Product School

What You Missed at ProductCon London 2024

Carlos headshot

Carlos González De Villaumbrosia

February 26, 2024 - 19 min read

Updated: May 6, 2024 - 19 min read

With more than 2,000 in-person and 10,000 online attendees joining us from over 94 countries, ProductCon London 2024 was a full house! The room was buzzing with Product People connecting from all over the world, united by their passion for building great products. The atmosphere was electric and the enthusiasm of our amazing attendees supercharged our busy day packed with a fantastic lineup of speakers. 

But if you missed out, don’t worry. We’re ready to spill the tea on all the highlights.

So grab your favorite cuppa and a biscuit. Let’s take it from the top! 

Harnessing the Power of GenAI for Exceptional Product Outcomes

Joe Futty, VP of Product at Booking, got us off to a fantastic start with his deep dive into what everyone’s talking about… Generative AI in product development. Reflecting on his journey from a 15-year tenure at Microsoft to the helm of product innovation at, Joe shared compelling insights into GenAI's role in redefining how products are conceived, developed, and improved.

Joe's enthusiasm was palpable as he recounted the advent of ChatGPT in November 2022, a milestone that heralded a new era for product managers and developers alike. At, the world's largest OTA with roots in Amsterdam since 1996, GenAI has been identified as a pivotal tool not just for enhancing the customer and partner experience but as a catalyst for internal productivity and innovation.

I’ve never seen engineers just sitting around with nothing to do. So the idea of making engineers 10-15% more productive is very exciting.

With a keen focus on the practical implications of GenAI for, Joe outlined the company's strategic approach to harnessing this technology. He detailed efforts to leverage GenAI for more intuitive and efficient customer interactions, streamlined operational processes, and the creation of novel product offerings that anticipate and exceed traveler expectations.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 - Futty 1

Joe also delved into the broader implications of integrating GenAI into business operations, touching on critical considerations such as data and infrastructure readiness, legal and ethical frameworks, and the imperative for a skilled workforce adept in navigating the nuances of AI-driven product development.

To demystify GenAI's complex capabilities, Joe employed a relatable chef analogy, illustrating how GenAI, much like a master chef, can assimilate and innovate upon the world's culinary knowledge to create unprecedented recipes. This analogy underscored GenAI's potential to synthesize vast data sets to generate innovative solutions and experiences, emphasizing the transformative power of GenAI in crafting the future of Product.

GenAI has yet to see much consumer adoption, but I believe it will change the way we do things and look at the world.

Reinforcing the importance of forward-thinking: "A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be." He used this to drive home the transformative potential of GenAI, urging product managers to think ahead about customer expectations and how these anticipations shape the future of technology and services.

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Joe's session not only highlighted the exciting opportunities presented by GenAI but also underscored the need for product professionals to stay at the forefront of technological advancements. His insights provided a roadmap for leveraging GenAI to achieve exceptional product outcomes, making it a must-watch for current and aspiring Product Managers eager to lead in the era of AI-driven innovation.

Watch the full talk here: 

Act Like an Owner, Challenge Like a VC

A crowd favorite, Fabrice des Mazery, the former CPO of Tripadvisor, delivered an enlightening talk focusing on a unique blend of ownership and venture capital mindset for Product Managers.

Des Mazery opened with a compelling narrative on the significance of profitability in Product Management, challenging the audience to embrace the financial aspects often shunned by product teams. He argued that true ownership in product development goes beyond mere responsibility, extending into the realms of risk and reward sharing, a concept he referred to as having "skin in the game."

Central to his presentation were three innovative principles aimed at embedding an owner's mindset within product teams:

  • The Investment Principle: Des Mazery likened product teams to investors, utilizing resources judiciously to generate substantial returns. He emphasized shifting the perception of technology from a cost center to a profit center, urging teams to view their contributions as investments with expected returns.

  • The Capping Principle: This principle revolves around setting clear boundaries and priorities for product initiatives, ensuring that resources are allocated to opportunities with the highest potential for impact and return on investment.

