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Craig Kerstiens

Category: Learnings

Spokesperson certification

One of my most fascinating work experiences was going through the spokesperson certification process at a large tech co. This isn’t some rubber stamp virtual training to not use profanity on stage type training. This is the training they would give to any executive before you were greenlit to talk to press. When I say press I mean Techcrunch, but also Bloomberg, or Jim Cramer, or any major big brand news outlet.

As a product manager over a specific product line I knew my product well. Put me in front of an unhappy customer and I could lay out our roadmap, listen to their questions, take product input, and get them to a happy place. But this wasn’t about my product (only). A person with the spokesperson stamp could be asked any question about an entirely other area fo the company. You had to know every recent product launch, all the key metrics, know where traps may lie, and you had to land the core company messages in addition to the ones you cared about. To study you received about 100 pages of a powerpoint presentation that had key releases from each product, key numbers, customer stories.

Protips for Conference Talks

A few weeks ago I was sitting at the hotel in Zurich with Jacob Kaplan Moss prior to DjangoCon EU enjoying a beer, talking about Django, and discussing a bit about our upcoming talks for the conference. He talked briefly about his upcoming keynote and how he was doing something different, including essentially 5 mini-talks. This seemed interesting enough, but the part that surprised me was when Jacob said, “I’m among friends here so it’ll be a good place to test this format.