Best Practices

5 things we learned at the Pendomonium + #mtpcon roadshow – Amsterdam 2024

Published Jun 20, 2024

This month, Mind the Product and Pendo are on the road to learn from some of the best leaders in the product space. Our first stop was in Amsterdam! Here are five of our key takeaways from recent discussions involving prominent figures like Joe Futty (, Ebi Atawodi (Google), Brian Walsh (Pendo), and many more.

Earn the trust of your users

In the opening keynote for the day, Joe Futty, VP of Product at, discussed the opportunity that AI can bring to personalisation to solve users’ problems. He stressed the importance of revisiting users’ unmet needs and always learning to stay on top of the Gen AI curve, even if it feels like things are moving fast. “Customers don’t like change. Never undermine trust. Make sure you’re always focusing on real user problems,” he said.

Lean on internal and external expertise

In the panel discussion for the day discussing AI strategy, we were joined by a great range of product leaders: Denzil Naggan, Director of Product at Road, Hannah Gutkauf, Global Managing Partner at Manyone, Pooja Naidu, VP of Product at Mews, and Vidu Sharma, Group Product Manager for Generative AI at Adyen. The focal point of the discussion delved into the significance of understanding customer needs and indexing organizational knowledge to achieve a product-market fit with AI. Hannah noted, “Have we earned the right to serve them more use cases?” highlighting the necessity of validating customer trust before expanding product offerings.

Vidu also stressed the importance of internal and external expertise.

There needs to be expertise in your business who know about LLMs but can also set frameworks around it.

—Vidu Sharma

This ensures that AI strategies are not just technically sound but also aligned with business goals and ethical considerations. Additionally, Hannah explained that AI is not a competitive advantage or value preposition—it’s a baseline expectation for efficiency and customer experience.

Start with humility

The inspirational Ebi Atawodi, director of product management at YouTube Studio, led the second keynote of the day. She shared profound insights on the human side of product management. She believes that “Product managers at their core need to feel that there is a mission worth fighting for.” This mission-driven approach fosters a culture of ownership and resilience within teams.

Ebi underscored the value of curiosity and continuous learning: “Curiosity, continue to learn. Start with humility.” By maintaining a humble and inquisitive mindset, product managers can better navigate the complexities of AI and drive meaningful innovation.

A key message that resonated with the audience was to look after yourself as a product manager.

Life is like the ocean and has ups and downs like the wave, so you have to learn to surf.

—Ebi Atawodi

The second panel for the day, featuring Thomas Leitermann, Senior Growth Product Manager at Personio, Hanneke Hoogewerf, Senior Strategic Experience Designer at Ingka Group, IKEA, and Heather Williams, Director of Product Management at Elsevier, further stressed the importance of effective collaboration and humility. Design thinking is important to understanding the customer’s problem.

Ebi Atawodi in her keynote session at the Pendomonium+#mtpcon roadshow

Shipping features is not enough

Transitioning teams to become outcome-driven was an important message for Brian Walsh, SVP of Product at Pendo, in his keynote session. He asserted, “Shipping features is not enough. It’s about the outcomes we create.” This focus on outcomes ensures that AI implementations directly address user pain points and deliver tangible value.

Brian also encouraged leveraging AI to enhance user understanding at scale:

Get to know users at scale. How do we leverage AI to drive value?

—Brian Walsh

By integrating AI into user research processes, organisations can gain deeper insights and tailor their products more effectively.

Customers buy solutions, not AI

In the closing keynote for the day, Product Advisor, Janet Bumpas highlighted the competitive advantage that AI brings. Although features are easier than ever to build, it’s a much more competitive market, with many start-ups and large corporations feeling the brunt of the competition. To help us build a profitable business, she stressed that “customers are not buying AI; they are buying solutions to their problems.” This customer-centric approach ensures that AI applications are relevant and impactful. Janet also stressed the importance of a clear product vision.

A product vision is how you will make a customer’s life better.

—Janet Bumpas

A well-defined vision guides the development process and aligns the team’s efforts towards creating products that truly enhance user experiences.

Janet Bumpas in her keynote session at the Pendomonium+#mtpcon roadshow

Other key themes throughout the day

Embedding AI into product strategy

Across the discussions from panels to keynotes, a common theme is the integration of AI into the broader product strategy. AI should not be seen as an isolated technology but as a tool that enhances the overall business strategy. This requires collaboration across departments and a clear understanding of how AI can solve specific business problems.

Balancing build vs. buy

Deciding whether to develop AI capabilities in-house or to leverage third-party solutions is a critical consideration. Factors such as resource availability, technical expertise, and strategic goals play a role in this decision. As Joe Futty pointed out, this balance can significantly impact efficiency and innovation.

Foster a culture of curiosity

The fast-paced evolution of product necessitates a culture of continuous learning and curiosity. Product managers and teams must stay informed about the latest advancements and be willing to adapt their strategies accordingly. Ebi Atawodi emphasised curiosity and humility, which are particularly relevant in this context. As she stated in her talk: “The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know,”

Ensuring ethical and responsible AI Use

As AI becomes more integrated into products, ethical considerations and responsible use become paramount. Companies must establish frameworks and guardrails to ensure that AI applications are fair, transparent, and aligned with ethical standards. Hannah Gutkauf’s point on the need for expertise and frameworks highlights this responsibility.

And just like that, our first stop was done! Thank you to all who made our first stop special, from attendees to volunteers. Be sure to come back to the Mind the Product homepage and Pendo blog in the weeks ahead to read more recaps and full talk write-ups.