My Name Is Toray Altas — This Is Why I Joined Aha!
May 17, 2016

My Name Is Toray Altas — This Is Why I Joined Aha!

by Why I Joined Aha!

I have had the good fortune to see the world from many cultures. I grew up in a small country town in Australia called Wagga Wagga (meaning “a place of many crows” in the area’s Aboriginal language). I went on to live in Vienna, Melbourne, and San Francisco, before settling in Vancouver, British Columbia. Each city has shaped the person I am today.

Innovation is my deepest value. And it has framed my choices about where to live and work.

Despite any superficial differences, each city I have lived in shares one distinct feature: They exemplify innovation. Wagga Wagga was surveyed during the exploration of New South Wales. Some of the world’s most captivating music was composed in Vienna. And the technology that comes from Silicon Valley needs no introduction.

I saw engineering as my ticket to innovate for a living. So, it might not surprise you to learn that my work has been as diverse as the cities I have lived in.

I’ve designed a bio-digester to alleviate environmental issues for over one million people living on the Tonle Sap River in Cambodia. I also created an augmented reality app for iOS and Android to view life-size artwork on your living room wall. And I was the lead developer for a Vancouver-based startup where I built a marketing management tool that has changed the way marketers design their campaigns.

Life was good — but I was looking for a new way to capture and share my plans. I needed a better roadmapping tool for the product I was working on. Whether I was searching on Google or reading through online reviews, one tool kept popping up: Aha!

I was quickly convinced that Aha! would serve my needs and then some. But I was most intrigued by the bigger problem this software was solving — bringing strategy to product development and changing the way companies innovate. I saw the big picture of what Aha! can do, and I wanted to be part of it.

I wasted little time once I saw that Aha! needed Ruby on Rails engineers. I reached out and quickly found myself speaking to Dr. Chris Waters, the CTO of Aha! My conversations with Chris confirmed my belief that Aha! was the ultimate innovation tool. Perfect for someone like me!

But it was an engineer named Alex who sealed the deal. I wanted to hear about the experience of building Aha! firsthand. Alex has a superb grasp of Rails and was fully transparent about what it is like to be a developer at Aha!

Our conversation revealed to me that Aha! hires world-class engineers who are easy to work with and have a deep technical background. That combination is rare. So, I took the plunge and accepted an offer.

Several months in, I can see that I found a company of people who value innovation as much as I do. The entire team is drawn to learning from diverse people and experiences to be their best.

The team camaraderie at Aha! is unparalleled; every person on every team is willing to give a helping hand. I even demoed a new feature that I built for the entire company at the end of my first week!

It is truly an absorbing experience when you have colleagues who work hard and respect every contribution you make. Jamey, our People Success manager, likes to say that he is “mining for Ruby gems” when he speaks with talented developers. I think everyone at Aha! is a gem because they care about innovation and diverse ideas. Truly a winning combination for all involved.

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

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