Company Building

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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“Do You Need an Office?” My Mother-in-Law Wants to Know

remote work Aha! product management roadmap team

My mother-in-law was recently in town visiting. When the conversation turned to work, I filled her in on how things were going with Aha! and how our fully distributed team is rapidly growing. She looked at me quizzically and asked, “Do you need an office?”

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Technology vs. Humanity — Your Next Job

technology vs humanity

My career will be defined by the prevalence of the internet. Yours likely will be too. And we are still experiencing an incredible acceleration of the use of technology. But one thing remains the same — we are human. We still crave personal connection, even when so many of our interactions are now made possible by technology.

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These Honest People Are Not Impediments to Profit

angry bonnet monkey

Have you seen the real “real” news? A few well-known companies are behaving badly. They made some money in the short term and felt like long-term winners. People were celebrating their success loudly. And the companies themselves were banging their collective chest with pride — look at us. Yet when their lack of integrity and questionable tactics were revealed, all that hype was replaced by scorn. Sound familiar?

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Why This CEO Says “No” to Venture Capital

venture capital do not feed animals sign horse

“Can we grab coffee on Tuesday or Thursday next week?” This is the sign-off on so many email pitches from associates at venture capital firms who are sourcing deals. Deals — yep, companies with real products and growing customer bases who are going places.

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Love vs. Despise: A Tale of Two Companies

tale of two companies

It was the best of companies, it was the worst of companies. One built something that the people loved. It poured energy into delighting customers. Eventually, it was rewarded with a great fortune. The second company disregarded people. This company was mischievous and greedy. While it succeeded in the short-term, customers and employees eventually revolted. The company lost trust, along with its great fortune.

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“Who Cares? Sammy Got the Money!”

who cares you got the money

Pushy sales people. Marketing claims that hover somewhere between an overreach and an outright lie. You know the kind of company I am talking about. Sadly, there are too many organizations that encourage employees to do or say anything to grow, grow, grow sales. I am sure you can imagine the closed-door conversations: “Who cares? Sam, just get the money!”

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A Product Manager’s Love Note — It Changed Everything

baby chicken running on flagstone walkway

It is not every day that you receive a love note. A person has to think you are pretty special to write a heartfelt message of appreciation and devotion. Who takes the time to do that these days? It is especially rare for people to profess their love for a software company. 

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The One Metric Silicon Valley Is Missing

boy chalk drawing of a rocket ship

A friend just recently helped raise money for a fin-tech startup. Exciting times with lots of numbers to watch. Especially when it relates to having money in the bank to push that end-of-business death cliff out another 18 months. But all he could talk about was that it was an “up round.” (Barely, but still up.) I reminded him that for private companies there is one number that people obsess over, often causing more harm than good — valuation.

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Your Success — Think Like a Grandpa

black and white fedoras

“Think like grandpa?” That may sound like backward advice. Times have changed. What could our grandparents possibly have to say about running a business today? Well, I think they have plenty to say.

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The Un-Buzzed Way to Build a Great Company

Aha! product management book

People are unhappy at work. That is obvious. In a recent post I strongly suggested that leaders have a responsibility — to treat everyone with respect, set a positive example for the team, and create a framework for what success looks like. But what happens when leaders do not own up to that responsibility?

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You Do Not Need a Chief Happiness Officer

stuffed horse in a ball pit

Nap pods. Stairs replaced with slides. A full-size Ferris wheel. No, I am not talking about an adult arcade hall. These are all real ways companies try to keep people happy. I even know someone whose company installed a ball pit. He said it was fun for a moment. But it ultimately became an office joke (and a great way to hide colleagues’ pens).

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You Deserve Workplace Freedom

I love being outside. Just last week I went snowshoeing with some friends in Yosemite. But when I told a colleague about my trip, she wrinkled her nose. Snowshoeing? No thanks. Curling up indoors with a good novel is her idea of a good time.

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Will Your Legacy Mindset Fail You?

Aha! roadmap software for product managers on mountain bike

“The epitome of power.” I recently read an article in Harvard Business Review that proclaimed this was why we should care about building a legacy. It gave me pause. The word “power” suggests that legacies are about leverage and status, reserved for company founders and CEOs. I know that is not the case.

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You Cannot Buy This Priceless Tool

Aha! roadmap software team go-kart race

Is there a fee for being happy at work? I recently saw an ad suggesting that there might be. A software company promised to boost employee engagement and retention with its powerful analytics platform — all for a small monthly fee. While the technology might be impressive (and there are certainly benefits to HR software) I had to shake my head at the pay-for-happy thinking.

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