An all-day event elevating frontline product managers

September 20, 2019 at the Marriott Copley Boston

Unbox at a glance 👇

Unbox is a day for product managers to learn from each other and hone their skills to build great products. There is little formal education for product management, and at Boston Product we’ve learned that the best way to help people improve is to get them in a room with other high-caliber PMs.

We’re all about elevating frontline PMs—the ones embedded with engineering teams, talking to customers, querying databases, and owning the backlog. We believe that when PMs succeed, our city prospers.

Product has the power ⚡

Product managers have tremendous influence operate at all the most critical intersections of a company. We translate strategy to execution. Feedback to functionality. Discussions to decisions. Analytics to insights. That level of influence within a high-growth organization deserves more professional development, and that’s what Unbox 2019 is all about.

This year, we’ve got sessions from outstanding operators, leaders, and industry experts to help you build and wield your influence. Whether you’re convincing engineers that a problem is worth solving, using data visualization to sway your CFO, or convincing your manager you’re ready for a promotion, we’ve got you covered.

Speakers 🎤


Mike Troiano Don’t just manage your product... Lead it.
Description: The most effective Product Managers lead the organizations they’re a part of in the direction of customer value and market success. So what’s the difference between management and leadership, between a Manager and an Executive, between a focus on working hard, and a focus on results? Learn this and more from marketing guru / entrepreneur / VC Mike Troiano in a keynote that will change the way you think about your job, and the way you do it.

Bio: Mike is a venture capitalist who brings nearly 25 years of executive leadership and marketing experience to bear for entrepreneurs. He most recently served as the Chief Marketing Officer of Actifio, a global enterprise data-as-a-service provider he helped turn from an obscure virtualization technology into a venture capital "unicorn" valued at over $1.2 Billion. As CMO from 2012 to 2017, Mike helped grow revenue over 80% per year, creating the Copy Data Virtualization category while expanding the business into blue chip accounts across 37 countries.

He spent his early career at top worldwide ad agencies including McCann-Erickson and FCB, and was named the founding CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Interactive in 1995. He later served as the president of NASDAQ-listed systems integrator Primix, and as General Manager of mobile content pioneer m-Qube from inception through one of the largest Boston-based venture capital exits of 2006.

Mike is a graduate of Cornell and the Harvard Business School, a Board Member of Hometap, SelfMade and Hack Diversity, and a TechStars mentor. He is ranked in the top 1% of the most influential people on Twitter and among the most popular writers on venture capital and entrepreneurship on Medium, and hosts the popular Boston startup community podcast How Hard Can It Be?
Rebecca Kerr Words Matter: Code-Switching for Product Partnership

Language barriers aren't exclusive to foreign travel. Product leaders face them every day, trying to influence partners in business, design, and development. This interactive session explores principles to help you find the crux of motivations and ideas, and choose words that resonate, no matter whose office you walk into. We’ll explore situations where you and your partners aren't speaking the same language, and highlight tactics to create empathy and reach better outcomes.


* The why behind a mutual language
 * Tactics for listening to partners and translating what they say
 * Ways to navigate difficult conversations to get better outcomes

Bio: Rebecca Kerr collects stories from change leaders as Senior Enterprise Content Manager for the Design Transformation team at InVision. She started as a full-stack tech poet in UX writing, marketing copy, enterprise SaaS messaging, and strategic storytelling. Her home base is in Austin, TX.


Amy Bucher Designing Feedback Loops for Digital Products Using Psychology
Description: Feedback is a critical design element to engage users in your product, particularly if you’re trying to support behavior changes. This workshop will cover the psychological reasons why feedback is a critical ingredient in motivation, and what really motivating feedback looks like. Participants will have the opportunity to build feedback loops leveraging psychological best practices and discuss the challenges and triumphs of helping users succeed within their products.

