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4 – 7 April 2019 – Wales, UK

The first of its kind retreat for product leaders

Become a better leader. Build exceptional teams. Launch winning products.

Hosted in the beautiful Welsh countryside, this event will bring together a small group of like-minded peers to share honest stories and lessons learned focused on the key challenges faced by product leaders today.

Over three days you’ll take part in engaging talks, forums and activities where you’ll discuss everything from becoming a better leader to overhauling your processes.

This is a unique opportunity to unwind, connect with fellow makers, eat great food, learn from others, and head back to the office ready to take on your next challenge.

Topics

Topic #1

Creating a world-class team

Learn how successful product leaders are building high-functioning teams — from making the right hires to creating a strong culture.

  • Hiring and onboarding product talent
  • Scaling product teams & their processes
  • Cultivating the right culture
  • Coaching your team to success
Topic #2

Becoming a better leader

As a product leader, how do you go from good to great? Get top tips and advice straight from the horse's mouth (not a real one, promise!) to help you up your game.

  • Finding your leadership style
  • Creating consensus around shared goals
  • Explaining 'product' to your stakeholders
Topic #3

Building & scaling

Let's step through the specific practices, frameworks and tools that other leaders use to ship and scale the right product.

  • Deciding to launch, improve or pivot
  • Measuring & pricing your product to scale
  • Using the best tools for the job

What to expect

The retreat is a mix of deep dive talks, panel discussions and collaborative forums. You'll hear real stories, learn from others’ successes (and failures) and most importantly take knowledge away you can immediately implement and share with your organisation.

Practical talks

Talented product leaders reveal how they work to help you reflect on how you can improve. Each talk is followed by a panel Q&A session.

Forums

Moderated by an expert and guided around a specific topic, you'll get to hear from your peers talking about their experiences and be encouraged to pick up the mic and share yours.

Engaging dinners

Amazing food fuels meaningful conversations. Join a table to discuss one of your challenges and receive practical advice from your peers, carry on your conversation fireside or take it to the onsite pub.

Activities

Explore the right hemisphere of your brain and open yourself up to inspiration from your surroundings. Activities include hiking, canoeing, creative craft workshops and more.

Featuring talks by

Hear honest, relatable stories from other leaders.

Jane Honey – Product Director, Intercom

It's the end of the expert as we know it

Talk summary

What does it mean to be an expert in today's ever-changing, exceptionally uncertain world? We can all expect to have four or five careers in our lifetime and the concept of a career for life is long gone. As a result expertise, gained through prolonged experience in a particular field, is becoming irrelevant. Now more than ever it's important we invest in our ability to navigate this ambiguous landscape and identify and focus on the skills which will help us succeed.

Jane Honey, now Product Director at Intercom, is on her fourth career and has held more than 20 roles. She will share how to succeed by embracing this uncertainty and investing in reinvention, resilience and communication - three critical life skills we all need today and for the tomorrow we face.

About Jane

Jane is Head of Product, Design and Research and and co-site lead at Intercom London. She has nearly 20 years of product management experience and a proven track record of launching and developing commercially successful, innovative customer experiences across multiple industries. Career highlights so far have included stints at Reuters, Channel 4, UKTV, Tesco, Moonpig and Canon, as well as her most recent experience leading a large cross-discipline team including product, design and research at Intercom.

Tim Herbig – Author, Lateral Leadership

How OKRs can help you to form an effective product organisation

Talk summary

Using agile principles is an effective way to build great products, and there's no shortage of frameworks helping us to do just that. But all too often, we tend to focus on merely producing more output (aka features) more quickly without considering the actual impact our products need to have on our business and our user's behavior. We know that clarifying and connecting day-to-day actions with the higher reasoning behind our efforts is one of the most powerful ways to ensure that we build what truly matters. Therefore, we need an agile goal setting system like Objectives and Key Results (OKR) which not only helps product teams to focus on outcome over output but which also enables true autonomy for them to build the best solutions.

In this talk, Tim will lay-out why you should set up your product organisation to prioritise outcome over output using Objectives and Key Results and how to incorporate OKR into all levels of agile product management. Tim will reflect on his personal experiences from being a part of broken OKR systems and the learnings he made from leading the introduction and execution of OKR himself.

