We Are Hiring — Lead Rails Engineers Wanted!

We have had a terrific year and seem to have touched a nerve with Aha! The business is growing fast and we have been busy expanding the team. We are now looking for terrific Rails developers and a very forward-looking marketing lead.

We Are Hiring — Lead Rails Engineers Wanted!

We have had a terrific year and seem to have touched a nerve with Aha! The business is growing fast and we have been busy expanding the team. We are now looking for terrific Rails developers and a very forward-looking marketing lead.

Pissing Away Our Money With Google Display Ads

Our company is growing quickly and we have been increasing our spending on various advertising platforms to promote our app for product managers and engineers. We recently started testing Display Ads on Google. What we discovered today first appeared to be a mystery. But after closer inspection was more closely related to sleazy intent than random happen-chance.

Pissing Away Our Money With Google Display Ads

Our company is growing quickly and we have been increasing our spending on various advertising platforms to promote our app for product managers and engineers. We recently started testing Display Ads on Google. What we discovered today first appeared to be a mystery. But after closer inspection was more closely related to sleazy intent than random happen-chance.

My Name Is Suzanne Vaughan — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Product management is a metaphor for life. You start out with a vision of what youd like your life to be and create a strategy with goals and initiatives to get there. I know because I have been a product manager and been around product managers most of my career. Except most of us dont get there. Many of us wake up one day wondering Is this it?

My Name Is Suzanne Vaughan — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Product management is a metaphor for life. You start out with a vision of what youd like your life to be and create a strategy with goals and initiatives to get there. I know because I have been a product manager and been around product managers most of my career. Except most of us dont get there. Many of us wake up one day wondering Is this it?

Hey Boss — My Strategy Is Telling You “No”

Here is how it goes down. You turn the corner and the big boss (who never uses the product or speaks with customers) says I have a great new idea for a feature. Or worse, that pesky sales engineer tracks you down and says Dude, did you see my email? If we just add that new capability we could penetrate the healthcare vertical. Your stomach churns, you nod calmly, and say That sounds good, let me take a look and get back to you on what it would take.

Hey Boss — My Strategy Is Telling You “No”

Here is how it goes down. You turn the corner and the big boss (who never uses the product or speaks with customers) says I have a great new idea for a feature. Or worse, that pesky sales engineer tracks you down and says Dude, did you see my email? If we just add that new capability we could penetrate the healthcare vertical. Your stomach churns, you nod calmly, and say That sounds good, let me take a look and get back to you on what it would take.

Communicating when “fires” break out – “We are on it”

As software product managers, we often deal with cross-functional issues from time to time such as projects that fall behind schedule and now risk making a release, creative designs not ready for implementation, serious production issues that require immediate swats to be released etc. When such problems crop up, keeping your cross-functional team including your management team updated with the latest information is of paramount important. You can take two approaches to communication when such “fires” arise:

  1. Try to gather as much information as possible before you communicate so that you can include all the details of the problem and how you are going to fix it or
  2. Communicate immediately acknowledging there is a problem without revealing the seriousness of the problem and details of how you are going to fix it.

When substantial time is needed to gather data to understand the impact and quantify the size of the problem, I always prefer the latter. In an emergency, it is important to acknowledge that you are aware of the problem and to communicate the message “we are on top of it”. This way everyone (especially your senior management) know about the problem and can rest assured that folks are actively looking into it. Then, once you have gathered more information follow up with the details, options to fix the problem and the recommended solution. Instead, if you wait until you have all the information and good amount of time goes by, someone is going to find out, things get miscommunicated and you could spend more time trying to set things right.

Relate this to when tragedies strike – there is always a “first responder” team that appears on the scene immediately. Their job is to arrive first at the scene and take charge of the scene and start the data gathering process. As a product manager, you should be your team’s leader and part of the first responder team. On-time communication with the whole team is one way to gain respect and make you the go-to-person on your team.

Thoughts? Your experiences?

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Content matters…Sales matters…but Buyers Always Wins

contentYou’ve heard this one before….without experience I can’t get a job; but, without a job I can’t get experience. What do you do? How do you break the cycle?

Move this into our world… we have all heard the metrics that the buyer has essentially made his purchase decision prior to engaging in the sales cycle, so we need to put content goodies out there to be found. Without content, we can’t win business, develop trust or even build our brand.

But, without sales, we also can’t afford to build content. What do you do? How do you break the cycle? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In many smaller organizations, the subject matter expert (SME) is wearing many hats and is being pulled in multiple directions – development, investors, sales, maybe even CEO… and downloading content from his brain to your inbox is simply not a priority.

Content matters. Sales matters. There is no right or wrong here. There is no either/or. They both matter. If we take it upon ourselves to understand the market and the buyer, we can then, very succinctly, ask the SME questions to draw out enough information for us to employ our mad research skills and figure out the best format to showcase his response (whether it be an infographic, a white paper, a blog post, etc.) It is likely that he can pull out some older content that you were not even aware of, and can be polished up or refreshed. What already exists in your organization? Search for old blog posts, support FAQ’s, tips and tricks in the product manual. Think about what a frustrated buyer might type into Google or Quora seeking help and create content that helps solve that issue.

By knowing your buyer, you can also create new content. Solve a buyer’s problem. Understand their concerns. Make that your message. If you know your message, and can clearly articulate that message, creating content becomes easier. Once you put the content out into the market place, the buyer will seek you out to solve his problem. Sales follow and the cycle is broken.  Looking in from the outside, it seems to always start with your buyer.