  • The Portfolio Principle: Des Mazery advocated for a diversified approach to product development, akin to a venture capitalist's portfolio strategy. This involves balancing risk and reward across a range of projects to optimize overall returns.

Throughout his talk, Des Mazery stressed the importance of aligning product development with business objectives, encouraging Product Managers to think and act like co-investors. This entails pitching ideas rather than presenting business cases, fostering a culture of validation and challenge.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Fabrice 1
The bigger the startup is, the less it makes bets. But if you don’t bet as a big company, you’ll die. So you need to protect that bandwidth for bets. Bets are here to change the future.

Fabrice des Mazery's session at ProductCon not only challenged Product Managers to integrate financial acumen into their roles but also provided a clear framework for doing so through the lens of ownership and investment. His insights encourage a shift towards a more entrepreneurial approach in Product, promising a deeper alignment with business success.

Watch the full talk here: 

Data-Driven Tactics to Build a Customer-Centric Culture


In this captivating panel discussion, industry experts explored industry experts unpacked the intricacies of cultivating a customer-centric culture through data-driven strategies. The panel brought together a diverse array of perspectives, emphasizing the fusion of data analytics with empathetic customer engagement to foster a deeply ingrained customer-first approach within organizations.

Key themes explored during the session included:

  • The necessity of an all-encompassing application experience platform, as discussed by Joe Jarman, to provide a holistic view of customer interactions, thereby enabling more nuanced understanding and engagement.

  • The role of data in not just guiding decisions but in acting as the narrative voice of the customer, a point highlighted by the Quantum Metric representative, underscoring the importance of leveraging insights to advocate for customer needs internally.

  • The critical role of user testing in connecting authentically with customers, advocating for a blend of qualitative insights with quantitative data to drive more informed decision-making.

  • The significance of a comprehensive data collection strategy, which allows for a more in-depth understanding of user interactions and behaviors, thus informing both strategic and tactical business decisions.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Panel 1

Throughout the discussion, panelists converged on the idea that a customer-centric culture is not merely about being data-driven but about being data-informed. This subtle yet profound distinction underlines the importance of integrating data insights with human intuition and empathy to make decisions that resonate more deeply with customer needs and expectations. As Muli Farkas put it:

We should strive to not use traditional metrics. For example, It’s not about loading time, it’s about customer satisfaction.

The conversation also delved into practical strategies for embedding a customer-centric philosophy within an organization. This included the development of shared dashboards to democratize access to customer insights and the advocacy for a top-down and bottom-up approach in using data to shape company culture and priorities.

Concluding with a forward-looking perspective, the panelists emphasized the evolving landscape of customer engagement, where data and technology play pivotal roles. They advocated for a continuous learning mindset and the adoption of agile methodologies to adapt to changing customer expectations and to remain competitive in a dynamic market environment.

Watch the full talk here: 

Cultivating Entrepreneurial Mindset in Product Management: Strategies for Success, Innovation, and Professional Growth

Millie Zah, Head of Product at DAZN, delivered an inspiring session on fostering an entrepreneurial spirit within the realm of product management. Her talk illuminated the transformative power of adopting an entrepreneurial mindset for product managers aiming for higher success, innovation, and personal growth.

Millie shared her journey and the pivotal moments that shaped her approach to product management, emphasizing the significance of thinking like an entrepreneur within a corporate structure. She outlined several key strategies that product managers can employ to nurture this mindset:

Embrace Risk and Learn from Failure: Millie advocated for the importance of taking calculated risks and viewing failures as valuable learning opportunities. She encouraged product managers to step out of their comfort zones and experiment with new ideas, underscoring that failure is not a setback but a stepping stone toward innovation.

Customer-Centric Innovation: Highlighting the heart of entrepreneurial success, Millie stressed the need for product managers to deeply understand and empathize with their customers. She shared techniques for gaining insights into customer needs and leveraging this understanding to drive product innovation that genuinely solves problems.