About Tim

Tim is a passionate product leader, speaker, and author of the book 'Lateral Leadership: A Practical Guide for Agile Product Managers.' He previously held product roles in companies such as XING, Gruner+Jahr, and multiple startups.

In addition to his devotion to enabling companies to build better teams and products, he's also the co-organizer of the Product Tank Hamburg meetup series.

Kevin Shanahan – Head of Product, Memrise

Setting up squads for success

Talk summary

You've seen the video from Spotify and you think that squads might be the answer to your ways-of-working challenges. But how can you get the configuration, resourcing, and autonomy of squads right to set them up for success?

In this talk, Kevin will cover some best practices and lessons learnt from working in squads at his last company, Peak, and leading the transition to squads at his current company, Memrise.

  • A recap on what squads are and the benefits they bring
  • How to think about what squads in your company should be aligned around
  • Considerations when configuring and resourcing squads
  • How squads usually work from a process perspective
  • Some weak points of squads and how you can overcome them

About Kevin

Kevin is Head of Product at Memrise, a language learning app used by half a million people every day and winner of the 2017 Google Play App of the Year award. Kevin leads the product organisation at Memrise, which includes hiring and developing the team of PMs and supporting the squads to execute effectively.

Prior to joining Memrise, Kevin was Head of Growth at Peak, the top-grossing brain training app, until their successful exit to Hachette Livre in 2016. In an earlier life he worked at Bain & Company, a strategy consulting firm, working on projects across the construction, telecoms, and restaurant industries.

Tessa Cooper – Director of People & Culture, Futurelearn

Creating highly motivated teams by prioritising diversity & inclusion

Talk summary

It’s proven that diverse businesses are more successful businesses, but there are still too many companies treating diversity as a “tick box” without digging deep into how they create inclusive teams where diverse people can work effectively together. Tess experienced this first hand when she moved from product management to a people leadership role. She realised that her positive experiences of working in diverse teams (and the effort that those teams put into creating an inclusive environment) was not the norm more widely.

In this talk Tess will explore a set of guiding principles to help leaders build inclusive teams where everyone can thrive. You can expect:

  • First-hand examples of the impact that diversity and inclusion has on teams –– both the high rewards, as well as the the costs of not prioritising it
  • Tools and techniques that you can use to develop an inclusive team
  • A hands-on activity to help you reflect on how inclusive you are as a leader

About Tessa

With nearly 10 years experience of leading and developing product teams across FutureLearn, The Guardian and Comic Relief, Tess is adept at understanding people and team dynamics. This, alongside her passion for diversity & inclusion issues, lead her to move from product management to becoming Director of People and Culture in her most recent role.

She has recently left FutureLearn to pursue a freelance career in helping a wider range of companies and non-profit communities to build inclusive teams and organisations where individuals are empowered to be the best they can be.

Antoine Sakho – Head of Product, busuu

The subtle art of jumping in

Talk summary

Antoine is working on this – check back soon!

About Antoine

On a mission to break down language barriers, Antoine is Head of Product at busuu, an app used by over 80 million humans around the world to learn new languages. Antoine started as sole product manager at busuu in 2014 and was quickly promoted to build and lead a team of exceptional PMs and designers.

Antoine dived into product as he co-founded France's first mobile payment startup, Skimm, in 2012. After a failure rich in learnings, he leveraged his experience to help fledging startups build their products, most notably Voodoo.io, the world's #3 app publisher, which recently raised $200M from Goldman Sachs.

A polyglot himself, Antoine likes to eat his own dog food (or drink his own Champagne) and just passed his A2 Goethe Institute certificate.

Konradin Breyer – Director of Product, Freeletics

Reflections on 5 years of product leadership

Talk summary

As a product leader, you have to stay focused on long-term actions over continuous firefighting in tough times. Konradin knows a thing or two about this challenge. He recently stepped out of his role at Freeletics after a five years rollercoaster – from hyper-growth over a company crisis to getting back on a strong growth track.Leaving a company is a moment of truth and reflection of your legacy. As much as you need to do lifecycle management for your product, you need to continuously work on staying relevant and energetic yourself.

Konradin will share his revelations from the last months before handing over his team. In this highly personal retrospective, Konradin will get you to reflect on your leadership from a leaver's perspective. Is your team set up to last without you? How complete and articulate is your strategy? Did you build and empower sustainable relationships throughout the company? Konradin will share examples of things he had done right in this context, but more so, things he wishes he had done earlier. These insights will help you stay balanced throughout your own lifecycle as a product leader and prepare your team for growth.

