Happy Birthday to You, ProductCamp Austin!

Reposted with permission from Paul Young. The original post can be found here on Paul’s Product Beautiful blog.

Happy Birthday to You, ProductCamp Austin!

By Paul Young on May 25, 2011

ProductCamp Austin is celebrating its third birthday next month!  If you are in Austin on Wednesday, June 1st, you should come join us for cake, beer, and networking (not necessarily in that order).  As of today, there are already over 75 people signed up!

Three years ago, I started ProductCamp Austin, inspired byProductCamp Silicon Valley and the various BarCamps that were being held worldwide.  Over the years, as the BarCamp scene has started to fade, ProductCamp has exploded in growth – there are nowProductCamps on nearly every continent and in most major cities in the U.S.

Austin has been a trend setter for other ProductCamps, and the model and positioning we’ve created have resonated and been replicated by many other planning teams in other cities.  I’m proud that the planning team in Austin has provided strong logistical and moral support to these other groups in helping them think about how to structure sponsorships, recruit session leaders, manage volunteers, and maintain the spirit of ProductCamp that permeates these great events.

Over time, the planning team for ProductCamp Austin realized that ProductCamp had grown (at least locally) beyond just an event, it had become an organization.  Since Austin doesn’t have a strong Product Management association like SVPMA, ProductCamp Austin has filled that void.  In the last 18 months, PCA has put on events that span camps, such as ProductPotlucks (mini, one-session ProductCamps+networking) and pure networking events like ProductParties.  These allow the Austin product management and marketing community a place to gather, see and be seen, recruit, and socialize.

In order to continue in this important role in the Austin community, ProductCamp has had to grow as an organization.  We started that process in the Summer of 2010 at ProductCamp Austin 5 by starting the process of establishing a non-profit 501c(3) organization and by electing a Board of Directors to oversee the charter and direction of ProductCamp Austin.  Today, that board meets regularly to plan new events and keep the PCA flame burning.  The board members are all talented and dedicated – and are also overtaxed.  They need your help, now.

Today, I put out a call to everyone who has benefitted from ProductCamp Austin: it is time for you to step up and give back to your community.  The PCA Board needs planning team leads to help coordinate and run the next ProductCamp Austin event in August.  At the PCA birthday party next week, the board will be recruiting team leads and volunteers to help make this event a reality.  While the board members don’t all have the resources to be PCA event planning team leads, we now have a strong and deep bench of experience in what it takes to put on a PCA event. Austin’s product management and marketing community needs YOU to step up as a team lead. Show up on Wednesday June 1st and volunteer, it will be the best decision you’ve ever made for your career.

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If you have questions about what putting on a ProductCamp entails, please feel free to email me.  I’ve served in every role on the planning team and done everything from define the original positioning for ProductCamp to recruiting the original sponsors.  I’m always available to anyone who wants to help put on a camp to understand what it takes.  ProductCamp Austin 7 is scheduled for August 6, 2011 and everyone is invited!  Hope to see you there!

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