Building things is my favorite way to learn. Even better when I can build things with people who I can learn a lot from. I took my first programming course in college, which lead to my first Ruby on Rails internship at an analytics aggregation company. That summer, I spent every waking hour learning Rails.
During the day, I was building a data aggregator to help customers put all of their business metrics in one place. I would go home and read Rails tutorials and books at night, building clones of products I enjoyed. Rails enabled me to build a Twitter clone in under an hour.
The speed with which I could build cool products had me totally hooked. So, I used my Rails knowledge to explore the next thing that I was interested in — how to build a company.
After graduating, I co-founded a consultancy. We worked with diverse companies including startups, Fortune 500 companies, and research institutions. While I was there, we also started a co-working space in Longmont, CO, organized meetups, and supported the local startup community.
When choosing people and companies to work with, I tried to pick ones that I could learn from. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people over the years. One memorable example was when I was invited to participate in a humanitarian hackathon at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
It is deeply satisfying to help others with expertise that not everyone has. Building humanitarian applications was an excellent way to synthesize much of my technical knowledge to quickly build systems that made people’s lives better.
Of course, running my own consultancy was hard work. And although I was helping startups and clients, I missed the continual growth that came from learning about how what I built would evolve and affect people over the long term. I knew it was time to push myself and find that next opportunity.
I discovered Aha! while I was looking for jobs and wished that I had discovered it sooner. It would have saved me so much headache and heartache. See, in the process of helping startups, I built a number of products that no one cared about at all. That was disappointing.
Aha! certainly would have helped me create a product strategy and think clearly to define features that my clients and users truly needed and cared about. I was struck by the ease of use and completeness of the product — it was everything that I wanted.
I liked the application so much I decided that I wanted to work on it. Once I applied for an engineering role at Aha! I was extremely impressed by the humility, intelligence, and confidence of everyone I talked with. I got the impression that there was a deep satisfaction among the team.
There was purpose and enthusiasm to the hiring process. I wanted to work somewhere with purpose and enthusiasm.
I have never worked with a team like the one at Aha! — this is an all-star team. The level of motivation, competence, and achievement is unlike anywhere I have ever worked with or even heard of. And I love working remotely. Much of my family is distributed around the U.S., and I enjoy having the freedom to travel and visit them while still working.
I greatly enjoy the trust and respect that the engineering team has for one another. One of the first development tasks I was assigned at Aha! was the Box integration. I was very grateful for how supportive the engineering team was while I was learning the codebase. Aha! is a very powerful tool and the codebase is nontrivial.
The response times that I get when I ask questions are often faster than if I had to walk over to someone’s desk in an office. It’s also nice to have support across the organization. The extra oomph added to new features by colleagues from Aha! Marketing and Customer Success teams makes my work feel even more meaningful.
Another reason that I find working at Aha! to be so satisfying is that we are constantly receiving feedback about how much people love our product, and how much better their lives are because of it.
I love that Aha! is growing fast — it is an exciting time. I have had fun helping to build companies in the past. And I have seen businesses from inception through first hires. Now I get to be a part of building and learning from a company that is 40 people strong and getting better every day.
That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.