Become a good storyteller. Think about narrative: a beginning, a middle, an end. A problem, a solution, an impact. Rehearse your script with someone you trust, and you’ll start to see the impact of storytelling in your everyday life. 
Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Zah 1

Agility and Adaptability: In today's fast-paced market, Millie emphasized the critical nature of being agile and adaptable. She discussed the importance of being able to pivot strategies based on market feedback and the evolving landscape, much like startups do.

Proactive Problem-Solving: Millie encouraged attendees to adopt a proactive approach to problem-solving, anticipating challenges before they arise and devising innovative solutions. This forward-thinking approach is fundamental in driving product success and staying ahead in competitive markets.

Founders think about what the future looks like and work backward. But as PMs, we don’t always get to flex blue-sky thinking. So how can we? Get away from your desk. Schedule time to take a walk and think about what you want to achieve helps you get into your creative brain.

Fostering a Culture of Collaboration: She also touched on the importance of building a collaborative environment where cross-functional teams work together towards a common vision. This collaborative spirit mirrors the startup culture where every team member is vital to the success of the venture.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Zah 2

Millie's talk was not just a call to action for Product Managers to think and act like entrepreneurs but also a comprehensive guide on how to absorb these qualities for professional and personal growth. 

Watch the full talk here: 

Relationship Counselling: From Disjointed Features to Product-First Thinking

In this captivating talk from Carlo Bruno, VP of Product at Adyen, he masterfully unpacked the often-overlooked dynamics between product development teams and the essential shift towards a product-first philosophy.

Beginning with an intriguing analogy to Formula One racing, Bruno positioned the product manager and the engineer as the pivotal duo in the race towards product excellence, akin to the strategist and the driver in an F1 team. This comparison set the stage for a deeper exploration into the symbiotic relationship required to navigate the complex product development landscape, especially in an intricate field like payment solutions.

Bruno shared candid insights from Adyen's journey, revealing the friction points that arise when teams operate in silos, focusing on features without a cohesive vision. He stressed the importance of breaking down these barriers and fostering a unified approach where every team member is aligned with the overarching product goals.

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A central theme of Bruno's talk was the strategic shift towards product-first thinking, which he illustrated through practical examples from Adyen's initiatives to streamline payment processes. He underscored the transformative impact of this shift on operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, the bottom line. By embedding Product Managers within the fabric of the development process, Bruno highlighted how Adyen was able to anticipate market needs, adapt to customer feedback, and innovate with agility.

Product-first thinking allows you to land a product instead of launching it. Launching a rocket does not determine its success. It’s where it lands that matters.

Bruno also touched on the role of advanced technologies like machine learning in refining product features and functionalities. He emphasized how a product-first approach enabled Adyen to leverage these technologies not just for incremental improvements but for groundbreaking enhancements that redefine user experiences.

Bruno's talk was a compelling call to action for organizations to embrace a product-first mindset. He made a persuasive case for the strategic realignment of teams, advocating for a collaborative culture that prioritizes the product's success as the ultimate goal. His insights offered valuable lessons on the power of synergy between product management and engineering and the remarkable outcomes that can be achieved when they work in concert toward a shared vision.

Watch the full talk here: 

Launching New Products In Companies Where It Matters Most

Debbie McMahon, Product Director at the Financial Times, provided an enlightening perspective on the intricacies of launching new products within established companies during her session. Debbie dove into the often-underestimated complexities that accompany the introduction of new products in organizations where such initiatives are pivotal.

Drawing from her extensive experience, Debbie used the vivid analogy of moving a heavy fridge uphill to describe the daunting task of product launch. This metaphor effectively captured the essence of the challenges faced by Product Managers, emphasizing the weight of expectations and the uphill battle against both internal and external hurdles.

