About Brian and Aha!

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the adventure of living a meaningful life.

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Why You Should Never Call Yourself a Guru

Never call yourself guru

Have you met any gurus recently? I know I have received quite a few connection requests from self-anointed ninjas, trailblazers, and pioneers. Recently I asked folks on LinkedIn to share their encounters with other “buzzword bingo” job titles. The responses did not disappoint — disruptor, change agent, influencer, and (yes) guru. Unless someone is an actual ninja, I have to wonder what people are hoping to communicate with these terms.

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Product Strategy vs. Go-to-Market Strategy

Product vs Go-to-market strategy

Have you heard of cognitive dissonance theory? In psychology, it refers to the tension that results when you attempt to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time. We all balance ideas that are often quite different. This is especially true for product managers and product marketing managers. Building and launching brilliant products requires that you can understand and harmonize an internal focus (the build) with an external focus (the launch).

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How to Be Bored at Work

“If you cannot get out of it, get into it.” This is a simple yet powerful saying that I think is particularly applicable to work. Because even if you are passionate about what you do, you will not be energized by every single project or task. So unless you want to get out entirely, adopting a positive attitude can help you get into it.

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Aha! Donates $127,093 to Support Those Most In Need

Aha! Cares 2020

A world of caring communities. This is what we envisioned when we announced our philanthropic initiative which is appropriately named Aha! Cares last year. Our first year was an incredible success. We gave more than $100,000 in 2019 to community-based nonprofits. And collectively, Aha! teammates clocked 794 hours of service — everything from packing meals for at-risk kids to improving housing for victims of domestic violence.

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Vision vs. Strategy vs. Roadmap

vision strategy roadmap

Roadmaps are beautiful. Not just because they are aesthetically pleasing, but because of what they represent. Roadmaps clearly show what you want to achieve and how you will get there. You can create excitement for a big idea and package it in a way that others can understand. But a roadmap is still just a visualization. You need to have a vision and strategy behind the plan.

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Just Launched! — New Workspaces for IT, Project Management, Services, and Business Teams

We started Aha! in 2013 because we wanted to help companies build what customers love and be happy doing it. Product teams were the beginning, but we quickly discovered that many other groups were struggling to capture strategy, create visual plans, and report on the impact of their work. So last year we introduced a workspace for marketing teams. And now to kick off 2020, we are expanding to serve even more groups.

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The Top 10 Most-Loved Products Have This in Common

most lovable company

What products do you love? How about one you truly adore? I ask every person who joins Aha! these two questions during onboarding and most people can only come up with a few. I posed this question to folks on LinkedIn recently and the results were the same — just a handful of companies listed. When probed for details, you would think it is the features of the product itself that people say they love. But you would be incorrect.

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The One Sign Your Company Is Growing Too Fast

Company growing too fast

What is the most important characteristic of a company founder? Perhaps a visionary mind, bold spirit, or strong work ethic. There is no single answer. But I believe there is one essential trait that is often overlooked. I am talking about patience — the willingness to pursue opportunities and solve challenges as they arrive. This is especially true when it comes to hiring.

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How to Get Executive Buy-In by Creating a Compelling Business Case

Executive buy-in

Blank checks are rare in most companies. You typically need to first validate how your ideas will impact the business before you get resources assigned and receive financial support. And if you are a product manager, then you know how challenging it is to get leadership buy-in for a big new investment. But to build what customers really need, you must be able to show the executive team that your vision is sound.

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Big Goal, Achieved — So Why Do You Feel Lousy?

big goal achieved

Achievement is addictive. But it does not automatically lead to bliss. I am referring to what researchers call the arrival fallacy — the mistaken belief that once we accomplish our goals we will be happy. We think that finishing a big project, earning a promotion, or receiving positive feedback from our boss will bring us joy. But the reality is that these individual moments rarely lead to long-term fulfillment.

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