18 Blog Posts That Inspired You Most in 2020
December 30, 2020

18 Blog Posts That Inspired You Most in 2020

by Brian de Haaff

“What a timely post, I was just talking about this with my colleague!" I love seeing messages like this when I share an Aha! blog post on LinkedIn. Writing has always been an outlet for me to share my musings on leadership and product knowledge. Since we founded Aha! in 2013, we have published new content every single week. And 2020 was no different.

Each blog post this year touched on an important theme — how you have an opportunity to build a future that is better than today for your customers, employees, and the community around you.

Now I know 2020 has been incredibly challenging. We navigated a global pandemic, social injustice, and fast-changing markets. Some progress has been made, but many people are still suffering, isolated, and struggling. So even as we head into a new year that promises a fresh start, it is more important than ever to be hopeful about what tomorrow holds.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to keep pushing forward have a responsibility to do our best work and create space for others to do the same. At Aha! we have had the opportunity to do that by continuing to deliver software that helps teams build what matters most and by expanding Aha! Cares to include a new fellowship program.

And we shared what we learned along the way — offering advice for how you too can make a real difference in the lives of others.

A lot happened this year. And at times, it felt as though a week contained a month's worth of activity. So you may have missed out on a few blog posts. The following list of 18 were the most-shared on social media and the ones that sparked meaningful conversation — either in comments on LinkedIn threads or emails to our team:

Strategy

You need a goal-first approach to achieve. No matter what type of work you do, strategy was more important than ever this year. Many of you have had to make quick decisions amidst enormous uncertainty. Several of our posts this year centered around how strategy helps you stay focused on your vision and provides a framework for choosing a path forward — even when the future is cloudy.

1. 15 Elements of a Brilliant Business Strategy

2. Product Strategy vs. Go-to-Market Strategy

3. Strategic Thinking vs. Strategic Planning

Product management

Product managers build the future. You create solutions that provide lasting value for both your customers and your company. And during chaotic times, those solutions can be the difference between success and failure for many organizations. You faced enormous pressure to navigate hurdle after hurdle in 2020. We hope the insights we shared from seasoned product managers helped you along the way.

4. 6 Things I Learned From My First Product Management Job

5. B2B Product Managers vs. B2C Product Managers

6. Product Manager vs. Product Owner

Roadmaps

Every team needs a strategic roadmap. You can define where you are headed and rally people around exactly what you will do to get there. But as world events altered everything we knew in 2020, many of you had to tweak your roadmap or even start from scratch to meet an entirely new reality. We were here to offer some advice.

7. Product Roadmaps vs. Gantt Charts

8. Roadmaps Make Strategy Work

9. The 6 Principles of Strategic Product Roadmapping

Customer empathy

Empathy starts with curiosity. If you are building and creating for others, you need to relate to those who you are serving on a deep level. That is why we launched Aha! Ideas this year. We also provided plenty of advice on how to better connect with your customers and then translate those insights into innovative solutions.

10. 19 Questions All Curious Product Managers Ask

11. Understanding the Heart of the Customer

12. Why Kindergartners are More Empathetic Than Product Managers

Leadership

Leadership can be isolating during times of uncertainty. You have no precedent to fall back on and no one to turn to who has been there before. Yet the future of your company rests solely on your shoulders. In The Founder's Paradox series, I offered some guidance for making decisions during times of doubt, fear, and uncertainty.

13. The Founder's Paradox: How to Be Agile and Deliver Major New Functionality on Time

14. The Founder's Paradox: How to Make Clear Decisions When the Future Is So Cloudy

15. The Founder's Paradox: How to Stay Open to Interruptions and Still Get Work Done

Remote work

Aha! has been 100 percent remote from the start. But many of you had to implement work-from-home policies for the first time this year. And you likely did not have much time to form a concrete plan for how to remain engaged and productive remotely long-term. So we gathered what we knew on how to run a successful company remotely and shared those insights with you.

16. 4 Major Transformations That Happen When Companies Shift to Remote Work

17. 10 Tips From the Aha! Team on Working Remotely With a Full House

18. How to Work Remotely (If You Have Never Done It Before)

I know that I am not alone in looking forward to what 2021 will bring — certainly there will be more to write and share with you.

There is always a lively conversation on my LinkedIn, where I share even more beyond what you see on the blog. I appreciate it when you share your thoughts and perspective with me. It is these conversations that inspire me to continue to write week after week and tackle the big questions.

What themes did your team encounter in 2020?

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Brian de Haaff

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

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