When the product becomes the strategy, you’re in trouble because the hopes and fears of the organization come to rest on that one product.
Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind -

Central to her talk was the case study of "EDIT," a low-cost subscription product launched by the Financial Times after a decade-long hiatus from introducing new consumer subscription products. This example served as a practical backdrop for discussing the lessons learned and pitfalls encountered during the product development and launch phases.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - McMahon 2

Debbie underscored a crucial insight that resonates with many in the Product field: the ideation phase, often perceived as the most challenging aspect, actually constitutes a minor portion of the overall effort. She pointed out that approximately 80% of the work in launching a new product revolves around the execution, including gaining internal traction and navigating through the myriad of non-idea-related challenges.

Why do companies with established products find it hard to launch new products? In most cases, it’s because they aren’t practiced at launching new things. When you aren’t practiced at something, it’s hard, and it’s easy to give up.

Highlighting the significance of aligning new product ideas with the organization's core values and market position, Debbie humorously remarked on the incongruity of pitching a celebrity gossip product to a prestigious publication like the Financial Times. This remark underlined the necessity of ensuring that new product initiatives resonate with the company's brand and strategic direction.

In her conclusion, Debbie McMahon imparted valuable wisdom on the importance of perseverance, strategic alignment, and the often overlooked aspects of product launch that go beyond the initial idea. Her insights illuminated the path for current and aspiring Product Managers, emphasizing that the key to successful product launches lies not just in groundbreaking ideas but in the meticulous execution and organizational synergy.

Watch the full talk here: 

The Future of Product

Next up was our very own Carlos Gonzalez de Villaumbrosia, founder and CEO of Product School. His talk was not just a glimpse into what lies ahead but a demand for Product Professionals to adapt and thrive in the flourishing era of AI-driven innovation.

Carlos began by highlighting the paramount importance of Product teams in identifying and leveraging opportunities to enhance sales engagements, upgrade plans, and collaborate with customer success teams to boost adoption and reduce churn. This multifaceted approach underscores the evolving role of product teams beyond mere development, emphasizing their integral contribution to revenue growth and customer retention.

'AI PMs' are not a thing. Every PM needs to leverage AI.

He then dove into the transformative shift within organizations, where the product function is increasingly recognized as a strategic pivot rather than a subsidiary of technology. This evolution is evidenced by a significant uptick in the appointment of Chief Product Officers in Fortune 100 companies, marking a departure from traditional structures and heralding a new era where Product is at the nexus of technology and business strategy.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Carlos 1Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Carlos 2

Carlos underscored the flattening of career hierarchies in Product, advocating for a more hands-on approach where even senior roles maintain close ties with actual product development and market strategies. He critiqued the stagnation of Agile methodologies, which, in his view, have become overly complex and detached from the essential goal of driving business outcomes.

Carlos argued that the layoffs seen across the industry in 2024 are indicative of a broader trend towards leaner, more efficient teams augmented by AI capabilities. This shift is not about reducing human capital but rather about enhancing productivity and fostering innovation by automating mundane tasks and focusing human creativity on strategy, discovery, and market engagement.

He highlighted how AI facilitates a deeper integration of product teams into discovery and go-to-market strategies, thereby enabling more nuanced and personalized user experiences. This AI-driven personalization is not just about segmentation but about creating individualized user interactions that continuously evolve based on real-time data.

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Carlos's vision for the future is one where Product Professionals are not only technologists but strategists and innovators who leverage AI to transcend traditional limitations. He posits that every Product Manager must now become an 'AI PM,' adept at harnessing AI to refine product development, enhance user experiences, and drive revenue growth.

By embracing AI, rethinking traditional roles and methodologies, and placing a stronger emphasis on strategic contributions to business outcomes, Product Managers can lead the charge in this new frontier of digital innovation.

Watch the full talk here: 

Revolutionizing The Banking Industry: The Monzo Way

Fernando Fanton, Chief Product Officer at Monzo, peeled back the curtain on Monzo's revolutionary approach to reshaping the fintech landscape. With infectious enthusiasm, Fernando unveiled the intricate layers of the Monzo way, revealing the driving principles fueling their meteoric rise.

