A Start-Up is for Adventure
April 29, 2013

A Start-Up is for Adventure

by Brian de Haaff

Every summer since college I have gone backpacking with a group of friends. I organize the trip and we typically are drawn to the High Sierras. We prefer off-trail, cross-country, point-to-point treks when we can find them. Last year we entered in Yosemite and exited in Ansel Adams. (Can you name that lake in the picture? Send it to me at @aha_io for a special shout-out.)

Each trip requires about a month of planning and coordination. (Ironically, leaving everything behind takes a little planning.) We set out from the trailhead with nervous energy (and an altitude headache) and every year we come back with blisters, mosquito bites, and bush-whacking scrapes and bruises. Wilderness can kick your ass. Many think we are crazy. Depending on the year, some are right.

They are strenuous trips, but one of the highlights of the year. We do it for the pure joy of adventure and camaraderie. We do it for the freedom of choosing our own path. We do it for the memory of knowing we did it. And we do it because we know that if we did not, those five summer days would be like any other five forgettable summer days.

We see bears, bald eagles, badgers, and shooting stars. We swim in glacial lakes, lounge in naturally heated springs and glacade down glaciers (yep, there are actually a few glaciers left in the Sierras.) We find arrowheads and silver mines. And after a few days, we find endless opportunities.

This month I have been planning our 2013 trip. We are headed back to the Emigrant Wilderness.

I have also been working hard this month with the good Dr. (Chris Waters) to build Aha! We are setting off on another business journey as well, and the anticipation of seeing the new and experiencing the unexpected reminds me that a start-up is also for adventure.

It is not the easiest path and sometimes not the most direct either. But it is our path and a path that is guaranteed to be thrilling. The initial planning is done, and we hit the trail on Wednesday with excitement and humility as to what is ahead.

One thing is for certain. We look forward to hearing from other thrill seekers who are interested in new ways to set product strategy and create brilliant roadmaps for their own product adventures.

(We are also happy to share Wilderness routes and photos as well, of course.)

Brian de Haaff

Brian seeks business and wilderness adventure. He is the co-founder and CEO of Aha! — the world’s #1 product development software — and the author of the bestseller Lovability. Brian writes and speaks about product and company growth and the journey of pursuing a meaningful life.

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