Transcript | My trip to ProductCamp | Maxwell Matson and Co.
The transcript from my podcast with the attendees of ProductCamp Atlanta
Max Matson 0:00
Right now I'm outside of product camp Atlanta. 2023. Two big events of the product people in Atlanta are here. And they're all here to talk about Guess what? Product
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real quick, could you tell everybody name and where you're coming from?
Mark Michelson 0:24
I'm Mark Michelson. I live here in Atlanta, and do marketing research and customer experience.
Max Matson 0:30
We're perfect. Um, so I'm just trying to kind of get a gauge on how people are thinking about AI how people feel about AI, and see if I can kind of take some learnings from that.
Mark Michelson 0:38
Oh, wow. Well, it's both good and bad. It I think the use is if you rely too much on AI. Yeah, you're gonna be in trouble. You know, I think it should supplement and not take over. Yeah. It's kind of like, you know, if you go to school, and you're like, hey, write your paper. You're not learning anything. That's
Max Matson 0:53
totally right. Totally.
Mark Michelson 0:54
But if you lose it for research, and then learn the pros and the style, I think it's great, but that's just that's just chatty BTW I like voice a guy personally. I think it's amazing how they can really mimic people and serve people on a customer service level. And I think it can help weed out people's problems before it goes into a a real person.
Max Matson 1:17
Absolutely. Good answer. Can I ask you in your career and kind of looking forward? How do you see AI changing your role changing the rules around?
Mark Michelson 1:27
No, it's fascinating. I do marketing research and I did a couple of studies last year on product right. And what it's really obscure stuff like pergola roofing that's polycarbonate roofing for fertilis. Right. And it's really hard to find those target. I had talked to builders of pergolas and backyards, or open park polycarbon. Did this big study, did interviews did survey gave the client that report, this is the summer in the fall, the chat GPD came out and I asked the question, how would you sell polycarbonate roofing to pergola builders? They gave the exact same thing I gave it in the same order as far as how to freak me out. But, you know, I think that was fantastic. But it was it was it was not creative thinking it was just assembling what is and it was a couple of years behind. If you're dealing with fast forward thinking, I don't know if he's gonna be there yet. But it's certainly supplements the thinking it's like, Let's go off the shoulders of what provides? And
Max Matson 2:28
Absolutely. Do you see AI becoming? You know, when we talk about like artificial general intelligence, right, like the big stuff, the Sci Fi stuff, do you see that being a reality within your laptop?
Mark Michelson 2:39
Yeah, sure. Yeah, I've done tons of work with Google and folks like that. And, you know, I think it's gonna play out a lot in in virtual reality and mixed reality. So AR VR, I think it's going to because the computing is involved in order to render that experience, wherever you are, visually, and all audio, right. I think it's gonna play a bigger role in that because right now it's programmed and that's the steps you have to go. Right. With AI. It's not as much it's
Anna McFarland 3:07
more fluid. I'm Anna McFarland, I am Director of Product Management at Paylocity.
Jennifer Cozier 3:13
Hey, there, I'm Jen, SVP product at exact Tara.
Max Matson 3:18
Thank you so much. So as product people, my first question is, are you more excited or afraid about the progress that's been made in the AI space recently?
Anna McFarland 3:28
I mean, definitely excited. Right. We're already incorporating it in our into our product. But we've just kind of started at the very basics. But one of the things I've been working with on my team is just brainstorming, what are the different ideas and things that we can do? And we have a whole data science team at my company. And so we've been working closely with them trying to figure out what's kind of next from that standpoint. So yeah, there's so much opportunity, I think,
Jennifer Cozier 3:50
definitely. And exactor. We're a tax software based in AI. So from the beginning, we've been leveraging AI. And now it's exciting because the market is more accepting of it. And then also, things that we were considering a couple of years ago are now more possible with the new technology. So super excited.
Max Matson 4:10
Absolutely. Perfect. So kind of a curveball, favorite product management framework and why?
