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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Remote Work Is Not Your Scapegoat

remote work scapegoat

This is a tale of a company at a crossroads. Innovation had stalled. Teamwork was anemic. It was a time of stagnation. Leaders wrung their hands over the ailing enterprise. So they issued a decree. “Hear ye, hear ye! Remote work is banned. All employees must return to the closest regional office.”

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How to Be Transparent at Work (Without Making People Cry)

open office layout

Extreme openness. This was the original intention of the open-office design. Breaking down walls would also break down barriers — everyone could exchange ideas throughout the day. The organization would realize a hyper-state of transparency where the best ideas would always win. But I bet you have experienced a different reality with this floor plan.

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Your Company Is Not a Democracy

a company is not a democracy

We are living in unsettling times. In 2016, you may have found yourself saying “What?!” out loud a lot. And I am betting that this year your knee-jerk response has become, “Now what?” But uncertainty in the world is nothing new. And it definitely is no stranger to business.

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How to Silence the Office Donkey

office donkey

My friend Mary recently shared a recurring nightmare. It involved a twisted metamorphosis into a donkey. It was Disney’s fault — specifically, the film Pinocchio. You know, the scene where the mischievous boys transform into jackasses? It scared the heck out of her as a kid. But these days a different type of donkey haunts my friend.

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Hey Product Manager: Your Sales Team Is Not Excited

Imagine that your job is to sell pencils. Number 2 pencils, to be specific. Your sales pitch is basic. “Classic wooden pencils! You can sharpen, write, and erase!” There is not much else to say. Sure, there is beauty in the pencil’s simplicity and utility, but some days it is a struggle to get excited about moving those units.

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How to Build Your 2018 Roadmap Presentation

product manager presentation

Public speaking. I have learned to really enjoy it and consider it an honor. I have done a lot of it over the last ten years. Although I do understand the anxiety some people feel looking at all those expectant faces. The nervous jitters or pressure to put on a show. But the audience is not that scary. They are just people like us. No, there is something else you should be afraid of that is related to presentations — it might surprise you at first.

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How Smart Product Managers Track Competitors

product manager sick

There is a plague infiltrating your office. Sales? Already infected. Most of the other teams are sick now too. The symptoms make people act lifeless — paranoid thinking and nonsensical talk. You might even hear folks muttering, “We are behind.”    

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The 5 Types of Scary Co-Workers

scary types of co-workers

Do you like spooky stories? I have one about an office worker named George. George liked his job and helping his team succeed. But he always felt like someone was creeping in the background. This person slowed down projects, gobbled up all the credit, and whispered malicious tales.

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Your Remote Co-workers Feel Left Out

remote coworkers left out

I was recently talking with a CEO who was having trouble hiring and retaining good people. He was considering opening new locations and adding a few remote workers. His thinking? More people. My thinking? More problems. Guaranteed.

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This Is Not a Product Roadmap

this is not a product roadmap

What is a product roadmap? Simple enough question. Most product managers would say that a product roadmap lays out the future. But then ask to see that product roadmap and what do you get? A few technical bits about what is planned, captured in a spreadsheet or bug tracking tool.

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Hey Boss: Stop Telling Me to Bring You Solutions

dog bringing a problem

“Do not bring me problems. Bring me solutions.” I am sure you have heard this mantra at work before. In most cases, the thinking is that problems will only make the boss look bad. Well, something looks bad all right — the boss’s “do not bother me” attitude. So what do you do?

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Do These 4 Things Before a Remote Job Interview

video interview tips

Did you ever think your future could be decided by a barking dog? Or a loved one popping in to ask what’s for dinner? Or an unfamiliar web conferencing program? These or any one of an infinite number of things can derail a remote job interview — if you do not properly prepare.

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Your LinkedIn Profile vs. Your Resume

linkedin vs resume

“Clairvoyant Humanist and Life Consultant.” I got a LinkedIn request from someone with this “title” the other day. Well, I am no clairvoyant. But I can predict one thing. The offbeat title will raise eyebrows — as well as suspicion about this person’s level of professionalism.

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5 Reasons Product Managers Are Still Building Disappointing Products

disappointing products

Something is slowly rotting. And I may have found the stinky source. It might be your product. Are you building something that customers love using? Or are they simply holding their noses — tolerating it due to a lack of options or because it is the product they have been told to use?

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It Is Time to Eliminate Sales Commissions

sales commissions

Crazy quotas. Anything to close a deal. Pushing customers no matter the cost. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know how I feel about the traditional approach to sales. Customers have changed, yet the selling process has not. But here is a surprise — I am about to come to the defense of salespeople everywhere.

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