My Name Is Perry Hurtt — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Perry Hurtt WIJ

I wanted to do something exceptional. It started way back when I graduated from high school — I knew I wanted to go where I could help people and make a real impact. But growing up without a lot of money, college seemed like a stretch. So, I looked for another place where I could better myself and learn from others.

My goal was to work with people who were the best at what they did, where I could learn how to become better too.

So, I joined the United States Marine Corps at 18. I started out in California — where I was a MOS 0311 (military code for “rifleman,” otherwise known as a “grunt”). But eventually my military career took me around the world, working on computer systems that drove and processed radar outputs into actionable data.

Over the years, my work became more and more technical. By the time I took on my last duty station — at the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center —  I was entirely focused on computer systems. I served there as a director and chief instructor for the UNIX SysAdmin course, teaching the intelligence folks how to manage critical computer systems.

This work had a real and immediate impact — we were ensuring that systems could support our intelligence efforts. At this point, I had spent 16 years in service and was honorably discharged as an E-7 Gunnery Sergeant, one of the most respected ranks in the armed forces.

I got to this distinguished milestone thanks to my fellow Marines who never stopped teaching me and pushing me to grow.

My transition from public service to the private sector was a smooth one — I continued to work with UNIX systems as both an administrator and a consultant in Atlanta. After a few years, I joined the team at CA Technologies, which is where my career started to diverge from computer systems.

The VP of product management approached me about moving into a product manager role. Our team was going through some major transitions and I had never worked in this discipline before — it was a bit of “trial by fire.” I picked up the needed skills quickly, teaching myself and learning from other product managers in the company.

The product management trial was a great success. Instead of working on a system, I was building solutions. And I got to work directly with customers, building the kinds of features that they truly needed. I eventually led a product portfolio that served more than 40,000 customers and had annual revenue in excess of $200 million.

After 10 years at CA, I was ready to move on to my next opportunity. I wanted to work in a new area, as a product manager at a SaaS company. I had never worked at a 100-percent SaaS company before, so there was a lot to learn.

Fortunately, I had a lot of people to learn from. I sat directly next to the engineers and I got to see first-hand how they worked day-to-day. I learned what makes a SaaS product different from an on-premise product — not just the technology stack, but also the mindset and mechanics to running the business.

I had grown a lot, and I found myself wanting to use my skills to make an even larger impact — specifically, interacting more directly with customers. Around this time, I reached out to my former co-worker, Nathaniel Collum, to see how he was liking his new job. He had just joined Aha! and raved about the team and culture. It sounded like the type of place I was looking for, so I applied.

After interviewing with several people, I found myself raving about the team too. I learned about the wide range of companies Aha! served — from large enterprises to smaller startups — and I could instantly see how I would be able to use my product management skills to support customers. I was excited to join the Customer Success team.

At Aha!, I not only get to work on a best-in-class product, but I am also working with a strong team of experts.

Each person across the company has an impressive background and meaningful experiences that they are happy to share. We work together to help product managers around the world build great product, and in the process, we become better product leaders too.

Once again, I feel like I am part of something that matters — doing meaningful work and learning from the best every single day.

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

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