2018 is coming to a close, and we here at productboard have a lot to celebrate! And we’re glad to get a little rest as well. As we take stock of the year, I thought I’d take a page from Alicia Dixon in our recently released eBook, when she stressed the importance of always learning and to “keep fresh by exposing yourself to new ideas or concepts.” So I asked some of the amazing folks over here what they learned or took away from 2018.

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Ashley, who runs all of our awesome events said that she felt like, for the first time, she was able to connect all the dots on her colorful resume and experience to find a passion for running events!

“I realized my greatest strength is connecting with humans face to face and to listen.”

Ashley says it was particularly important to her because, “I was always a little jealous of those with technical skills, the folks who made a career out of what they trained for in college. But now I know that soft skills, like mine, can be harder to learn and I’ve learned them really well!. That’s how I was able to quit my job and move to a foreign country all by myself without much worry.” Ashley is looking forward to connecting with current and new customers to help them make products that matter, and she’s also looking forward to relocating her mom to Prague and more traveling!

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Winston, who runs product marketing, has jumped back into his artistic pursuits and picked up his camera again!

“I am more observant now. I’ve re-learned how to switch into “slow mode,” taking note of the interesting things around me instead of hustling straight past.”

For Winston, re-engaging with the world around him provides a great counterbalance to all the time spent in the digital universe. It’s also inspired him to redesign the spaces he spends the most time in, and invest in art that brings personal meaning. For anyone interested in doing the same, see the book Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton.

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Karel, one of our frontend developers, flew on a plane for the first time!

“It was a life changing experience for me and made me change my mind about traveling!”

So Karel’s first trip on an airplane was thanks to productboard as it was for our annual retreat in Sicily. He loved it so much that, soon after, he hopped on a flight to visit our productboard San Francisco office. He’s also spent time learning about GraphQL server and is really excited to implement into some amazing features next year.

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Tereza, who runs our people operations, is always learning! This year, she joined productboard, her first startup, and has jumped into mastering networking to learn from everyone inside and outside the company.

“Every single day there is a new inspirational book coming my way (thanks to my super smart team), a new tool to learn, and a new feature that makes me move faster!”

But with so much going on, Tereza now listens to Audible books while running in the morning. She loves doing it because, with an intense schedule, she still gets to listen to her favorite books. She’s looking forward to reading (or listening from Audible) and learning more about programming to learn the language of developers better.

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Zdeněk, one of our product designers, also joined productboard this year because he needed a new adventure!

“I was comfortable at my previous job, but I needed a new challenge and wanted to learn how to build products at productboard, whose mission really resonated with me.”

At his previous job, Zdeněk had given internal talks, helped build a design system, and worked on a product from idea to release. But he felt like there was more to learn and fortunately for us, he had friends at productboard to help encourage him along. He says it was a tough decision but he embraced his desire for a change, and he made the move.

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This year, Michal, one of our engineers, ran the Zermatt Ultra Marathon (over 45 km in length and 2 km in altitude)! I learned from Michal that running isn’t a solo endeavor, but a team sport.

“Running may seem like an individual sport, but you’re racing others who you want to beat, or they help you as your pacemakers. Without them, there wouldn’t be any race!”

He believes it’s the same at work and that you need others to achieve something, not just as a company, but as an individual. Next year, Michal continues to put a lot more kilometers on his legs!

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There’s a lot to look back on, and hopefully, you all get the chance to take a step back and realize all you’ve accomplished this year on a professional and personal level. But most of all, it’s the time of year to spend time with your family and friends. The work we do, whether it’s for our career or our hobbies, is important, but it’s all the better when we can share it with those closest to us.

So from all of us at productboard, we wish you a happy holidays and a wonderful new year! Veselé Vánoce a šťastný nový rok!

Monty Mitra Dec 20, 2018