My Name Is Jeff Tucker — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Atlanta, GA | Photo by Jeff Tucker, Aha! product and UX team

April 22, 2022

My Name Is Jeff Tucker — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

The Mona Lisa. Fallingwater. Open-world video games. These impressive feats come from different eras and disciplines. But they all have something in common — their creators were both technically and creatively talented. It is fascinating to me how these two types of knowledge consistently complement each other.

Technical and design skills often form a symbiotic relationship — possessing both can open up new ways of building beautiful things.

I am no Leonardo da Vinci. But I do consider myself to be technically creative. I have always been drawn to science, math, and engineering as methods for bringing ideas to life. I loved playing with LEGOs and coding my own simple PC games as a kid. Later on, I embarked on a career in software engineering.

At first this was perfectly aligned with my interests — software engineering requires both technical acumen and creative thinking. And building features gave me a sense of ownership. But after a few years, I became less interested in implementing solutions and wanted to be more involved upfront in discovering those solutions.

I made the move to technical UX design at an HR software company. I enjoyed researching customer needs, collaborating with the product team, and designing intuitive improvements. This was a step in the right direction. I stuck with UX for a while — but I still did not feel quite at home. I eventually realized that I was most drawn to finding — and defining — the right problems to solve.

Until that point, my work had been about "how" products were designed and built. These experiences brought me closer to what really motivated me — the "why" behind those product decisions. And I was ready to take the leap.

At the time of this realization, I was a lead product designer for a company that develops front-end testing tools. I was able to transition to product management within the same organization. And it was exactly what I was looking for. As a product manager, it was up to me to distill customer feedback to its essence, unearth problems, and define features that aligned with our product strategy. And my background in engineering and design meant I could build rapport with just about anyone and translate when teams were not speaking the same language.

I eagerly immersed myself in the product management discipline. I was reading about best practices when Aha! caught my attention — the company philosophy intrigued me. And when I learned Aha! was hiring a product manager to lead a new product for the developer market, I could not help but apply.

Interviews moved quickly — and I am glad they did. I received a job offer from another company in the middle of the process. When I let the Aha! team know, more interviews were scheduled with the product team and co-founder and CEO Brian de Haaff within a few hours. I could tell they wanted to help me make the most informed decision. I was impressed — it felt like I was already part of the team and not just a cog in the recruiting machine.

Being a senior product manager at Aha! has been everything I had hoped. In my first year, I helped to launch Aha! Develop. I supported dozens of weekly product launches, led hundreds of conversations, and even wrote five of our published extensions. And it is exciting to iterate on our product process with the team as we build the leading suite of product development tools.

Aha! represents a rare blend of folks — technically talented, creatively intelligent, and always striving to achieve more.

Beyond my own role, I am amazed by the impact we make as a company. We do not just pay lip service to important causes like social progress and sustainable growth, both of which matter deeply to me. We take action, mindfully avoid waste, and evaluate how to expand our philanthropic support — so we can make an even greater impact on the communities around us.

It is fulfilling to help guide the evolution of such a unique product and company. Do I miss being an engineer at work? Sure, sometimes — but the freedom of remote work means I have a meaningful amount of time to work on building projects at home. Right now my daughter and I are learning CNC machining and woodworking so we can build art and furniture together. She is just like me in that way — technically driven in pursuit of creating something beautiful.

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

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