My Name Is Joon Shin — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

joon shin Aha! product roadmap

Marketing agencies get a bad rap. It can be said that they foster ruthless work environments aimed at one thing: racking up the biggest client spend bill possible. Well, I’m happy to provide a counter to that impression. My agency experience was nothing like that at all.

My first job out of U.C. Berkeley was at a marketing agency that was self-funded by its two founders. We prided ourselves as being extensions of our clients’ teams. Around the office, we even used the term “partner” rather than “client.” 

This mentality proved extremely successful. The agency attracted clients with complex and engaging projects. My personal success mirrored the agency’s — a year and a half in and I was leading calls and in-person meetings with directors, VPs, and CEOs.

When I think back to that success, I can easily say it was because of the team and the culture.

Team members pitched in to help you meet deadlines, and some even came in with you on weekends so you wouldn’t be lonely. The bosses were definitely not animals. Colleagues became cherished friends. You got the credit you deserved and the career coaching and training you asked for. Over time, my friends and mentors moved on to new endeavors. I was genuinely glad for each of them.

The business continued to grow, and my responsibility grew with it. Yet I realized it was time for a new challenge. As much as I had enjoyed being a trusted “partner” I was ready to see the story through from beginning to end — I was ready to join a marketing team within a company.

My top priority as I began my job search was finding the same caliber of culture and teamwork. Anyone who’s gone through the job search process knows it’s like the worst parts of your least favorite activities — for me, going to the DMV and the dentist. So I was happy to hear from Keith Brown, a former “partner” who now leads the marketing team at Aha!

The initial communications with Aha! were very personalized, and responses came back within minutes.

The interview process demonstrated how the company values respect and love. Aha! turned the question of “fit” upside down. Rather than asking, “Are you the right fit for us,” the emphasis was placed on, “Is Aha! the right fit for you?” There was genuine interest in my career goals and how Aha! could help me achieve those goals.

Once I joined, I knew I had made the right choice. The marketing team at Aha! is filled with incredibly talented experts who embody the culture that I was searching for. 

My favorite thing is that we can replicate the office setting with a fully distributed team. Although we can’t challenge each other to office table tennis, we’ve developed those meaningful personal relationships that made my last job so special.

That is why I joined Aha! — and why you should too.

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