One of the most satisfying effects of our joyful culture is that people want to see it. Up close and personal, they come from around the world to visit. Some stay for hours, others for days. They walk through, they ask questions, they take pictures, they listen to our stories and take away inspiration.
Step into joy, step into Menlo
We have moved three times in our history. Each location was different, yet each was the same. In our first year, we moved from my basement to a downtown Ann Arbor storefront. Five years later we again tripled our space and moved into a hundred-year-old brick loft in the historic Kerrytown district of Ann Arbor, near Zingerman's. Five years later we tripled our floorspace again and moved into an abandoned but expansive food court in the basement of a parking structure near the University of Michigan campus. Those that remember the old Tally Hall food court are amazed at the transformation.
No matter where we have been, the Menlo Software Factory has been the same; a wide open space, full of chatter and activity. As you enter, you can feel the human energy. It is palpable. I recall one package delivery person who walked in and said "I don't know what you do here, but I want to work here."
Don’t ignore the opportunity to take big risks with physical setup and an auditory atmosphere. Space and noise play a huge factor in creating the opportunity for allowing teamwork to work its magic. Space and noise can also set you up for a powerful competitive advantage: a team that can learn faster than your competition.
For your reading pleasure: Chapter 2 of Joy, Inc.
(Note: you'll need a PDF viewer, like Adobe Reader, to open the file.)