Bio: Amy Bucher, Ph.D., is the Behavior Change Design Director at Mad*Pow. Amy crafts engaging and motivating solutions that help people change behavior to achieve personal goals, especially related to health, wellness, learning, and financial well-being. The digital interventions Amy has helped design include health risk assessments, chronic health management programs, behavioral health interventions, and wellness programs. Amy has also worked on custom programming to support medication/therapy adherence and lifestyle changes for patients using specialty medications, medical devices, or other intensive treatments. Her research interests include motivational design, patient and user engagement, happiness, how social relationships influence health and well-being, and cross-cultural behavior change strategies. Prior to joining Mad*Pow, Amy worked with CVS Health as a Senior Strategist for their Digital Specialty Pharmacy, and with Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions Group as Associate Director of Behavior Science. Amy received her A.B. magna cum laude in psychology from Harvard University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Amy is the author of the upcoming Rosenfeld Media book Engaged: Psychology for Digital Product Design.
Jeff Vincent Paint a compelling picture: storytelling habits to adopt as a PM
Description: Telling a great story is the critical component to building engaged product teams AND high-quality, unified product experiences. It's a really powerful habit we all need to work at to develop influence and keep our teams from being distracted from shiny objects. Come join the workshop and we'll talk about the parts of a great story, and how to tell it.

Bio: Jeff is a senior product manager at Appcues. When not pondering product strategy, operations, and the finer points of user experiences, he obsesses over interior design and struggles to make a decision about what’s for dinner. He’s probably hungry.
Prateek Prasad How to make better decisions
Description: Think about the last time you had to make a complex decision for your business or product. How did you go about it? For instance, did you just go through a laundry list of features on your backlog and prioritize them according to some criteria? Is that enough? What's the guarantee that you did not miss out on options you were not even considering? In this workshop, we will explore strategies, tools, and frameworks to improve the decision-making process for complex decisions. Also, you will get to apply these frameworks to some of your recent decisions.

Bio: Prateek is a product manager at Pluralsight where is he responsible for building a recommendation engine for helping technologists skill up. Previously he’s worked at Oracle, Progress Software, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Prateek holds a B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati and a Master of International Business from Tufts University’s Fletcher School. When not working you can found him in the Himalayan mountains making questionable life decisions.
Greg Achenbach Jobs To Be Done - WTF is it and where do I start?
Description: You’ve probably heard of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD), but where do you get started? In this workshop we’ll cover the basics of JTBD theory along with some case studies on how it’s been used to better understand what really drives customers decisions. After the overview we’ll break into small groups and practice doing JTBD style interviews.

Bio: Greg is Vice President of Product at SnapApp, where he drives the overall product strategy, roadmap, and user experience for technology that empowers marketers to deliver the leads that sales wants. He has over 15 years experience building products, from small web apps to complex enterprise suites. Prior to SnapApp, Greg’s experience included roles at Senior Systems, Inflexxion, and Nuance Communications.
Adam Sigel Code? Where We're Going, We Don't Need Code.
Description: Prototyping is cool. But you know what's really cool? Shipping stuff without writing code. For early stage products that are trying to learn fast and cheap, you might be surprised to learn how much you can get done without an engineer. In this workshop, we'll talk about how you can go beyond prototyping and create lean product solutions with SaaS tools and other no-code implementation. We'll review some examples, walk through a functioning demo, and you'll leave with a new toolkit and a framework for determining what needs code and what might not.

Bio: Adam Sigel is the Head of Product at Hometap, responsible for defining and executing the roadmap for the internal and customer-facing software that lets homeowners tap into the value of their homes. Prior to joining Hometap, Adam had a whirlwind tour of the Boston ecosystem with product roles at Jibo, LastPass, InsightSquared, Aereo, and MyEnergy. He once fell asleep on the C Line and woke up alone in the train yard.
Bhavika Shah Mapping a strategy to influence outcomes
Description: Influencing feels "squishy" and hard to know if you're doing it right - in this workshop we'll go over the levers of influence that PMs can leverage, common situations that might require influencing and individuals will map their own strategy for influencing a specific outcome.

