“Increased social media followers by 4,000 percent. Boosted website traffic by 3,500 percent.” I see puffed up metrics like this all the time. Especially on resumes submitted by people applying for marketing roles. While I appreciate the instinct to show results, what do these eye-popping numbers really mean?
Getting lost used to be much easier. One wrong turn and you could lose your way. You might pull over to unfold a faded paper map. Maybe even ask a stranger at a gas station for directions. Now smartphones and GPS have changed the way we navigate. But even the best technology cannot tell you where you want to go.
Sometimes your gut instinct is wrong. I discovered this a number of years ago after launching a new product. A strange phenomenon was happening. The more support interactions a customer had, the more likely they were to keep using the product. Wait — what? The more problems customers had, the longer they stayed with us?
Who is the most misunderstood in technology? I would say it is the person who plans what will be built next. This person — often called the product manager — is a puzzler to many. Just consider how many different job titles are used for people who do the work of product management: product manager, product owner, business analyst, and even program or project manager sometimes. To keep it simple — let’s refer to these folks as product managers.
It is one thing to write down your thoughts in a private journal. It is quite another to publish those thoughts for everyone to read. You need to have a strong conviction to share what you have learned. That is why I started writing on the Aha! blog — to share my views about building great products and companies with others who are trying to do the same.
“I could never work remotely.” A friend of a friend said this to me the other day. We had just met and I was explaining how we run Aha! as a fully distributed team. Despite that declarative statement about “never working remotely,” this person seemed plenty interested in the concept of remote work once I described how we do it at Aha!
Does it ever feel like there is just too much information coming your way? You are not the only one who is exhausted. The whole team is drowning — chasing down customer requests, navigating conflicting executive decrees, and trying to prioritize which colleague to respond to first. It is no wonder the mental exhaustion seems contagious. This overcommitted and overloaded state is not sustainable. But the solution might surprise you.
“Quick, hide!” You hear the whispered warning from your co-worker. The hawkish boss is circling the office again — hunting for intel and ready to swoop. He sees no problem with preying on his own employees to get what he wants. Squawking about status updates being delivered at the end of each day, he claws his way into every meeting and conversation.
“I have some feedback for you.” When you hear these words, do you go into fight or flight mode? Maybe you are a runner. You think about an escape route. So you defensively scramble for a convenient excuse to avoid the discussion entirely. Read more…
I am sure this has happened to you at least once. You are trying to solve a problem at work and need help from a colleague. So you send off a quick chat message. No answer. You follow up with an email. Still nothing. Hello? Is anyone out there?
“Let’s get it done ASAP.” How many times have you heard this from your boss? Maybe it was an urgent phone call or an email flagged as “high priority.” The pressure of a countdown. Tick, tick, tick… But let’s be real — I bet those demanding “needed it yesterday” calls and emails did not speed up your work.
I learned how to write business models in graduate school. Although, it really felt more like writing long and complicated novels. I once spent three months working on one for a hypothetical home services referral website. I even conjured up crowd-sourced reviews for my would-be business. The process revealed a depressing plot twist.