Company Building

Advice for entrepreneurs, founders, and business leaders who want to build high growth companies that are lasting.

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 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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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…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Celebrate the Now When Your Job Is About the Future?

The Founder's Paradox: How Do You Celebrate the Now When Your Job Is About the Future?

“Toot toot!” This has become a sort of virtual celebratory air horn sound at Aha! — it started with one teammate and has spread. Being a remote-first company, it is a simple message that is clear to all. “Hooray! We did it!” But for me, it has become a welcome reminder that it is important to stop and celebrate. This is different from my always-looking-ahead mindset and I appreciate it.

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How We Celebrate Perfect Moments at Aha!

Aha! for Marketing launch

Dozens of support articles. 58 marketing activities completed. And hundreds of screenshots. This is just a sampling of the work that went into the launch of Aha! for Marketing. Our team felt an enormous sense of accomplishment on the morning of the launch. And despite the fact that we all work remotely, folks still got together to celebrate — hopping on a video meeting to cheer as the new product went live. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Throw Credit When the Big Idea Was Yours?

founder's paradox: big ideas

Few actions spark real disgust at work. But I can think of one that never fails to cause a personal fury. It is when someone takes another person’s idea and presents it as their own. It is even more annoying when the idea is well received and the taker gets kudos for coming up with such a clever concept in the first place. But as a founder, this is exactly what you want. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How to Get People to Tell You What They Really Think When They Are Afraid To

founders paradox really think

“What do you think?” This can be one of the hardest questions to answer. Especially in an all-company meeting, when the person asking is the founder or CEO. Silence is understandable — people may feel timid, worried about saying the wrong thing and looking foolish in front of their colleagues and other leaders. So, you get blank stares and tight lips. You truly want to know the answer, but people seem afraid to speak up. Read more…

2019 Is the Year to Go Boldly

Go boldly 2019

What does it mean if someone calls you “bold”? It could be that your actions seem courageous. Or that you take risks and have a certain fearlessness to your character. But it does not necessarily mean you are thoughtful. Although it should. Because boldness requires listening and openness too — traits that are sorely needed today. Read more…

How Our Company Saves $1,200,000 a Year and Pays Profit Sharing Instead

Aha! no offices

Profit sharing is not common in most privately held tech companies. Why? Well, it is pretty simple. For starters, most of these companies are not making any profit. (It is hard to share what you do not have.) And many are backed by venture capitalists who are expecting a big return on their investment within a few years. Generously giving back to employees is not exactly a priority. However, there is a way to grow quickly and put people first.

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Get Hired at Aha! — And Then Expect This

welcome new employee Aha!

The first day of work can feel a lot like the first day of school. You are filled with excitement — ready to take on a new challenge and meet new people. But if you are joining an entirely distributed company, you might wonder what that first day will be like. Is that first day of working remotely like walking into an empty classroom? Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How to Add Complexity and Avoid It

Founder's Paradox complexity

More customers, more people, more process, more technology — leading to more success. And success leads to financial gains which can be reinvested to grow more customers, more people, more process, more technology. If you are fortunate, this merry-go-round continues. But at times, it can be a bit dizzying the more spins you complete. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Respond Instantly When You Are Super Busy?

Founders Paradox super busy

You are so busy that you are tired. Really tired. Seven-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day tired. And you still have more to do, more than seems possible for just one person. But you are not the only one — this is how it always is for company founders. You are consistently on the edge of too much, but you will go until you cannot go anymore. And then you do it again the next day. Read more…