Bio: Bhavika is a product leader at Pluralsight where she leads teams to deliver a more personalized learner experience. She is passionate about building products that improve people’s lives and leading and growing individuals and teams that build world-class products. Prior to her product roles at Pluralsight, Bhavika held client-facing roles at Smarterer (acquired by Pluralsight) and General Electric, after completing the GE Commercial Leadership Program. Outside of work, Bhavika spends time with her husband, dog, family and friends, often eating delicious things, traveling to fun new places or with her nose stuck in a book.

Lightning Talks

Emily Levada The Trust Equation
Description: Emily speaks frequently about the role trust plays in organizational dynamics and the question she is most often asked is "How do you build trust?" In this lightning talk, she will share the single best tool in her toolkit for helping individuals and teams improve trust in their relationships.

Bio: Emily is the Product Director of Wayfair’s lower funnel experiences (Product Detail Page, Cart, Checkout, Reviews, Financing, and more). Emily has been on the leadership team at Wayfair for 7 years and previously held positions within Supply Chain Management and Site Merchandising. Prior to joining Wayfair, Emily had a career in professional theatre production. She holds an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management and a B.S. in Communication from Northwestern University.
Kathy Pham Product, Ethics, and Society
Description: A look into product management’s critical role in products that impact society, weaving in topics like legal and regulatory considerations, human rights, accessibility, ethics, social responsibility, inequality, and race. Let's rethink our common product management practices to understand how to build better products across industry, government, and communities around the world. We will also think about difficult product and business decisions that face us since digital products are integral parts of our everyday lives. 

Bio: Kathy Pham is a product leader, computer scientist, and serial founder who has held roles in product management, software engineering, data science, people operations, and leadership in the private, non-profit, and public sector. Her work has spanned Google, IBM, Harris Healthcare Solutions, and government at the United States Digital Service at the White House, where she was a founding product and engineering member. Kathy is currently a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Technology and Social Change project, and also a lecturer for Product Management and Society. She is the founder of the Boston Chapter of Women in Product, the Ethical Tech Collective, and Product and Society. Kathy has served on the advisory boards of the Anita Borg Institute and the “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” initiative. She also advises startups, conferences, tech companies, and non-profits on hiring, building teams, ethics and social responsibility, and community inclusion.
Shobhit Chugh How to make your manager your best ally
Description: If you could change one relationship that would dramatically change your job satisfaction, your career growth, and your happiness, which one would it be? Your manager, of course. Come join Shobhit to learn how to reverse engineer your manager to understand your manager's motivations and constraints, and game plan winning moves to make you and your manager successful.

Bio: Shobhit Chugh is passionate about building amazing technology products, learning and teaching. In his day job, he serves as the Product Manager at Google for Crashlytics, which is used by most mobile apps to track and fix crashes. After spending 7 years in sales and engineering learning how to build and sell products, Shobhit got an MBA, did a stint as a consultant at McKinsey, and made the switch to product management to learn how to manage products end to end. During his MBA program, Shobhit founded a startup called Adaptly, which ultimately grew to 150 people and sold to Accenture.

Shobhit loves to learn, and believes the best way to learn is by writing and teaching. He runs a class called the Intentional Product Manager, that helps Product Managers build skills that can set them up for success over the long term, including communication, relationship building and stakeholder management. He shares his lessons from his experience in product management and entrepreneurship through his Medium blog. His daughter thinks he makes the best dad jokes, but his co-workers (somewhat respectfully) disagree.
Andrew Grochal New Kids on the Block: Adapting Product Management to an Engineering-First Model
Description: Product Management at many tech companies is a highly-formalized process, with tightly managed sprints, stand-ups, timelines, and storypoints. More recently it’s becoming increasingly common for companies to adapt Product Management to the pre-existing culture of the company in the early days, often an engineering-led, low-process model. At CarGurus the product team had to adapt to grow around a very iterative approach where we're moving quickly, not afraid to break things along the way and are highly - almost unusually - collaborative. In this lightening talk I'll answer the question of how and why that model is successful and why PMs can expect to see more of it at tech companies and startups that are beginning to scale.

