Product Chemistry – Making the Connections

May 8, 2017 @ Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, MN

Elevated user demands, heightened technical complexity and the expectation of rapid delivery are pulling product teams in opposite directions. More and more, product leaders are forced to unify these interests in the name of getting something out the door.

During this year’s Product Conference, we’ll explore how product leaders create “product chemistry” by connecting business-based architecture, sensible customer experience and a DevOps pipeline for good. Through these connections, we’ll dig into the changing landscape of product leadership, what’s next for us in these roles, and how product can thrive in this rapidly changing environment.

Register here


8:00 am – Check-in/Breakfast/Vote on Open Tracks

9:00 – 9:45 am – Session 1 (Chris Powers, Paul Pelosi, Patrick Dawson)

10:00 – 10:45 am – Session 2 (Dave Mathias, Esra Kucukciftci, Kelly Robbert, Voted Track)

11:00 – 11:45 am – Session 3 (Alicia Dixon, Jason Selby, Dr. Sean Otto, Voted Track)

11:45 am – 1:00 pm – Lunch

1:00 – 1:45 pm – Session 4 (Peter Pascale, Edward Chenard, Beth McKeever, Voted Track)

2:00 – 2:45 pm – Session 5 (Anne Steiner, Kristen Womack, Dr. William O. Beeman, Voted Track)

3:00 – 3:45 pm – Fish Bowl

3:45 – 4:30 pm – Closing/Beer-o-spective

Submit your talk idea for our open track!

NEW THIS YEAR – One speaking track is reserved for you, the attendees. Sign up below to share your ideas, stories, and experiences along this theme. Conference attendees will vote to determine which topics will be shared during the conference.

Email us at with your ideas.


  • Dave Mathias

    Product and Analytics Strategist at Beyond the Data LLC

    Making Good Products Great with Data and Analytics:

    No matter what your product, data & analytics matter. In fact, data can become the product or a side product to your existing product. Data & analytics are not just something handled by a product manager or a data scientist but rather it is a team dynamic and, to get the chemistry right, takes the right group of people. Come to this session to learn about where to start in this data & analytics journey or, if you’re already on this journey, tips on making it more successful so your good product can become great with data & analytics.

  • Alicia F. Dixon

    Senior Product Manager at Hilton Inc.

    We Need to Talk: It’s Not Me, It’s Your Product…Recovering from a Lack of Product Chemistry:

    In today’s world, everyone is quick to think that you only get one shot at winning the customer over. However, with emerging technologies sometimes you actually might get a second chance. Just like in the dating world, the world of courting customers is full of hits and misses. Sometimes the customer gets tired of kissing frogs or there just aren’t other fish in the sea, so they are willing to give you another shot. Whether your customer has tried the alternatives and didn’t find them any better or if your customer hasn’t found an alternative that provides the same solution, that customer just might come back to you. This talk will address how to recover from a lack of instant product chemistry, what to do to repair the relationship, and how not to blow your second chance.

  • Peter Pascale

    Vice President of Product at Pearson VUE

    Build a Better Roadmap, and the World Will Beat a Path to Your Door

    A paper map (remember those?) lays out the territory, and you use it to identify where you could go, and how to get there. A product roadmap does the same thing for your product. A good product roadmap supports sounds decision-making about product investment and underpins your evaluation of growth opportunities. But unlike the paper map, no-one is going to publish the roadmap for you. This session will give you the tools to develop and publish a roadmap for your own product, including techniques, examples, best practices, and traps to avoid.

  • Kelly Robbert

    Director of Customer Experience at TCF Bank

    Leading Great Customer Experience:
  • William Beeman

    Professor and Chair for the Department of Anthropology at the University of Minnesota

    Harnessing the Power of Anthropology in Product Design:

    Anthropology provides powerful tools in the design process. Product and service designers often use a popular template for the design process, which involves first understanding consumer needs and desires, imagining a design product, prototyping, creating and testing that product, and finally assessing user experience. Frequently in this process, both the initial and the final stages involving deep understanding of the consumer are neglected. Anthropological methodology provides powerful tools for understanding these needs, desires, and experiences; which are frequently unarticulated and unarticulatable on the part of consumers. Anthropology aides the design process in another way: by articulating and assessing change in consumer needs and desires, often unanticipated in the design process. In this talk, I will show how harnessing the power of this methodology leads to better, more consistently positive results for designers and manufacturers.

  • Jason Selby

    Vice President of Engineering at Leadpages

    Let’s Talk About our Relationship… with Customers:

    Founded in 2013, Leadpages creates simple, beautiful software and web apps that allow businesses to grow large and devoted audiences. They believe compelling online marketing doesn’t need to be time consuming and tedious. From their start, Leadpages enjoyed near-immediate product-market fit and the rapid growth that accompanies it. But three years in, the pain from that growth was starting to show. As Product and Engineering teams grew in size, the pace of new features slowed, intimacy with the market declined and competitors emerged in a segment Leadpages helped create. This session will go in-depth to discuss the problems Leadpages encountered, unconventional (and innovative) changes to the org structure they implemented, and the lessons learned along the way.

