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August 2021 Menlo Bits


100 Restless Nights and the Return to Joy: Coping with Our Own Swiss Family Robinson Ordeal (Part 4)

Exactly one year later, we’re revisiting the story we shared 143 days into the pandemic.

We all thought the storms would have abated by now and there have certainly been bright spots along the way. We have made sturdy boats from the raw materials of our new island home and we’ve actually been able to go out on limited excursions to visit the islands of other stranded travelers. We have learned some of their remarkable techniques for survival.”

Here we are 365 days later. Are we where we thought we would be? No. But we’re okay with that because our wonderful team continues to figure things out. Read part 4 of 100 Restless Nights and the Return to Joy: Coping with Our Own Swiss Family Robinson Ordeal here. Missed the beginning of our story and want to catch up? Click here for part 1!

Join us at our virtual Chief Joy Officer Book Club
Held every second Tuesday of the month and led by Rich himself!

Join us every month to explore Chief Joy Officer chapter by chapter. Great to drop in when you have questions, or attend as we go! These one-hour long sessions are hosted by the author and Menlo's Chief Storyteller Rich himself. The upcoming session on September 14th focuses on Chapter 1 - Authentic and covers discussion topics like:

  • Why are we afraid to show our true selves at work?
  • What do you not want people to know about you outside of your work life?
  • Who is your worst critic?
  • What are five words that you think your best friend would use to describe you?

We will host up to 15 people in each session (first come first serve). Register here in advance to reserve your spot and share the joy with other readers!


Create Your Hybrid Workplace Strategy With 7 Questions
Create flexible work arrangements at your company

For each study that says 'work from home is desired by all employees', there seems to be another that refutes it. Is there a good answer to this dilemma? There is a lot of data out there about return-to-office sentiments, but the number one factor (as stated by our friends at VitalSmarts) in this gray, uncertain environment: leadership matters more than location. And we believe great leadership starts with engaging your team. What matters to them? What forums are you providing to maintain this ongoing dialogue? In this article from Gallup, their data shows that most employees want some level of remote work. They present seven key questions to create your new hybrid work environment. We think it's a great framework to start running some experiments.


The Obstacle Is the Way
By: Ryan Holiday

Recommended by:
Rich Sheridan, CEO and Co-Founder

Every once in a while an old book re-emerges as the perfect book for the time we are in now. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday is a book that channels the wisdom of the ancients. It includes many stories of the stoics such as Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Is it true "there is really nothing new under the sun?" This certainly isn't the first time we humans have faced unprecedented difficulties. New leaders and powerful new ways of doing things, have ALWAYS emerged during these times. 

This classic book is a must read (or re-read) for the times we are in now. It feels like every single day there is a new obstacle to be overcome in our business and personal lives. And they aren't tiny, little, stub-your-toe obstacles, but massive boulders. We face an important choice as leaders: walk away assuming the immovable object in our path is too difficult to overcome, or be inspired by the obstacle... treat it like the greatest opportunity we will see in our lifetime. As much as our team likes to call me "Chief Optimist", I have to admit the last 18 months have dented that enthusiasm. Until now. Ryan Holiday has inspired me anew, re-energized me about the challenges we face.

In the founding of Menlo Innovations, we chose to "end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology." We chose to "return joy to the most unique endeavor mankind has ever undertaken - the invention of software." The obstacles we faced in 2001 were no less daunting.

Thank you Ryan Holiday not only for the inspiration and renewed hope, but also the specific encouragement around perception (controlling our emotions, and practicing objectivity), action (get moving and iterate) and will (perseverance and 'get ready to start again'). This book revived my inner optimist: if you are stuck in a room full of manure, keep digging! There is a pony in here somewhere!

Get a copy for yourself here!

Our first run of A Fresh Taste of High-Tech Anthropology®

We recently completed our first run through of our newest virtual tour, A Fresh Taste of High-Tech Anthropology®️! We wanted something that allowed us to have more intimate conversations and Q&A with our guests who are interested in our unique user-centered design approach. In this free, hour-long virtual workshop, our goal was to create a low-risk opportunity that allowed attendees to get ‘just a taste’ of our High-Tech Anthropology process. A chance to sample it before attending our two-day workshop or engaging our team in a project. Tour attendees received thought-provoking questions once they registered for the panel to help them get the most out of their experience.

It was a success! We were so happy to have so many attendees from different backgrounds with different questions. We're still playing with our registration limits to ensure attendees all get a chance for introductions and questions. Interested in trying it out for yourself? You can learn more and register here!
Joy, Inc. & Chief Joy Officer Book Bundle

Get the bundle of JOY! Use the code ‘FREESHIP’ for free shipping in the US.
Menlo Innovations co-founder Rich Sheridan’s Joy, Inc. tells the story of how his tiny software company in Ann Arbor, Michigan achieved success and renown by embracing offbeat culture and human-centered values. In Chief Joy Officer, he turns his attention from culture to leadership, and draws on his experience running Menlo and his career to offer a wise, provocative guide on how anyone can build leadership capacity for joy within their own organization. 

Learn how to bring a renewed sense of innovation and purpose to your work. See more and get your copies here!

Menlo Bits

The Menlo Bits is Menlo's monthly newsletter, filled with all the latest in science and technology trends as well as what's been happening at Menlo.