Jennifer Cozier 4:17
Well, I love the pragmatic marketing framework. And I feel like it provides fundamentals that are not always there and some other products, you know, and just gives you the good baseline of what the realm a complete realm of product management is, like that one,
Max Matson 4:33
perfect, and he kind of mentioned marketing as a facet of it, right. So I wanted to ask, what is kind of your perception of the change that's occurring within the product role, right, you can see people shifting left into more tech engineering focused kind of slant and then people kind of shifting right into a more marketing focused slant. Do you see the product role existing as kind of a neutral in between role in the future?
Anna McFarland 4:58
I think that the product is good. be lots of different things. So there's always going to be product people that are more business focused or more user focused and, and more technical product managers that deal with the more technical side of things. So I think there's always a place for both. And there's a place for someone to be both at the same time as well, depending on, you know, the company and how it works. So
Jennifer Cozier 5:20
and I think it's it's kind of an it's an extended isn't it depends type of answer. Every situation is different. And then I also think the best product teams are a mix of some technical people, and then there will always be some who maybe have more strengths on the marketing side. So having that the right balance, the right mix is really
Max Matson 5:37
important. Perfect. And then final question. Do you anticipate Artificial General Intelligence kind of the Sci Fi level AI being a real reality within your lifetime or your children's lifetime? Yeah,
Anna McFarland 5:49
absolutely. I mean, it seems like it's, I would almost say, like, maybe it's like five years away? I don't know, that might be a little ambitious, but like, It totally feels possible at this point, based on where we're at.
Jennifer Cozier 6:01
I don't What do you think? Yeah. And I mean, I think it's just going to become more and more than norm. And it shouldn't be something that people are afraid of, it's something that frees up their time to do things like at work, we're strategic, versus these, you know, everyday tasks. So
Anna McFarland 6:17
it's gonna be like, what the computer was?
Jonathan Pierre-Louis 6:19
John, a computer?
Max Matson 6:21
Environment? Oh, yeah, of course, of course. So, Jonathan, as a product person. Are you more excited or afraid for your job for the future of the role with a if
Jonathan Pierre-Louis 6:31
not more excited? Yeah, I've already implemented in my daily work, makes my life 20 times easier. Stuff like creating my stories and makes it a lot easier favorite
Max Matson 6:40
product management framework and why?
Jonathan Pierre-Louis 6:43
circle's method, I believe it breaks down. It helps me go through all the stuff that I got to answer the question, right on scenario
Max Matson 6:52
like that definitive? Do you think that you'll see full on AGI like, you know, general intelligence in your lifetime? Or potentially, like in your children's lifetime?
Jonathan Pierre-Louis 7:02
Possibly, definitely. Because the way I'm looking at it, technology is a lot faster now. Like, for example, the iPhone came out in 2000, which definitely apps came out as well. So now we're two to 2023. And we have a guy that's doing this thing. I think it's gonna be even faster. So you might be able to see my laptop.
Brian Powers 7:23
Thanks, Max. Brian powers, formerly chief experience officer, I do independent consulting on product, roadmap, and AI, perfect,
Max Matson 7:33
perfect. Just the guy I wanted to talk to you spring as a product person. Are you more excited or afraid of what's going on with AI in the product space?
Brian Powers 7:41
Great question. Both because of the enabling technologies, it is replacing a lot of the mundane tasks. So I have kids that are just getting out of college. And I want to make sure that they're on the right path and not replaced by some generative AI in the future. But I see it as more an enabling technology. It's, I used to run call centers and 1000 people. And with the product teams building AI, we lifted the cognitive level of the conversation. By that I mean, the self service is done by the system's low level things, payments, questions, updates, you get that in the phone, chat bot mobile app, or you never call Amazon because it's intent based, they know you're gonna call so they preempt that with a conversation. So I think it's really helped out more than a turn.
Max Matson 8:27
Gotcha, gotcha. It's a great check. So kind of moving forward from there. What is your kind of opinion on AGI right, the Sci Fi type of stuff? Do you think that that'll occur in your lifetime?
