My Name Is Matt Bilan — This Is What I Achieve at Aha!
What is the best way to accelerate your career? Work in a high-growth company that challenges you and puts learning first. An unwavering motivation to continue improving and achieving is also key. The highest performers constantly pursue new ideas and seek to understand the experiences and motivations of the people around them. We can learn a lot from them.
Curiosity fuels growth — which is why we want to bring you personal stories of achievement from talented people. Our hope is that some of their ideas are useful and maybe even inspirational as you work to become your best.
Meet Matt Bilan — a senior manager on the Aha! Product Success team. He facilitates new hire onboarding — a comprehensive five- to eight-week program that culminates in a live customer demo of our products. Matt lives in San Diego with his wife and enjoys getting outside to surf, snowboard, and hike.
Read on to learn more about how he finds meaning and joy in his work — in his own words.
What kinds of projects do you enjoy working on most?
"I really enjoy working on updating and maintaining our onboarding programs. I get to have a direct impact on our new teammates' early impressions and experiences at the company. It is very rewarding to see new hires commit to learning our products, graduate from the program, and immediately begin contributing to the team. We often get positive feedback on the program — that it is well-structured, challenging, and thoughtfully curated. While that feedback is validating, what brings me the most joy is knowing I am helping new teammates get off to a good start."
Which recent accomplishment at Aha! are you most proud of?
"I recently helped our Product Success Associates through their orientation. The onboarding program is designed to help early-career individuals become product development experts who can support customers as they build and launch lovable products. A lot of effort was required to build the program, coordinate cross-functional activities, and guide the associates through.
I am especially proud of the results of these efforts. The associates are now tightly integrated with the Product Success team, confidently support our customers, and provide best practices for using our products."
"It is truly inspiring to support the growth or our Customer Success Associates — I am proud to have helped guide the program."
What have you done to help your teammates succeed?
"As part of my role owning our internal onboarding program I spend a lot of time teaching new concepts and how to apply them — everything from demoing our products to navigating complex, technical questions. I get to draw from my own personal experiences and other relevant examples to provide additional perspective and drive understanding.
I try to be very intentional about providing quick and complete feedback whenever I can. For example, if I am reviewing a teammate's proposed response to a customer question, I may point out ways to improve the response or share a potential response — explaining why I am suggesting those changes. Feedback is a lot more meaningful if you share the 'why' behind your suggestions."
What is the most surprising but useful career advice someone has given you?
"I was once told that to ask a good question, you must first know what you are trying to uncover. This simple advice has made me more aware of how I apply my curiosity in conversations. Instead of worrying about what questions to ask, I focus more on what I am trying to discover."
How should someone keep learning and increasing their knowledge as a Product Success Manager?
"Here is my advice — lean into everything with curiosity."
"Do not be afraid to speak up when you do not fully grasp something. Keep asking questions to gain a full understanding. You might be speaking with a customer that has a complex organizational structure or process — not everything they share may resonate with you. Instead of smiling and nodding to move the conversation along, take the time to get clarification on what you do not understand. Embracing this behavior will do wonders for expanding your domain knowledge and your ability to empathize with customers."
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