My Name Is Nathaniel Collum — 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.
Nathaniel lives with his wife and daughters in Atlanta, Georgia, where he enjoys creative writing, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and spending time with his family.
Read on to learn more about how he finds meaning and joy in his work — in his own words.
What energizes you about being a product manager?
"I love building software that helps businesses thrive. The work I get to contribute to at Aha! improves how people work. Our customers do their best work, achieve more for their customers, and get home on time to their families. I collaborate with experts on important problems every single day. How are we going to solve a specific problem for all customers? How should we message a particular feature so that it resonates with new and existing customers? I get to listen, connect dots, and provide clarity and direction. And I get to learn from people who are very good at what they do. The work is different every day — which keeps things exciting."
Which recent accomplishment at Aha! are you most proud of?
"Last year a senior Customer Success leader at Aha! noticed a common problem on customer calls — our largest customers needed a better way to track cross-team work. She invited me to join her calls so that I could hear it for myself. Then we collaborated on a solution with key customers and folks from our UX and engineering teams. The customer response was tremendous — they continue to rave about this work request feature. Delivering a solution that meets customer needs so well is always satisfying."
What has been the most rewarding thing about joining the Aha! team?
"Aha! pushes me. In the last five years, I have shipped over 45 go-to-markets — more than all my previous roles combined. I have worked through our evolution from a single product company to a suite of product development tools. And I am surrounded by the kindest experts I’ve ever met."
"Best of all — I get to do it all from home since we are a remote company. I take my daughters to school every day. I never miss dinner. I am available for hugs, play-breaks, and anything else my family needs."
What is the most surprising but useful career advice someone has given you?
"Early in my career, I got anxious and upset when product launches were not going well. My boss at the time once found me curled up in a little ball of stress in one of the break room booths. He asked me what was up, listened, and then put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Don’t stress — we are just helping people play with computers.' When you care about your job and your customers, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture and what really matters. Things will not always work out perfectly. But if you constantly try your best and keep your customers and your goals in mind, you can feel confident that you are moving in the right direction."
What advice do you have for aspiring or early-career product managers?
"Product management is not all frameworks and certifications. Learn how to listen and how to persuade. Get to know people at your company. Ask them about their work. Spend time with your customers."
"And remember — your manager makes your career. Look for leaders you can learn from. Finding the right leader early on is a game-changer. They push you, coach you, and create opportunities for you at the company."
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