Like all good things, the Product-Led Festival has come to an end.

It was a glorious celebration of product-led strategies that have helped guide many organizations through the kaleidoscope shaking events of 2020.

Over 3,200 (and counting) product professionals attended the 41 sessions, with 100s of questions asked, comments shared, and networking connections made. Yup, it was epic.

From go-to-market strategies to structuring product teams, the breadth and depth of topics was huge, however, there were recurring themes and trends that appeared across the board...and we’re here to uncover the top 5 key takeaways you need to know.


Machine Learning is worth learning right now

Machine learning (ML) is now part and parcel of all our lives and whether you realize it or not, it’s in a vast array of products, organizations, and decision-making processes.

If you haven’t got to grips with the basics, then now is the time to start. As the proverb goes, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is now.

We saw many sessions covering ML basics, implementation, and best practices with the common theme throughout being that an understanding of the fundamentals is becoming more important for product managers.

As the technology becomes more readily available and widespread across industries, ML will be appearing on more PM job applications so be pro-active, and educate yourself.

Resources for understanding ML:

Data is king

There are thoughts we are simply unequipped to think, according to late philosopher Jerry Fodor. Data, and the explosive volume in which it’s now harvested, provides our tiny brains with such black holes in understanding.

For context:

  • In 2019, PwC believed there to be 4.4 zettabytes of data in the world.
  • A zettabyte is the equivalent of 1,099,511,627,776 gigabytes.
  • The IDC predicts by 2025, there will be 175 zettabytes of data in the world.
  • That’s 192,414,534,860,800 gigabytes.
  • Even with great internet speed, that would take 1.8 billion years to download.

The good thing is, we’ve created stuff that can comprehend these insanely large numbers.

Collecting, handling, visualizing, and presenting data is now more than ever a vital part of being a product manager.

Having a background in data science is a plus, but not having a Ph.D. in it is not going to hold you back.

Similarly to ML, a firm grip of the basics of data science could prove to be a must in the near future for a wider variety of PM roles, not just the more technical positions out there.

Product analytics is changing

As sure as a change of season brings a new range of novelty overpriced coffee at Starbucks, a change in data means a change in product analytics.

According to Ross Walker of Mixpanel:

“If it wasn’t already, product analytics will become critical to any brand’s ability to anticipate these changes and ultimately survive.”

He’s not wrong. Product analytics can be the key to success for many businesses looking to reinvigorate their product offerings and constantly improve their features.

To understand your product analytics maturity, take a look at Mixpanel’s ‘Advance Your Product Analytics Strategy’ guide below.

Mixpanel’s strategy guide

Increased diversity makes for better products

Taking into account a wider array of opinions, datasets, and lived experiences is delivering better products, period.

Investing in demographics that are traditionally under-represented in data science roles can create brand new opportunities for your product by involving new perspectives in product creation.

Not only that but with the aforementioned increased prevalence of machine learning in a greater variety of industries, it is crucial to make sure that any human biases do not make their way into products, by being challenged and acknowledged during product development.

There was also an emphasis on making your product more accessible. Sukriti Chadha’s team at Spotify spent the past year ensuring that those with disabilities can use Spotify’s latest features with ease.

They estimated that 24% of the US has some form of disability, so by allowing easy use of your product for these groups, you are being inclusive and creating a whole new outlet for both users and your product.

Check out more of Spotify’s great accomplishments that led to their recent crowning as the Product-Led Team of the Year, below.

The product-led wave is rising

Somewhat unsurprisingly, we pride ourselves on advocating a product-led approach. It’s kind of our mission statement.

And the Product-Led Festival proved exactly why.

Breaking stride with the traditional view of product-led strategies existing solely within B2B SaaS companies, we saw legacy media organizations, travel companies, ridesharing startups, and a huge swath of diverse organization types take to the virtual stage to flex their product-led guns.

The approaches taken were not identical between any two companies, but we witnessed a core theme of our passionate product pros stating how they had purposefully and intentionally built their product functions around a product-led guided focus.

By constantly delivering exactly what the customer wants, using the latest data collection tools and techniques, and having the org-wide alignment to facilitate change, our speakers demonstrated how they had truly driven growth.

More and more companies, and even individuals within companies, are adopting product-led strategies to future-proof their businesses and make the most valuable products they can.

We are extremely proud, and incredibly fortunate, to have hosted an event displaying the best the product-led world has to offer, and we can’t wait to deliver even more insights, frameworks, guides, debates, and more, every single day.

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