My Name Is Louis Fiddy — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

Louis taking in the views at the Park City, UT onsite. | Photo by Aha!

August 4, 2023

My Name Is Louis Fiddy — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

In the early 2000s, the internet was like a new toy. Everyone was into instant messaging and flash games. As a teenager, the novelty of it piqued my curiosity — I started mucking around with creating my own gifs and simple websites. They were clunky and took ages to load. But it was fascinating (and fun) to see the code I had written come alive on screen.

I have always been motivated to figure things out on my own. It is satisfying to learn new skills by tinkering and self-teaching.

My intention was to go to university. But I soon realized the traditional route did not appeal to me and I dropped out. Returning home to Norwich, UK, I put a pause on school and got a job with a small company that sold outdoor equipment via an e-commerce site. When the owner learned I had an interest in web design, he gave me the opportunity to manage the online store.

It was a big project. When I took it on, each product had its own hardcoded HTML page — any changes had to be updated manually for each item. And with thousands of items in our inventory, I knew there had to be a better way. A stubborn urge to fix it took hold of me. So I bought a few books and began learning to be a web developer on my own.

This took time, but it was worth it. I built a new system that allowed us to manage not only the online store but also shipping and inventory with far greater efficiency. The site grew and brought in steady traffic. It was rewarding to see. But it was also a lot of responsibility for a young adult. As the only full-time engineer, it was on me to solve any problems that came up. Still, I was glad to be in an environment where I could take risks, follow my gut, and learn by trying.

Six years in, my unfinished degree was nagging me. So I decided to pursue a master's program in computing with The Open University, a remote-learning institution based in the U.K., so I could continue to work while in school. Another four years later, I had my degree — plus a decade of experience as a developer.

I learned that achievement is not always linear — with the right opportunities and determination, you can chart a different path to success.

After 10 years with the same company, I was ready to move on to something new. My wife and I got the impulse to travel, so we saved up, quit our jobs, and headed to Asia and Australia for about a year. From there we came to New Zealand. Falling in love with its natural beauty and laid-back vibe, we decided to stay.

I worked at an agency, then with a lease accounting software company. I built solid experience, but I was craving something more exciting like my first role. That is when Aha! engineer Jeremy Wells posted an open position to an online group for New Zealand developers. He spoke highly of the company, and as I dug in I was amazed by the product. I remember watching a video of Dr. Chris Waters demonstrating the Aha! Develop planning poker extension — as he saved some code, the app updated instantaneously. It was impressive tech. And I wanted to work on it.

Since joining, I have gotten to work on a wide variety of features across the Aha! product suite — which always keeps me energized. A standout project was helping to develop our SAFe® program board. The functionality is somewhat niche, but the go-to-market launch garnered a lot of attention from our product-building community. It is a great feeling to see such enthusiastic interest in what we are building.

I have also realized how important it is to surround yourself with people who are more knowledgeable than you. The work we do here is challenging. But everyone on the engineering team is incredibly capable and happy to help (yet exceedingly humble).

At Aha! everyone wants you to succeed. This is infectious — you cannot help but cheer everyone else on, too.

Aha! folks come from all sorts of places and backgrounds. What matters is how we can achieve our best together where we are at right now. This level of team spirit and support was not always present early in my career. I am grateful to have had such unique and formative job experiences — but it is clear that the Aha! team is also something rare to be a part of.

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

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