About Konradin

Konradin joined Freeletics as employee #5 in early 2014. The first product person at the company, he built the product and design teams from scratch, and helped scale the company to 150 employees and a successful exit.

He is currently following every Gen-Y cliché – traveling around the world, with the goal to eventually start his own company.

Aurelie de Sainte Preuve – CPO, Seenit

What I learned taking Seenit from startup to scaleup

Talk summary

Aurelie is working on this – check back soon!

About Aurelie

Aurelie has over ten years of product management experience focusing on revenue growth and onboarding for companies such as Spotify, Viadeo and Figaro Classifieds.

As Chief Product Officer at Seenit, a platform enabling brands to create community-driven video content, she has grown the product team to 12 people and increased adoption of the platform by 30% in the past 2 years. Building upon her experience bringing the company to product-market fit, Aurelie will share genuine lessons and stories on how to scale your product organisation –– while staying sane along the way.

Aurelie grew up in China, Shanghai and Beijing and speaks mandarin, not as well as she used up, but if you want to learn a thing or two, she will be happy to share her experience!

More speakers coming soon!
Sign up for updates.

Schedule

Day 1

Thursday

12 – 7PM
12 – 7PM
Arrival
Lunch will be provided for early birds.
7PM – Late
7PM – Late
Dinner, drinks & campfire
2 course meal, each table organised by topic with relevant speakers.
Day 2

Friday

Day 3

Saturday

Day 4

Sunday

Location

Set in the Welsh countryside, Fforest farm is set across 200 acres of land by the river Teifi, minutes from the town of Cardigan and from the beautiful undiscovered beaches and coves of the West Wales coast.

Complete with a sauna and potentially the world's smallest pub, Fforest is truly the best possible setting to recharge.

FAQ

Who's it for?

We've focused the content to address the challenges faced by anyone in a product leadership position. For example Product Managers, Product Owners, Heads of Product or CPOs. As a founder or designer, you may still find the content useful – everyone is welcome.

If you have any questions about the content and want to discuss before booking, get in touch.

What's the deal with accommodation?

There are two types of accommodation, private and shared. Shared rooms involve sharing with 2 - 3 other people. Rooms can be mixed or non-mixed depending on your preference. Don't worry though, all the accommodation is super luxurious and comfy!

How do I get there?

By train

The nearest train station is Carmarthen. Trains from London Paddington leave frequently (every 30 minutes last time we checked), and the journey takes around 4 hours. From the station, we're arranging two collection trips on Thursday 4th April — one at 1pm and one at 3pm.

We recommend booking your train ticket as early as possible. If you're unable to make those times please get in touch ahead of time by emailing hello@jamlondon.io.

By car

The exact address of the farm is

Fforest Farm
Cwm Plysgog
Aberteifi
Cilgerran
SA43 2TB
United Kingdom

Parking will be available on the premises.

By plane

The nearest international airport is Cardiff Airport. From there, you can get a train to Carmarthen which takes around 1h30.

What should I bring?

Think practical, warm and layers! Good things to have are:

  • Walking boots, comfortable shoes and socks
  • A waterproof jacket
  • Swimsuit
  • A water bottle to take on walks etc
  • Your laptop for taking notes (if you prefer to old fashioned pen and paper)

What's included?

  • Luxury accommodation in the beautiful Welsh countryside
  • Good honest food, prepared on site and locally sourced
  • A variety of enriched learning opportunities
  • Creative and exhilarating outdoor activities
  • Arranged transport to and from the venue to Carmarthen train station
  • A gift, from JAM to you

Do you offer discounts for startups?

We do! Get in touch for more info.

Are you in?

Not ready to book just yet? Sign up for updates.

First release

Private room
£2000 + VAT
Shared room
Share with up to 3 additional people. Rooms can be mixed or non-mixed depending on your preference.
£1700 + VAT

See photos for the different room types here.

What's included?

  • Luxury accommodation in the beautiful Welsh countryside
  • Good honest food, prepared on site and locally sourced
  • A variety of enriched learning opportunities
  • Creative and exhilarating outdoor activities
  • Arranged transport to and from the venue to Carmarthen train station
  • A gift, from JAM to you