Brian Powers 8:39
We see that more and more now. And I think if we reference back to the Jetsons, so many things that they predicted are now coming true. Right? So the Roomba, right, and they had the mobile made totally telework, right? The treadmill? We don't have the spaceships that we can drive around yet. Tesla's? Yeah. So I think a lot of the things that have been envisioned as like neat, are now becoming a reality. Right? We don't have the floating shoes like Michael J. Fox, or right back to the future. But I think if we crafted in a way and we use it for good, it's going to make a big positive impact in how we live our lives and not just work
Max Matson 9:19
right on the positive kind of kind of focus there. Something said I actually, you mentioned your kids, right? When you think about like them, and how they can prepare to not be replaced by generative AI? What are the kind of the tips that you're giving to them? Yeah,
Brian Powers 9:34
stay current, come to events like product camp Atlanta, right? Read up on LinkedIn, adapt, be ready to go back to the office, because there's a lot to be said for interpersonal communications, but constantly evolve. I just did a session on LinkedIn learning this week on generative AI just as a refresher and stay updated. So old dog new tricks, right? So just like trying to teach my pair and how to use your cell phone. We can't stop learning, we have to adopt an age where we're continuously learning and improving ourselves.
Max Matson 10:07
Perfect, perfect. Now, one last question for you. So there's a lot of talk these days about the changing role of product in organizations, people kind of shifting left into tech and being more engineering focus is shifting right into being more marketing focused. How do you see the future of that role?
Brian Powers 10:24
I see it as integrating, I've learned both the traditional p&l mindset of a product manager where you own the roadmap, you own the product, and the distribution of that through marketing, go to market plan sales, and you're accountable for everything. Now, a lot more of the product is product owners who develop an orphan, and then they revisit as needed, so it's become much more agile. So they can jump in, jump out. And I think that model fits more with a lot of the interest of the younger generation now, where they don't want to have a product that they own for years and years and years, they want to morph evolve. So we're having a lot of churn in the product management, because once someone has AI in their title, and they've done this generative model, building a chatbot, and interactive virtual agent for the phone system, their value increases drastically. So we have to have a model that supports all these modular pieces, and they're going to come and go, and you have to be ready for it.
Ira Ponomarova 11:20
My name is Ira and a product manager for about 10 years. My last job was inspire brands now, for years, I took a break from Ukrainian and it was taking care of all the Ukrainian events and fundraisers but now I'm like, back to the workforce trying to remember like, what is product management?
Max Matson 11:40
That's a good place to go to.
Ira Ponomarova 11:43
Like, you know, being surrounded, but like all this like lingo,
Max Matson 11:49
all the terms, you you would think
Ira Ponomarova 11:51
like 10 years, it's enough, like, you know, to be always up honoring everything. Like literally when you wake up. After a year off, you're like, What is this?
Max Matson 12:07
That's perfect. So just to jump right in. So as a product person, are you more excited or afraid slash anxious of kind of the recent developments in the AI space?
Ira Ponomarova 12:19
I'm not excited, we're scared because pretty much the job of product manager, I don't feel it is challenging, because pretty much like always it was first that you have to take care about user needs, right? Or like your stakeholder needs, or just working the product and then like at a very late stage should come to solutions, right? So again, we have like the whole set up like AI solutions to choose from now. But the job of Product Management manager it like doesn't really change. So you just like take care of all that like solutions you have available now. Which is like pretty cool, right? You can you have another set you could like learn and just produce like that. Results like faster. So it's good. See, I'm more excited. It's gonna break
Max Matson 13:22
I'm here with Hali. Would you mind telling everybody why we're
Hali Jewell 13:25
sure. So I have the privilege of serving as President of Product camp Atlanta. Product camp is the most fun that you can have in Atlanta. I used to say on a Saturday, now on a Friday and this year at the fantastic Georgia Aquarium. Another good reason to be here on a Friday. And it's really just a collaborative unconference where people who are passionate about something come together in this case product management, we are product managers, practitioners who want to be better at the craft of building products and taking them to market. So everyone's out, just learning and collaborating and networking and growing. And we're so glad that you guys are here.
