Company Building

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

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Grow Really Fast Without Losing Your Soul

grow fast startup culture

It was our third Aha! onsite. Twice a year our entire remote team gets together in a destination location. This onsite was in Park City, Utah. After a week of meaningful sessions, many great meals, and even some bobsledding, everyone lingered to chat on the final night. As I looked at the talented folks on the team who were excited to be doing something different and great together, I could not help but feel a bit wistful.

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Go Inside the Aha! Offices (the Perks May Surprise You)

Aha! remote jobs

Welcome to the office of your dreams. Here you will find your favorite snacks, cozy spots for your pets, and gear to play all the sports you love. Everything is expressly tailored to your exact specifications. You can even chat with family members while you are enjoying your freshly-brewed espresso. This may sound like a fantasy, but it is how our team at Aha! works every day. How? 

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The Founder’s Paradox: How to Know When to Change Course and When To Keep Going

Founder's Paradox: Change Course

I love the adventure of travel. I am always looking to see and learn something new about a place and the people who live there. Right now, I am writing this from Italy where I am vacationing with my family. Driving here has been an adventure itself. The streets are ancient — narrow, wildly winding, and punctuated by faded signage that confuses more than guides. There have been quite a few “Are we sure this is the right way?” conversations with my wife and kids.

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The Founder’s Paradox: How to Work on Vacation and Still Have Fun

founder's paradox: work vacation

The idea of a “vacation” has always somewhat bothered me. Not because I do not like to travel. (I love exploring new places. I am actually writing this post while in the San Diego airport.) And not because I do not think people deserve a break. We all need time to focus on other obligations and hobbies. Mostly because the way we talk about vacations infers that you need to escape your regular occupation — completely.

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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 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…