Contributed by Steve Robins
The Boston area may just be the best place to be a product manager today. Here’s why.
Reason #1: Boston is an Innovation Hub
Boston is the innovation capital of the USA – if not the world. That’s right – #1 according to Bloomberg, trailed closely by California and Washington State. Bloomberg compared states based on R&D, productivity, high-tech density, concentration of STEM* employment, science/engineering degree holders, and patents with other areas. And Massachusetts came out as #1, led in many ways by the Boston area.
You like innovation, right? Boston’s concentration of innovation means that new ideas and new opportunities are always close at hand. And you know who has to actually go and make those new ideas happen – product managers of course.
Reason #2: One of the highest concentrations of product managers anywhere
Closely tied to innovation is the vast ecosystem of people and institutions that makes innovation possible. We’re talking about world-class universities, countless startups, VCs and more. And we’re talking about people – people such as product managers. People like you.
Boston has the third highest concentration of product managers per capita of any metro area in the USA. Only San Francisco and Seattle have a higher density. And on a worldwide basis, we are most likely in the top five or ten. That’s a whole lot of product managers.
All of those product managers help to drive the countless innovations that drive our local economy. As a product manager, you sit at the critical inflection point between raw, unformed ideas and technologies on one side – and execution, and profitable growth on the other. You make innovation possible (yay you!).
Concerned about a glut of product managers? Don’t be.
Reason #3: Innovative companies that need product managers like you
As you already know, part of the reason that many companies start in, or move to Boston is the ecosystem that includes talented people like you. Yes, those companies want YOU. The constant flow of new companies means that companies are competing for the best product management talent. Opportunities for you: yes. Talent glut: no.
Reason #4: Startup incubators and accelerators
I’ll admit that early stage startups don’t always (think that they) need product managers BUT that’s not always the case. Heck, you could even start your own startup (after all, you do know a thing or two about product-market fit and how to create products, don’t you?). According to the Boston Startups Guide there are 50 (!) startup accelerators and incubators in the region — From MassChallenge (an accelerator and also the world’s largest startup competition) to LearnLaunch, options abound. Not ready to join a startup? That’s OK – you can attend many of the educational and networking programs that these organizations run each year.
Reason #5: Learning about innovation
As a city where thousands of companies are constantly innovating, Boston offers countless opportunities to learn about new technologies and business models, keep up with industry trends, and meet the people leading today’s disruptive innovations. MassTLC offers many technology, functional and industry-specific programs each month. And with so many new innovations coming to the fore each month, Boston Innovators Group, Mass Innovation Nights, Boston New Technology meetup, and other groups offer monthly or quarterly innovation demo gatherings. HubWeek/a> celebrates Boston’s innovations across government, the nonprofit sector, healthcare, tech and more. And NewCo Boston provides annual “factory tours” of Boston’s hottest newco’s (aka startups and newer companies).
Reason #6: Product management ecosystem – learning and networking opportunities
As the president of ProductCamp Boston and the head of marketing for the Boston Product Management Association (both volunteer roles), I know a thing or two about our local product management ecosystem. Product management courses are regularly offered by leading training firms such as Pragmatic Marketing, Proficientz, The 280 Group, Sequent Learning Networks, UC Berkeley, and General Assembly, and by prestigious universities such as Harvard Business School, MIT, and Boston University.
OK, so I am biased on this next point. BUT I have to say that great product management learning and volunteer opportunities abound in Boston. You can grow your skills and explore new aspects of product management (agile, anyone?) while connecting with some of the leading product management professionals in the Boston area. The Boston Product Management Association holds regular monthly educational and networking events in the Innovation District, downtown and on Route 128 (you remember Route 128, “America’s Technology Highway”). Boston Women in Product holds regular events that are often focused on career advancement – and by the way, they welcome men as well. Boston Agile Product Open debuted in 2016. And with more than 550 attendees, the annual ProductCamp Boston one-day conference has grown into the largest in the world.
Wrapping it up in a bow
You live in one of the best places to be a product manager – so go ahead, get out there and take advantage of all that Boston has to offer. Your career will thank you!
Feature image from Flickr Commons
Steve Robins is the principal of Solution Marketing Strategies, a strategic marketing consultancy that advises companies on marketing and demand gen strategies, segmentation and messaging. For the last 15 years, Steve Robins has been transforming technology firms into market-leading, customer-focused solution providers. Steve has held senior marketing roles at FirstBest Systems, EMC Documentum, and KANA Software. An industry thought-leader, Steve started the top-rated solution marketing blog, writes a marketing tech column for TechTarget, has co-chaired the ProductCamp Boston unconference for several years, and was a senior analyst at The Yankee Group where he analyzed new markets and emerging Web technologies.