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Product Camp 2018

By 15/11/2018November 17th, 2018No Comments

Our data animation software Dancing Data is in the beta testing phase.  Currently data-enthusiast volunteers can use the software tool for their own analytic or presentation purposes free of charge, in exchange for their user feedback and opinions on how Dancing Data should be further developed.  Truly a win-win relationship!

In anticipation and correlation of Dancing Data’s continued development, I attended Ottawa’s Product Camp on Saturday November 10th in Kanata’s Terry Fox business park.  Product Camp is an annual “non-conference” intended for professionals and entrepreneurs working in product commercialization, including marketing, sales, product management, UX research & design, etc.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself at Product Camp 2018.  The facilities, food, and people were all great and I came back with so much exciting knowledge and inspiration, that it is going to be a challenge to stay concise with the summary of the event!

Therefore, for simplicity’s sake, here are my top five highlights of Product Camp 2018, starting with bigger concepts and narrowing down to the currently relevant.

  1. A picture of the near future.

Tracey DeLeeuw, Commercial Technology Products Leader in Global Markets at Ernst & Young LLP, brought the near future into focus as she discussed her work with the city of Toronto, towards becoming the first smart city in Canada, and emerging trends in product development across the globe. Her insights included the concept of digital twins; the disruptive nature of 3D printing on manufacturing and shipping, how it will change city planning, the customizability and purchasing of products; the consideration of a product’s “second life” and its importance from a social and commercial perspective.

  1. Reaffirmation that Ottawa is the hot spot!

Kelly Daize, Director of Autonomous and Connected Vehicle Program at Invest Ottawa, showed us the newest Invest Ottawa video and re-affirmed my belief that “Ottawa has it going on”.  Did you know that Ottawa is home to some of the world’s leaders in health technology, software, communications and technology, and defence and security?  Did you know much of IBM Watson was developed here in Ottawa?  Did you know we have the first autonomous vehicle test site in Canada?  I could go on!  Needless to say, I was impressed at how much Ottawa has to offer now and its potential for the future.

  1. Importance of Corporate Culture

Eli Fathi, co-founder & CEO of MindBridge Analytics Inc., explained the development of his company and product that uses AI and machine learning to detect discrepancies in financial data.  He shared his insights on successful product development and the importance of corporate culture.  I will be adopting many of the Mindbridge mantras for our own tech team as we grow.  Eli was one of my favourite presenters due to his style, tone, anecdotes and advice!

  1. Networking

The schedule at Product Camp was busy, with sometimes three presentations in different rooms at one time. Each 20 – 30 minute session was interluded by a social break with plenty of opportunity for networking.  Additionally, I found the power-networking facilitated by Tim Ragan especially efficient and good practice for refining the Dancing Data pitch.  I met some interesting people and have several contacts to reconnect with.

  1. Applicable information to Dancing Data

Unique to Product Camp was the option to vote on the topic of presentations after the keynote speakers. Luckily the ones I voted for were selected to present!  My favourite presenters were both from Klipfolio and had the most applicable information to offer for Dancing Data’s development.  David Mennie’s topic Lessons from High-Growth SaaS and Stephen Yates’s topic Strategy, Agile, OKRs provided me with insight on the effectiveness of an efficient method, like Agile combined with OKRs, in a climate of fast growth in the SaaS industry.

Overall, everything I learned at Product Camp can be connected to the development of Dancing Data.  Gaining a clearer picture of future trends and opportunities, world wide and in our home town Ottawa, confirms to me that a product such as Dancing Data is in great need.  In order to make sense of expanding sources of data, demand for a product to analyze, understand, and present data will only increase.   Through a sound corporate culture, collaboration with talented people and established product development methods, Dancing Data is sure to become a success.