About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product roadmap software — and the author of Lovability. His two previous startups were acquired by well-known public companies. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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The Most Embarrassing Meeting Fails We Never Saw Coming

There is a slow-motion disaster unfolding before your eyes. It is a cringe-worthy moment at work. And you are watching it all go down. You wish you could plug your ears and avert your eyes — but you cannot because you are sitting in a small conference room.

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Do Good Work for Its Own Sake

do good work for its own sake

I am not a gambler. But I know many people like to partake in games of fortune, and some even have a get-rich-quick dream. Hitting those lucky numbers and raking in enough cash to live a life of leisure. Let’s imagine this actually happens — maybe you win the lottery. I hate to bring you down, but I want to tell you the truth as I see it.

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Hey Boss: I Am Begging You to Let Me Work From Home

work from home dog

I studied philosophy. (True.) You know the old cliché about the tree falling in the forest. If no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? Well, remote work may seem that way for some. After all, how can you be sure people are actually working if you are not there to witness it?

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You Choose to Do This Every Day

you choose to do this sign

One word can cause a seismic shift in your thinking. A member of our team recently shared a story that proves this. One evening, she heard herself tell her children that she “had to” answer a few more emails before dinner. But she realized this was not entirely true. She did not “have to” answer the emails at that exact moment — she was making a conscious choice to do so.

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The Most Important Thing You Should NOT Do Each Day

Donkey Will Not Do List

You probably have a list somewhere. Maybe several scribbled on the backs of receipts, neatly organized in a notebook, or typed out in an app. Each one a litany of tasks to tackle. To-do lists can be great. But a “Not-do” list may be what you really need.

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Stop Your Next Presentation to Honor the Now

Aha! product roadmap software team presentation

I am always thinking about what’s next at work. (Even on vacation sometimes, like now.) But at our recent, all-team meeting I made a conscious decision to stop. And I did something I have never done before — I interrupted my presentation and asked everyone to stop too. I wanted us all to take a moment to be in the “now.”

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How Not to Scale Your Startup

scale your startup cattle

It started with two people in a garage. The quintessential beginning we hear about many startups. And for good reason — you do not start out with 100 people. Companies begin with a founder or two. Some never leave the garage. The ones that grow solve a real problem and learn how to do it at scale. They do not learn how to scale and then figure out a problem to solve.

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Product Managers: Celebrate the Interruptions

drowning product manager

You start the day off ready to cruise through your schedule and To-do list. And then… the speed bumps appear out of nowhere. Impromptu meetings. Last-minute requests. Fire drills from the sales team. If this sounds like your typical work day, I have good news for you — you are a fortunate product manager. Read more…

There Is a New Animal in Silicon Valley

silicon valley unicorn startup

There is a new animal in Silicon Valley. And it is nothing like the unicorns you have read about in the past. This new beast is not quite as flashy. It moves a little slower than its spiral-horned counterpart — the one who galloped to ridiculous valuations at breakneck speed. And you probably will not see this new creature in the news. Why?

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How This CEO Learned to Let Go

Aha! product roadmap management

“We no longer want to work with you.” I once had to say this to a well-known multinational technology company. Our team at Aha! had met with them eight times and they were still asking for an additional (free!) six-month product evaluation. The value exchange simply was not there. So, it was time to kindly say goodbye.

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What a 7 Year Old Taught Me About Team Spirit

work at Aha! product management software

“Dear Future Me, I hope I work at Aha! And live at the beach. Love, Carson” An Aha! teammate recently shared this note with the company. It was from his 7-year-old son’s school journal. And I was blown away. Aha! is the type of company our kids aspire to work for? Mouth-wide-open speechless.

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10 Steps Product Managers Take to Get to The Lovability Line

10 building blocks of lovability

I bet you can think of at least a few customers who absolutely love your product. They are vocal, share positive feedback, say that you “get” them, and advocate for your company. But let’s face it — you can probably also think of a few customers who merely like your product. And then there are many others who simply tolerate what you do. It takes work to get these customers over the line and into love. 

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5 Ways to Know if Your Boss Is Selfish

giant octopus

Work is life and life is work. It is not always fair or easy. There are good days that remind you why you love what you do. You finish an important project or receive an encouraging word from a colleague. Other times, you put in a big effort but fail to achieve the goal. And you wake up at 3 a.m. mulling over what went wrong.

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Hey Boss: My First Day Really Stunk

skunk first day

I will never forget that day. I had just started a new job after finishing graduate school and moving back to the San Francisco Bay area. I showed up at the specified time and aimlessly walked around the office, looking for my new boss. He was at a “breakfast meeting,” I was told. “Go ahead and wait in the lobby.” I waited — and waited. Sad.

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I Said “No More Salespeople, Please”

no more salespeople

I bet at some point, you have done it — you hid from a salesperson. You did not want to be rude, but you also did not want to be bothered with the hard sell. The goal was to get done and be gone before they could harass you. This happened to me recently when I was test-driving a new car.

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