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 and marketing planning 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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Go Ahead — Beat Yourself Up

beat yourself up

“Do not beat yourself up.” I am sure you have heard this before. It is a well-intentioned remark meant to soothe the sting of failure. There is some truth to being gentle with yourself. If you planned ahead and worked hard, then there is no need to flog yourself if unforeseen circumstances upend your plan. But I do believe there are many times when you absolutely should beat yourself up.

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The Founder’s Paradox: How to Balance Certainty With Uncertainty

Founder's Paradox: Uncertainty

We are living in uncertain times. You could say this has always been true — life is unpredictable and so are we. People are complex. And as much as technology has brought us closer together, it has also drawn in stark contrast all the ways that we are different. Social media, in particular, has been used to amplify those differences. There is confusion and chaos, conflict and turmoil. It can be hard to project calm strength when uncertainty rules the day.

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The VP of Marketing vs. the VP of Sales

vp of marketing vs vp of sales

Marketing vs. sales. This is a common workplace battle. The VP of marketing in one corner and the VP of sales in the other, both ready to face off. But if you stop and think about it, this fight is almost comical. The two roles are fighting for the same exact thing — to grow the business. So, why does it seem like these two are always squaring off?

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The Secrets Behind The Responsive Method by Aha!

The Responsive Method

T-R-M. You will hear these three letters often at Aha! — with teammates exclaiming things like, “Melissa showed some next-level TRM today, showing the customer new functionality that they needed before they even asked for it.” Or “I reported a bug to the engineering team and it was fixed within 10 minutes. Serious TRM!” So, what is TRM? It stands for The Responsive Method. It is the engine that powers us.

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The Founder’s Paradox: How to Stay Focused When Other Opportunities Keep Tempting You

founder's paradox opportunity

It takes courage to have a single focus. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Because while it takes chutzpah to set really ambitious goals, that is not where the bravery comes in. No, that comes later, when you have to recommit over and over to the vision you have set in order to realize it. This kind of focus is not always easy — especially in rapidly-growing companies where there are so many promising new opportunities to pursue.

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6 Ways to Respond to Stressful Changes at Work

Changes at work — Aha! blog

Have you heard of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale? It is essentially a scale of life events, ranking from the most stressful to the least. It is no surprise that some negative markers include things like the death of a loved one or losing your job. But you will also see things that are typically thought of as positive — like getting married or having a baby. No matter how you look at this scale, I believe it reveals a simple truth.

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11 Surprising Books Every Marketer Should Read

Books for marketers – Aha! blog

I always have a stack of “to-read” books on my nightstand. Recently, I finished a biography of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. No matter what you think of the company today, it was amazing to learn how Walton transformed a small-town dime store into a multinational behemoth. This story was full of wisdom about promoting products, connecting with customers, and building a lasting brand — lessons that are relevant to anyone in marketing today.

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5 Signs You Lack an Integrated Marketing Plan

integrated marketing plan

Tell me if this sounds familiar. After a strategic planning session, the marketing team agrees on a high-level roadmap for the next quarter. You are excited to get to work. But then one teammate learns about a new ad platform. And another just got back from a conference and wants to start a company podcast. Everyone is going in a different direction. Suddenly, your solid plan feels more like a franken-plan.

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Marketing Strategy vs. Sales Strategy

marketing strategy vs sales strategy

Childhood lemonade stands. If you grew up in the U.S., you probably had one. Maybe you posted fliers in your neighborhood. Whether you knew it or not, this was your marketing strategy. You made basic decisions — how many cups you hoped to sell and any tactics you might use to encourage a purchase. You also had to decide what the price would be and if you would offer multi-cup discounts. This was your sales strategy.

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The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Keep an Entirely Remote Team Engaged

founder's paradox — remote team

I understood the skepticism at first. After all, Aha! was a new company with an entirely new approach. This was early 2013. My co-founder Dr. Chris Waters and I were working hard to build a Minimum Lovable Product and get as much feedback from customers as we could. We knew we wanted to wait until we had 100 paying customers before hiring anyone. And we knew that no matter what, we wanted to build our team intentionally and remotely. Read more…

This Is Why Brilliant Marketing Teams Never Lie

sneaky marketing teams

What would an ideal world look like to you? Your answer might be slightly different than mine, but I believe most of us would include some fundamentals — integrity, kindness, and service to others. It might seem odd to say that you can be a part of making this happen through your work. Especially if you work in marketing, which often gets targeted as mischievous and dishonest. Read more…

Stop Being so Fixated on Your Next Job Title

job title promotion

Have you ever quit a job because you did not get the promotion or title change that you wanted? I considered doing so myself in the past and know a few people who actually have. You start growing restless — convincing yourself that everyone else is “getting ahead.” In fact, you grow so restless that you become more fixated on the title than the work and your personal growth. Read more…