I was dreaming about Aha! long before I knew it existed. Let me explain. It was a cold night in December 2014. I was at a cookie party — you know the kind, where you bake dozens of treats and swap with other guests. I was in the kitchen chatting with a childhood friend of the hostess. We were talking about her job as well as mine.
“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.
I learned a hard lesson early in my career — one that I never forgot. I was working on product strategy for a media company. Third-party studies showed that prospective customers were interested in a new content format. So we decided to revamp the site. When the mockups were ready, we interviewed our existing customers to get their take on the new look. And boy, am I glad we did.
I am often surprised by what people choose to send as cover letters. Typos, broken links, and rambling emails. I also see messages like this one: “I was looking for work-from-home opportunities and I came across your company. Below is a copy of my resume. Please let me know if you have anything available.”
Simple to enjoy. No, I am not referring to my morning cup of coffee. I’m reminiscing about a few of my favorite features I worked on as a product manager. What made them so enjoyable? It was not the technology. The common theme was awesome collaboration between product and engineering.
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.
How is it already 2017? The end of the year always seems to rush by in a hurry. But we managed to keep busy in the midst of the holidays. After all, there were a lot of stories to tell. From product management myths to career advice — we covered it all on the Aha! blog this month.
When I first learned to program, I did not have a computer. I wrote everything out on paper and just imagined what would happen when it ran. (This was back in the days when magazines actually had code listings for you to type into your Commodore 64 or Apple II, and the only storage was on cassette tapes.)
A few people brainstorming in a big room with walls covered in sticky notes. That is how I imagined ideation before I became a product manager. Of course, once I started working as a PM, I learned that new product ideas come from everywhere — from inside the organization, from outside business partners, and most often, directly from customers.
“What kind of product manager will you be this year?” This was THE QUESTION that smacked me early on in my career. I had just come back from a holiday break and was catching up with my boss. I wanted to give a strong reply, but I needed time to unpack the question.
I seek adventure in two places: business and wilderness. When the two intersect the result is something special. And as far as adventures go, 2016 certainly offered fodder for some wild topics. I think you can see that reflected in what we wrote about on the Aha! blog this past year.
Think back to your high school years. Remember that one kid who just seemed to have “it”? The classmate who everyone was sure would be a great success. Mine was smart and well-liked. He was a great athlete too. Let’s call him Stan to protect his identity. Stan talked a lot about his big plans.
Anyone else love getting gift cards? Instead of a repeat of last year’s ugly holiday sweater and an endless number of kitchen utensils, I received a couple of gift cards this year. Out with the sweater and tongs and in with the custom pick of my choice. That’s a win in my book. And I bet you like to pick your own gifts as well.