Blog image: ProductCon London 24 rewind - Fanton 1

Fernando kicked off by highlighting a staggering reality: millions in the UK felt excluded from investing due to perceived financial barriers. In response, Monzo launched an investment platform requiring only £1 to start, democratizing access to investing for 2.5 million users, a third of whom had never invested before. This inclusive strategy and integrated financial education features transformed complex concepts into actionable insights, empowering users to make informed decisions about their financial futures.

Product done well is transformative. It changes and disrupts industries.

But Monzo's commitment to accessibility didn't stop there. Responding to user feedback, they introduced roundups, streamlining the investment process by automatically allocating spare change to users' portfolios. This emphasis on simplicity and inclusivity reflects Monzo's core mission: making money work for everyone.

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Transitioning to homeownership, Fernando addressed users' challenges in navigating mortgage complexities. In response, Monzo launched a comprehensive tool empowering users to track their mortgage details effortlessly, earning overwhelming praise and spurring further innovation.

Moreover, Monzo tackled pressing societal issues head-on, leveraging their agile tech infrastructure to combat fraud effectively. By empowering users to identify and report fraudulent activity directly within the app, Monzo positioned itself as a leader in consumer protection.

Throughout his presentation, Fernando emphasized that the Monzo way transcends mere strategy—it embodies a philosophy rooted in customer-centricity, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to mission. Reflecting on Monzo's journey, he underscored that transformative product development isn't exclusive to fintech; it's a blueprint for success applicable across industries, empowering every product team to drive meaningful change.

Fernando's impassioned session left the audience inspired, armed with insights to revolutionize their own industries and drive transformative impact. As Fernando concluded, the Monzo way isn't just about disrupting finance; it's about reshaping the future, one product at a time.

Watch the full talk here: 

Synergy in Leadership and Product Excellence: A Blueprint for Growth

Jessica Hall, the Chief Product Officer at Just Eat Takeaway, captivated the audience with an exploration of the link between effective leadership and Product excellence.

Opening her talk with a thought-provoking question about the correlation between people management and career growth, Jessica observed a surprisingly modest show of hands, sparking an intriguing dialogue about the underappreciated value of leadership in the product space.

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Diving into the essence of her presentation, Jessica outlined a comprehensive blueprint for fostering a growth-centric environment, where leadership and Product Management not only coexist but thrive in mutual reinforcement. She outlined three fundamental principles that serve as the bedrock of this synergy:

  1. Empathetic Leadership: Jessica emphasized the pivotal role of empathy in leadership, advocating for a management style that prioritizes understanding and aligning with team members' motivations and challenges. This empathetic approach, she argued, is crucial for unlocking the full potential of product teams, enabling them to innovate and execute with greater passion and commitment.

  2. Strategic Alignment: The cornerstone of Jessica's blueprint is the seamless alignment between leadership vision and product strategy. She stressed the importance of transparent communication and shared objectives to ensure that every team member, from junior Product Managers to senior executives, is moving in the same direction, driven by a unified mission.

  3. Cultivating a Culture of Innovation: Jessica passionately spoke about the need to foster an organizational culture that celebrates creativity, risk-taking, and continuous learning. She shared insights into how leaders can create an environment where experimentation is encouraged, failures are treated as learning opportunities, and success is recognized and rewarded, thereby driving product excellence and organizational growth.

If you’re a PM, you already have a growth mindset. You have the skills you need to be agile. You just need to turn them on yourself and on your own career.
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Jessica concluded her talk with a powerful call to action, urging leaders and Product Managers alike to embrace these principles, not just as a formula for professional advancement, but as a commitment to building products and teams that truly make a difference. Her message resonated deeply with the audience, leaving them inspired to rethink their approach to leadership and product management in their pursuit of excellence and growth.

Watch the full talk here: 

Updated: May 6, 2024

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