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Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Product Manager's Experience at "world's largest and most international computer expo"

Spent last Monday (March 16, 2015) at CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, which claims to be the "world's largest and most international computer expo". I've heard about it for years and finally wanted to experience it firsthand. I also thought I'd use the opportunity to spread the word about my product management consulting and training services. Here's a quick rundown of my experience:

  • CeBIT is absolutely huge! I would say there were 10 exhibition buildings filled to the rafters with all kinds of high tech companies, from IBM and Microsoft to startups from Romania
  • I didn't see anything that blew me away from a technology perspective, so it didn't have the feel (to me) of anything like a consumer electronics show
  • The revenue this thing must generate is MIND-BLOWING. I'm sure there were several 6-digit vendor pods/booths/areas.

The most salient memory I took away was that virtually all of these people, each in the computer hardware or software business, knew NOTHING AT ALL ABOUT PRODUCT MANAGEMENT. Granted, the place was lousy with marketing and sales folks, which makes perfect sense. However, it was a bit disheartening that in discussions with folks in various positions (sales, HR, marketing) from organizations of all sizes from around the world, I basically had to start  from scratch with respect to explaining our profession. I didn't test the waters in this respect, but I'm convinced all those people would have claimed knowledge of other positions/disciplines in software such as CEO, developer, architect, sales, marketing and support.

Not exactly shocking, but it is clear we have our work cut out for us. Let's make 2015 the year PM emerges from the shadows.

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