influence and the potential opportunities they create.

Serving as a product maker, Harmetz addresses the transformation in his work, especially the movement from the traditional UX models to the new Dashboard approach that enhances customer success. Networking with 'Super Fans', their appreciation and feedback aids in refining product features and establishing emotional connections with the software.

Building Human Connections

As a representative for Microsoft, Harmetz emphasizes the value of empathetic and inclusive relationships in the industry. The influence of their work extends beyond product creation to form the basis for people's career growth and mastery. The author is particularly moved by interactions where he has seen individuals use their tools, such as Viva Connections, to ramp-up their careers and contribute towards community growth.

He shares how tech conferences can serve as opportunities for open discussions on leadership, diversity, and inclusion, covering all ground from product design to implementation. Engaging with key IT Leaders, Harmetz establishes that the focus is to become 'journey makers' by facilitating adoption and modernization processes instead of simply delivering end-products.

Conferences are also great spaces for learning and finding insights about customer stories, product feedback, and adoption metrics. Through his eyes, we see how walkthroughs of product feedback with categories like Use Cases, Feature Requests, and Roadmap & Guidance confusion help him gain clarity and devise better approaches.

In sum, attaining the "big picture" of a product’s adoption curves through conferences like ESPC bridges the gap between developers and implementers, enabling a comprehensive narrative. Beyond the structured approach, Harmetz exclaims the delight in forming deep interpersonal connections and the richness they bring to the professional realm.

Read the full article Sharing the Point of Tech Conferences

Networking - Insights & Benefits of Attending Technology Conferences

Learn about Sharing the Point of Tech Conferences

If you are a product manager or a tech enthusiast eager to understand the impact of tech conferences, it's time to draw your attention to this comprehensive blog post. Through the eyes of an experienced tech leader, we move towards understanding the significance and essence of tech conferences. This enlightening piece will answer the 'Why?' of tech-based networking events, and help you explore opportunities to hone your professional skills.

In a seventeen-year tenure as a product manager in the enterprise technology sector, the protagonist of this post has attended over fifty such conferences, returning recently from a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Despite the logistical challenges, travel-related stress, and constant switch between time zones, being at the nerve center of technological advancements turns out to be an immersive experience. An interesting take is when he traces the parallel between nurturing an engaging economic ecosystem and having partners earn more than Microsoft itself, epitomizing the transformative power of partnerships.

As a new participant, you get to discover the diverse and vibrant ecosystem of partners relevant to every product. This includes the versatility of vendors offering security, backup plans, employee experience, intranet advances, BI solutions, content management solutions, and toolkits for IT teams. The transient nature of these alliances, as seen in the examples of certain business acquisitions, provides insights into the ongoing evolution in tech space.

This window into the tech world isn't just for acquainting with large scale operations, but also to recognize the pioneering work being done by smaller communities. The excitement resonates when a partner business thrives on the latest extension models from Microsoft, a mere idea not so long ago.

Such platforms grant unique opportunities to demonstrate new features and breakthroughs with a live audience, amplifying the recognition and the human connection between product creators and users. Take the instance of being able to demo the Calendar view of Microsoft Lists in front of a live audience - an extraordinary gift few can wish for that justifies the importance of customer delight beyond any usage graphs.

Building a tech product is more than just coding. For product managers, it is creating something that enables users to grow beyond the four walls of an office. The emotional high from appreciation, recognition, and super fan moments personify the crucial aspects of product making – creating an emotional connection with users. Nurturing super fans who express their passion for your products is a motivation and responsibility product makers cherish.

When Microsoft representatives attend these conferences, they not only establish a human connection with the tech community but also help shape careers and provide new opportunities for growth. Product lifecycle ownership and the ability to provide guidance to developers and operators play integral roles in career growth. Take, for example, Anoop, a newcomer who used the latest dev model to boost his career or others who have marked their career relying on the team’s release innovations. It is equally crucial to provide guidance and enable developers with our work, as it is in helping someone flourish in their careers.

Conferences are the bridge that not only connects you with the pulse of the industry but also pushes you beyond the bias of the tech teams focusing merely on innovation. They are also a reminder of the journeys tech leaders undertake following novel technologies and seeking partnerships. These platforms also offer a unique vantage point to collect customer feedback, monitor product adoption, and generate ideas that form future strategies.

The narrative gathered from such conferences culminates into a consolidated feedback that includes cool use cases, immediate feature requests, roadmap and guidance confusions, and possibly new backlog items. These insights become the roadmap for future product enhancements, even though each feature may not get immediate signal. Once armed with these data points, product managers can synthesize the product’s adoption curve and define the ‘zeitgeist’ of the product state.

Remember, conferences, apart from being venues for tech upliftment and networking, are also about people and expanding social interaction. While it might seem draining initially, especially for introverts, engaging conversations, career discussions, and sharing life experiences in a less hectic environment make these events delightful. As aptly noted in the blog post, you might find more quality time with your team at these conferences than in your everyday office life!

In conclusion, whether you're already in tech leadership or striving for it, conferences are an invaluable resource. They offer first-hand industry insights, trend predictions, ecosystem evolutions, and numerous growth opportunities, all making the experience worth the effort.

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