Max Matson 14:02
Thanks so much, Alex.
Ankush Singla 14:04
My name is Santosh Singla. I am working on a startup idea right now.
Max Matson 14:08
founder of a company. Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me. Yep, sure. So as a product person, this person building, obviously in the ad space, I have to imagine that you're pretty pro right? Sure represents Okay. Okay. So with that nuance, are you more excited or concerned? Let's say societally for the long term impacts of AI?
Ankush Singla 14:29
I think there there's a little bit of both. I think there has to be right. I think the potential that AI can provide is huge. But with that comes a lot of responsibility that practitioners need to think about on a day to day basis. And I I'm concerned that there aren't enough people that think about that stuff, honestly. But the excitement level is huge.
Max Matson 14:47
Absolutely. Amazing. Thank you so much.
Matt Kasner 14:52
Max Matson 14:54
would you mind introducing yourself with the camera?
Matt Kasner 14:56
Yeah, I'm Matt Kasner. I run go to market players here. Oh, with this guy and that guy behind the camera,
Max Matson 15:02
right on, you can you can turn it around. Perfect. So Matt, we're here we're at this beautiful aquarium. I didn't see I'm sick. On that threat. Would you ever own an AI animal? Like, perhaps God or from Jimmy Neutron? For those who are familiar?
Matt Kasner 15:25
That's actually a really great question. So there's a lot of products that are coming out that really try to simulate the partnership between pets and elderly. And I've seen these kind of in the works. And what's really great about that is you get to a point where you want that personal connection with with an animal, right? Because that keeps you feeling young, it keeps you doing things, but also like caring for a pet the right way, keeping them alive. Like, you know, it's really tough. So I think as I age for sure, I like kind of the squirrel Enos of like a living being right now. Right? But like an AI like automated robot style animal? Yeah, one day, I think when I get nice and old and start losing my mind, it'd be nice to have something, keep any company that will die. Great, great
Max Matson 16:09
answer. Follow up question. If you could use AI to achieve immortality, would you
Matt Kasner 16:16
know why I think extending life yes. But there's something so meaningful about the end being imminent, like it just like it is. And I think you live every day differently. If you knew that, like you could just live forever, right? And so I think there's something about living in the moment, and taking the most out of every day that you would lose for sure. And I think the relationships you build would feel a lot different to the philosophical
Max Matson 16:43
Kanesha (Shay) Patterson 16:45
My name is Shay Patterson, and I'm a product manager here in Atlanta.
Max Matson 16:49
Awesome. So my first question for you is, as a product person, here in Atlanta, are you more excited or afraid for the progress that AI has made, and its impact on your role?
Kanesha (Shay) Patterson 17:01
Excited, there's so many different things that product has, that I've seen do for product managers. And for the special, it's really interesting, sorry, I couldn't help but like, notice it. But AI has helped in so many different ways. When it comes to documentation, when it comes to asking discovery questions, you know, to your client, I'm just helping refine those questions that you need. And that's just on the surface level, you know, things that I've actually dived into when it comes to AI. So I'm super excited for it. I think streamlining and increasing, you know, productivity output, when it comes to my role,
Max Matson 17:42
right on. Can I ask you, when it comes to like Customer Success and Support stuff, right? Do you feel that AI is an asset or a liability?
Kanesha (Shay) Patterson 17:52
When it comes to customer success and support? Is AI an asset or liability?
Max Matson 17:58
Because I don't know about you, but every time I call somewhere, and I notice it's a robot? I kind of really want to hang up?
