My Name Is Nathaniel Collum — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

nathaniel collum why i joined aha

It was my first year of high school. I was doing fine scholastically, but I did not yet have a passion — my “thing.” So I decided to pursue two things that genuinely interested me at the time: the soccer team and the school musical. Turns out, I am really bad at soccer. But I did get the lead in the high school musical.

I finally found my thing — I learned the power of impacting people’s lives in a tangible way.

I found that we let our guards down with theater. When done well, storytelling helps us better understand our world, relationships, and so much more. I chased this magic all the way to university, where I majored in drama and religion, met my wife, and graduated with honors.

After college, I knew I wanted to work on projects that made an exponential impact on people’s lives in the same way that the arts do. Technology had always been another area of fascination for me. So I joined the support team at Vocalocity, a startup VoIP phone service for small business owners.

I was listening to customer problems daily. I developed a deep empathy and respect for our users. Six months later, I became Vocalocity’s first retention specialist. I spent a lot of time talking with customers about what was not working. I took some abuse, sure, but abuse can be a great teacher. However, something else was nagging me.

I wanted to stop putting out fires and work on something that would have a broader impact.

I proposed the creation of a new department, which would meet with large clients and help get them set up. This hands-on approach early on prevented a lot of the downstream problems we were seeing. My efforts ultimately led to an opportunity to work in product — a job with an incredible amount of impact.

I moved on to my next venture as a product manager at BetterCloud. I led our action orchestration and operational intelligence products, as well as both the tactical and strategic work across four full-stack development teams. I also founded a product meetup in Atlanta.

I loved working with product managers and working on product management problems.

During that time, BetterCloud was building a brand new platform from scratch and I needed something better than spreadsheets and Jira to manage our feature volume. I became an Aha! customer and a frequent blog reader. I quickly became the internal Aha! champion — I am 100 percent certain that people got tired of hearing me say, “You know, you can do that in Aha!”

I felt like I was building something that mattered at BetterCloud. But I was not spending enough time with customers in my role. In order to become a truly great product leader, I needed to reconnect with what mattered most — the customer. This is why the Customer Success Senior Manager role at Aha! appealed to me so much.

Here was an opportunity to reconnect with an area of product management that I loved the most — working with customers.

The interview process with Aha! was genuinely wonderful. I had a series of insightful web video meetings with members of the team — it was an honor to get a chance to talk about product management and share my thanks for a product that I loved.

I was humbled to receive a job offer. I was even more humbled when I joined the team — I have been so impressed with the quality of everyone’s work across every department. I love that I get to work with people across the world. I also love working from home and that I get to have breakfast with my kids every morning.

But most of all, I love working at Aha! — how often can you say that you truly love the product and the company you work for? I found my “thing” and then some.

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

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