What is ProductCamp?
ProductCamp is a free, non-profit, user-driven, collaborative and professional “unconference” for anyone who builds, designs, markets or manages a product or service. It is a production of the St. Louis Product Management Group and is generally held annually in February or March. ProductCamp St. Louis 2023 was our 10th annual event (not counting 2021 & 2022 that were cancelled due to the pandemic).
The Concept Grows Worldwide
ProductCamp started in Silicon Valley in 2008. Now 50+ cities around the world (in North America, Europe, Australia and India) have ProductCamp events. In 2014 ProductCamp St. Louis had the third largest registration of all ProductCamps held that year (worldwide!). At that time we capped attendance at 400. ProductCamp St. Louis has seen 400+ registrants each year nearly every year since.
Unlike a “traditional” conference, the agenda for a ProductCamp event isn’t selected by the organizers and generally isn’t planned in advance. That is why the event is often referred to as “unconference.” Everyone in attendance will vote on the sessions to be held from the submissions received in advance and up to the morning of the event. In past years ProductCamp St. Louis has offered 20-30+ different sessions during the day.
How do I know if I should attend if I don’t know what’s on the agenda?
You can check out the proposed sessions prior to the event to see some of the topics that have been proposed.
The great thing about a ProductCamp is that the sessions are chosen by the participants, not the organizers, so there’s a much higher chance the sessions will be interesting and relevant. Additionally, ProductCamps follow the “two-foot rule”: if you’re in a session and want to leave, use your two feet and go somewhere else.
Most ProductCamp participants don’t complain about there not being good sessions. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite — they complain that there are too many good sessions going on at once and they can’t get to them all. Again, the “two-foot rule” encourages you to sample multiple sessions, rather than feeling trapped in one room because you don’t want to offend the session leader.
Who Should Attend?
Anyone who builds, designs, markets or manages a product or service will benefit from ProductCamp St. Louis. If you’re interested in transforming your business you should attend. If your job title has anything to do with products or marketing or business development or if you’re the owner of a business you should attend. In the past we’ve attracted project managers, business analysts and venture capitalists, among others too.
ProductCamp St. Louis is special because it offers a unique opportunity to rub shoulders and exchange ideas with people you might not come in contact with in everyday life. Our participants come from a wide variety of industries: agriculture, manufacturing, biotech, financial and professional services and so many more. Attendees come from businesses large and small (from Fortune 500 companies to solo-preneurs). You’ll meet people who work in B2B, B2C and non-profits.
No Attendees, No Presenters, Just Participants
As a participant-driven event, ProductCamp attendees are expected to contribute in some way before or during the event.
So how am I expected to participate/contribute?
You can …
- Submit a Session Topic– Consider a topic that you can share and register to host a session
- Volunteer – Help manage specific organizational tasks and activities at or before the event
- Sponsor – Corporate contributions offset costs to keep the event free
- Promote –Get the word out about ProductCamp through blogs, tweets, newsletters, websites, newspapers, etc.
Product Camp’s goal is to provide an environment to learn, exchange ideas and network–NOT to promote a particular product or service.
How much does it cost to attend?
Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, ProductCamp St. Louis has always been (and we expect it will continue to be) free! While every sponsor contribution is much appreciated and will be recognized, no contribution is required to be a participant. However, as explained above, there is a “cost” to attend as everyone is expected to contribute in some way.
Space is limited, so we encourage you to reserve your spot early!