Kanesha (Shay) Patterson 18:07
I don't know. Well, the first question that I have is as AI been integrated? Or is that more of an, like an IVR system that has these pre built questions built into it to answer you know, I don't know what that would be called? Is it machine language or learning? Or, you know, maybe that is a I don't know, those fields I agree with you like when I call in it does get frustrating because the way that they're working now, it's not really answering your questions, they don't understand everything that you're asking. So I like it, it does need some support of its own to help you know increase the customer support and experience that people receive. So like can you do some work? Keep keep going for the people who are building out those systems just keep going.
Max Matson 18:51
Keep going. So final question for you. Have you gotta have one superpower enabled by AI? And I'm gonna say interpret this however you want. Job life, you can fly, you know, swim real fast? I don't know.
Kanesha (Shay) Patterson 19:09
I don't know. I've never been great at asking or answering excuse me that superpower question because I think I'm pretty dope my darn so like just to be honest. It would be completely cool you know to be able to talk to animals there you go. That would be my That's it right there. Yeah, why not? I'm pretty sure that no more than what we do on another level. So to be able to get that knowledge and then apply it to what we're doing here on Earth would be great. So being able to speak to animals why not? All right, well, thank
Max Matson 19:43
you so much. To the fit check real quick
Well, would you mind introducing yourself real quick?
Hyun Soo Lim 19:56
Yeah, my name is Han Soo people call me Sue. I I'm just because it's easy. What do you do? So I'm an account manager over a bunch of IT consulting firms, but now I'm with resolve it, which is one of the sponsors over here at product camp.
Max Matson 20:14
Awesome. So you can ask you, are you more excited or scared about the progress that's been made with AI recently?
Hyun Soo Lim 20:22
I'm excited. For sure. I'm gonna ask you why? Just because like, one. So at first, like, there are some scary situations, I think, for people that are in certain industries that may think that AI is going to take their job, but it's like, okay, well, then now you can, it gives them the ability to learn, now develop and figure out where can and build, and I feel like that makes it so it's like, it creates more jobs at the end of the day, and it can still be automated certain things in supply chain management or like certain just trying to relate to what I do. But yeah, I'm excited because I think it opens the door and makes a lot of like, maybe doing my emails and things like that generic like people. So I spoke with the CTO Field Service CTO at a company the other day, and he said, I want your resume chat up teed. Like I said, you don't want to personalize like, I thought, that's what people were looking for. He said, No, we want the skill sets. We want it this way. And I'm like, That's kind of weird to hear. But he's like, then it makes us so we can filter through easily easier what we're looking for. And I was like, okay, that's exciting. You know, it's exciting, but it's like, it makes it okay, now easy. It makes my life easier. But it also makes whatever I'm trying to utilize Sandow?
Animesh Koratana 21:41
Yeah, my name is automatic Cortana. I'm the founder and CEO of Twitter zero. I just look out for my bad.
Max Matson 21:50
So there's a lot of talk these days about kind of the product, right? There's people shifting left and engineering people shifting right into marketing. How do you see that role changing in the next, let's say three years?
Animesh Koratana 22:01
We'll shifting left into marketing. Yeah. Okay.
Max Matson 22:07
Splitting ran into more of an engineering focus. Yeah, more of a marketing focus. Yeah. Do you think that there's a path kind of in between those two disciplines? Do you see the product management role continuing as it is?
Animesh Koratana 22:18
No, I don't actually. Yeah, I think actually, I think we're seeing this across the entire world where, especially in markets and capital markets, where money is tightening a little bit and things really needs to be measurable. You basically kind of see money flowing to the two big kind of centers, the suspend centers of a company, I think, one is revenue ops. So that's like sales, marketing, stuff like that. And then the other was basically engineering, right? And so you have your, you know, like, net new kind of money into the business. And then if that, then your biggest cost center is engineering. And so I think you know, where product managers are really going to shine in the future are going to be people who can really help influence output in one of these two areas. And so you're gonna see product managers that move much farther to revenue ops, right, or just understanding and executing on revenue. Or you're gonna see people on the engineering side who can really understand how to connect that to the actionable pieces. What do we build? How do we build it and how do we do it better? Yeah.
Max Matson 23:21
Thank you so much.
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