  • Pat Dawson

    Principal & CX Strategist at CongaCX

    Product Chemistry: Connecting with Customers’ Emotions:

    Everyone knows their customers’ rational needs, right? But did you know that tapping in their emotional needs is a greater driver of customer preference? Learn how to unearth those emotions needs and fulfill them in your experience design. Pat Dawson is Principal and CX Strategist for CongaCX and a recognized leader in the field of Customer Experience insights, strategy and design.

  • Sean Otto

    Vice President of Analytics at Cyient Insights

    Through the Looking Glass: Challenges and Trends in Designing Connected Products that Deliver Outstanding Customer Experiences: 

    The Internet of Things has been around for a few years now and while companies are spending millions of dollars digitizing legacy products and/or coming out with new connected products, we are still in our infancy of how to do it right. Whether you are an industrial manufacturer or a medical company or a software company, come learn about the burgeoning ecosystem of processes, skills, and talent required to make these connected dreams, connected realities.

  • Edward Chenard

    Founder of Cyberian Data

    The Team Ecosystem of Data Products:

    Data science has garnered a lot of attention and resources, however, the failure rate of data science projects is 80% or more. Often teams that are tasked with building data products are over-indexed on dev and data science, this leads to failure. With a well-balanced team that has skills and players that are often lacking from today’s data products teams, not only are better results achieved but real success as well. The team ecosystem of data products is vital to the success of a business and makes all the difference in having data products be a money pit or a profit center for a company.

  • Chris Powers

    Engineering Manager at Sprout Social

    Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: 

    Product managers play many roles, but one often overlooked is “Chief Storyteller”. Members in an organization rely on PMs to tell stories about their goals, their accomplishments, their struggles, and ultimately their value. This gives the PM a tremendous amount of power, power that can be used both to the benefit and detriment of the organization overall. Used wisely, this storytelling pulls teams together towards a compelling shared vision. Used poorly, it quickly erodes the critical trust between a PM, their team, and the org at large. During this talk we will reflect on the stories — and the lies — that we tell ourselves, our teams, and the people we report to. We will talk about goals, value props, estimates, iterative development, and we’ll even touch on some math and statistics. Come to be challenged and equipped to make the most of your storytelling potential.

  • Kristen Womack

    Sr. Product Manager & Web Strategist at Night Sky Web Co

    Logs & Alerts, Not Just for Ops: Techniques to Improve your Product Roadmap:

    Focusing on the learn aspect of the build-measure-learn development cycle, we’ll talk about how Product Managers and teams can use system logs and other data to inform their product roadmap. Think of it as bringing a deeper connection between Product Managers, their roadmaps, and a DevOps culture. I’ll share specific techniques Product Managers can use to improve their roadmaps in the learning cycle of lean product development using system usage data.

  • Paul A. Pilosi & Scott Melanson

    Vice President of Product Development & Senior Industrial Designer at WhiteBoard Product Solutions

    Iterative Product Development – You’re Not Alone:

    Commonly, developers in every industry think of their product as a piece of perfection that needs to work perfectly the first time; where in reality, this is almost never the case. Paul Pilosi and Scott Melanson from WhiteBoard Product Solutions will share their insight and experiences on what iterative and flexible design processes aren’t just normal, but can lead to new and exciting possibilities in the development of anything.

  • Esra Kucukciftci

    Founder & CEO at Pricing Innovations

    Two H’s and One O Make Water EVERY TIME, but What Does Chemistry Mean for Infinite Digital Behaviors?:

    Before the turn of the digital age, the processes that produced physical goods have consistently achieved over 99.9% reliability and reproducibility in their outputs whereas in digital, we find ourselves celebrating 4-5% conversion rates in our designed outcomes. In our time together, we’ll dive deeper into what drives the key differences between developing physical products and digital products, and introduce a few key methods that digital product development can borrow from physical product development.

  • Anne Steiner

    Product Coach at DevJam

    Where do Stories Come From? Getting From an Idea to Actionable Backlog: 

    The boss told you to “just write all the stories,” but you have little to start with beyond a vague idea or a bullet point on a slide. How do you get to those brilliant, right-sized stories that can be handed off to your developers? Illustrated via a real-life example, Anne Steiner demonstrates concrete steps for filling the gaps between idea and stories. In the end, you’ll have your stories but more importantly, you’ll also have a discovery conversation that leads to deeper product understanding.

  • Beth McKeever –

    Lead Product Designer at Target

    Symbiotic Product Work:

    Across the industry, there’s often a blurry line between what product owners do and what product designers do. This can lead to politics, egos and tense situations that take away from the end goal of making a great product. Is the best way to work together to embrace the blurry line? How might we create the right give-and-take between our roles? Learn from stories and research about how the best product+design duos work together.




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