April 22

Quick Take: Key Trends and Takeaways from the New York Product Conference 2024

[Picture by attendee Denise Tilles]

The New York Product Conference 2024 attracted hundreds of product people from across the world to hear the latest trends, frameworks, and methods used to create world-class products. Each speaker challenged the audience with unique perspectives, which I share below in summary.

1. April Dunford – Crafting Product Sales Pitches

Trend: Emphasis on narrative-driven sales pitches. Summary: April Dunford highlighted the shift from feature-focused sales presentations to narrative-driven pitches that align with the buyer’s needs and market dynamics. This approach involves structuring the pitch to include market insights, a description of alternatives, a “perfect world” scenario, and the unique value the product offers, tailored to the buyer’s context.

2. Gabrielle Bufrem – First-Time Head of Product

Trend: Importance of customer-centric onboarding for product heads. Summary: Gabrielle Bufrem discussed the critical role of engaging directly with customers as a means for a new head of product to understand the market and product fit. She emphasized that direct customer interaction provides invaluable insights that help in shaping product strategy and operations.

3. Sahil Lavingia – Minimalism in Product Development

Trend: Lean product development and MVP focus. Summary: Sahil Lavingia advocated for a minimalist approach to product development, stressing the importance of identifying the core needs of the first customer and addressing these with the simplest viable product. This strategy supports organic growth and reduces complexity in the early stages of product development.

4. Quincy Olatunde – Emotional Intelligence in Product Leadership

Trend: Leveraging emotional intelligence for leadership. Summary: Quincy Olatunde’s insights revolved around the application of emotional intelligence in enhancing team dynamics, understanding customer needs, and managing stakeholders effectively. This approach helps in building more empathetic and responsive product management practices.

5. Zoia Kozakov – Change Management

Trend: Story-driven change management. Summary: Zoia Kozakov focused on the necessity of crafting compelling stories about both the problems and solutions when managing change, to motivate and guide teams through transitions effectively. This involves continuous communication and aligning the change with stakeholders’ goals.

6. Zane Van Dusen – Managing AI Products

Trend: Adaptive management for AI-driven products. Summary: Zane Van Dusen discussed the unique challenges of managing AI products, including the need for product managers to adapt their roles from being directive to more of a mentorship or coaching stance, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of AI behaviors.

7. Holly Hester Reilly – Product Science Principles

Trend: Evidence-based product strategies. Summary: Holly Hester Reilly introduced the concept of product science principles, where decision-making is driven by solid evidence gathered through continuous discovery and delivery cycles, empowering teams to make informed choices.

8. Dennis Crowley – The Art of the Pivot

Trend: Strategic agility in leadership. Summary: Dennis Crowley shared experiences from Foursquare’s pivot, emphasizing the importance of agility in business strategy and the need for leaders to recognize when strategic shifts are necessary to align with evolving market conditions and internal capabilities.

Paul McAvinchey

About the author

For over 20 years, Paul has been building and collaborating on digital products with fast-growing startups and global brands, including AOL and WMS Gaming. Currently, he's a co-founder of Product Collective, a worldwide community of product people. Members collaborate on in the exclusive Member Hub, meet at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference, listen to Rocketship.fm, learn at Product Interviews and get a weekly newsletters that includes best practices in product management. In recent years he led business development at DXY, a leading product design firm in the Midwest, and product innovation at MedCity Media, a publishing startup acquired by Breaking Media in 2015.


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