Bio: Andrew leads CarGurus’ efforts around product strategy and development for CarGurus’ dealer base, including enhancements to existing tools and launching the next generation of products. In his role as Vice President of Product Management, he drives new product initiatives and develop strategies for improving the dealer experience on CarGurus. In his time at CarGurus, Andrew has led the launch of Deal Badges, Chat/Text, and most recently CarGurus Digital Marketing Suite.
Srini Kadamati Aligning Teams Using Powerful Visualizations
Description: Product Managers thrive on creating alignment towards a shared vision and around shared goals to help achieve that vision. In this talk, I’ll make the case that creating effective visual representations is a powerful way to help foster that alignment. While I’ll focus primarily on specific visualizations and the principles behind their effectiveness, I’ll also provide an overview of the tools that can help you create these visualizations.

Bio: Srini Kadamati is the Head of Product at Dataquest Labs (dataquest.io). Srini joined Dataquest as the first employee after a few years working as a data scientist at a few different startups in the bay area. He joined Dataquest as the first employee to help pursue his mission of spreading data literacy.
Andrea Schneider Putting money in Veterans’ pockets sooner and taking the “work” out of disability claims paperwork
Description: Applying for basic disability benefits from the VA requires a 6-page paper form with 8 pages of complicated instructions, leaving you overwhelmed and confused. Now imagine going on line and filling out a simple, straightforward application that asks you only the information essential to process your claim. And what if this application was built with input from Veterans? And what if it could get you money in your pocket faster? Learn how we did it and what important lessons we learned along the way, including one mistake that was heart wrenching and had the potential to spark PTSD.

Bio: Andrea Schneider is a Product Manager with the United States Digital Service, currently working at the VA. She is a leader of people and projects, both technical and non‐technical, in the realm of government services. She is a creative innovator whose product development solutions have resulted in improved quality of life for Americans and significant savings for Federal agencies. As a dedicated and life long civil servant and accomplished problem‐solver with a unique mix of technical and business expertise, Andrea has delivered numerous products at multiple Federal agencies.

Andrea holds a master's degree in Information Technology from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree in Government from the University of Maryland.

2019 Agenda and Topics are below! Look out for the talk descriptions soon.
Get a recap of Unbox 2018 here or check out last year’s program.

Event Details 🧐

Our conference agenda runs from 9am to 5:30pm, followed by a cocktail hour in the hotel atrium. The Marriott Copley is easily accessible via the Green and Orange Lines, as well as the Commuter Rail (Back Bay Station). We do not recommend driving into Back Bay.

For out of town travelers, you can book a room at the Marriott Copley at a discounted rate of $279/night if you mention Boston Product at checkout.

Some topics you’ll be hearing about are listed below and individual session details for each speaker can be found above.

  • Reverse engineering your manager
  • Building trust within your organization
  • Using data visualization to align your team
  • Making better decisions for your product
  • Codeless implementation for early stage teams
  • Communication tactics for cross-functional teams
  • Applying behavior psychology to design

Schedule 🕰️

9:00am: Breakfast and registration
9:45am: Opening remarks
10:00am: Keynote
11:00am: Morning workshops
12:00pm: Lunch and Birds of a Feather
1:00pm: Lightning talks
1:45pm: Keynote
2:45pm: Afternoon workshops
4:15pm: Lightning talks
5:00pm: Closing remarks
5:30pm: Cocktail hour

Sponsors 🙌

Thanks to our sponsors for supporting our mission of fueling the city’s growth through leadership in product management


We’re sold out!

Join Boston Product to stay tuned and get an event recap. Boston Products helps you land a job, gain mastery, show your work, and find your people as a product manager.

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