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Product Leadership : The journey has begun!

In a few ways, it feels like the cult track “we didn’t start the fire” moment today. Iconic. Memorable. Hummable… one that stays on one’s mind through the day. And about a journey.

The most anticipated and awaited day of the first ever Product Leaders Forum (PLF) event PLF2015 in Bangalore successfully concluded on 20th Feb. And oh boy, what a spectacular journey it has been so far!! Here are a top 5 highlights of the day and journey:

1. Deep, distilled and inspiring conversations with 30+ industry practitioners and leaders on what product leadership is, why it is important and how companies and individuals need to go about it.
The stirring and straight off the bat panel discussion with Vijay Anand – MD Intuit India; Alok Goel – CEO Freecharge; Amit Phadnis – Head Cisco India, Ram Narayanan, MD eBay India, Sanjay Purohit – CEO EdgeVerve uncovered how product leadership is about a mindset that requires unwavering customer focus in all aspects of business; it is about the ownership shift from mere delivery to creating value; being driven to acquire required skills; and an unsatisfying passion! It is a journey that starts with internalizing product leadership, creating and building that mindset; and the attendees at PLF2015BLR got off to a great start. Thank you to all product gurus who have had the dream and lived the dream; to come ahead and share with the eco-system as a call for action. And what better than leaving the crowd with the new Sholay mantra to think about it as a change from “Kitne aadmi they” se “Kaunse aadmi they”!

2. As promised it was all about candid conversations and no-gyan! Be it panel discussions, best practice workshops, career tracks or skill-building tracks; there were a lot of questions, tips and tricks shared with the audience. One of the popular one that had the crowd noticably making rapid notes was around office politics ;)! On a serious note, PLF covered all topics from the 50-feet view of the vision for without that one can easily go astray, to the various tracks to destination, skills needed for those, and how one can be organizationally effective in making those happen!

3. PLF2015 also had a special gift for all participants! Rich Mironov, THE product guru from Silicon Valley joined us! In Rich’s own words, product people are a tribe and we all grow by sharing and learning and sharing with each other. It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to have Rich with us and closely participate in the conversations! Rich also shared his views on how we at India can build a Silicon valley like thriving eco-system; and the biggest take away was on “paying it forward”. Thanks Rich for showing your support and joining us—we can’t thank you enough. We will pay it forward too!

4. With all that accomplished at the event, it sounds like the plan coming to action as planned. It wouldn’t have been without the driven volunteer team. Pulling off something of this effect with full time day-jobs doesn’t come without relentless and untiring efforts. But the volunteer team made it happen even if it meant a few sleepless nights. But that is the magic of “purposeful volunteering”. You do it once and you want to do it the next time and the next time and the next time too! What an investment to come out of PLF2015 to have a volunteer team that has already begun cranking on the next set of things! And true to the word, PLF2015 Pune as well as PLF2016 Bangalore were announced at the event!

5. Let’s take a pause though. What would all this be without the audience?!? We had a full house of attendees!! It felt like the personification of Ayn Rands quote “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me”. Thanks to all aspiring and practising product leaders for the great turn out and being a great crowd! The event couldn’t have been such a success without your support. We so ran out of space to host any more that we had to sadly decline accepting further registrations, and we truly apologize for that. But we promise to make it bigger for you the next time around! Stay tuned!

The action packed day ended with a number of prizes being given away and a special message from Rich Mironov. There was this unsaid feeling in the room that a little down the line the big product leaders tribe will look back and sing “we didn’t start the fire, it was always burning…”. As wikipedia perfectly describes the Billy Joel track to have “captured the major images, events, and personalities of this half-century in a three-minute song... It was pure information overload, a song that assumed we knew exactly what he was singing about...What was truly alarming was the realization that we, the listeners, for the most part understood the references.” This journey of product leadership is going to be something like that…full of events, images, personalities, realization and for the most part understanding the references…and the audience understanding and humming those references.

For now, we’d like to formally wrap up PLF2015 Bangalore with “we did start the fire…”


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