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June 2021 Menlo Bits


Happy 20th Birthday Menlo!

This month, two big events almost perfectly coincided in the life of Menlo Innovations.
On Saturday, June 12th, we celebrated our 20th birthday as a company. This one felt particularly poignant, not only because of our two-decades milestone. Given the events of the last 16 months around the world, and how they affected our business, this birthday may be the one we really didn't take for granted. Over the last 15 months, we made it through our five-step plan to Thriving Again: Survive. Adapt. Sustain. #EmergeStronger and Thrive Again. It feels so good to be busy again, to be hiring again and to feel optimistic again. Joy.
We're as excited as ever about what not only our 2021 will look like as we inch our way back to the office - but what the next decade will bring for us. To read the full blog post, click here!

Coming Soon - A New Taste of High-Tech-Anthropology® Experience
An open hour with our very own HTA's!

What do we have up our sleeve for the next virtual Menlo experience? A joyful hour with Menlo High-Tech Anthropologists® (HTAs)! We will be setting up a noon (Eastern Time) panel so you can bring your lunch – or, if you’re on the west coast, your coffee and donut - or maybe you’re in Europe and you would bring your happy hour refreshments! The format will be a panel of Menlonians including High-Tech Anthropologists® who will give a brief overview of our ‘HTA’ process and then open the floor for your trickiest questions. We’ll provide a little homework when you register to help you get your questions ready.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn so you can watch for dates and times and a link to register. Or, you can email us at experience@menloinnovations.com with your interest and we'll be sure to send you an invite once the event is published!


"Every Leader Needs to Navigate These 7 Tensions"
An interesting template for all team members, not just executives

This Harvard Business Review article about the "7 tensions" of modern day business leaders resonated strongly with us, particularly in Menlo's culture of encouraging leadership at all levels of the team.

As we move through our work pairs and different client relationships at Menlo,
each of us has to navigate between being "the expert vs. the learner," "the teller vs. the listener," and the "power holder vs. power sharer". Keeping an eye on both project quality and timeline constraints means balancing being "the perfectionist vs. the accelerator."

Though the author's focus is on how executives can navigate these tensions, we think they apply more broadly across our team -- and probably yours as well. Read the full article here!


Delivering Happiness
By: Tony Hsieh

Recommended by:
Dan Roman, Software Consultant

Several months ago I asked Rich and James for a recommendation for books that describe what goes into founding new companies and rescuing existing ones. They praised Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness. I couldn’t help but appreciate the title after having spent over two years immersed in Menlo’s joyful culture. I was told the book is an account of Tony Hsieh personal journey as well as a pseudo-corporate history. The book reads well not only because of Tony’s personal voice but because of Zappos’s counter-cultural spirit. The oscillation between Tony recounting his rave experiences and the operational challenges of running a new business make for a tasty contrast.

The book highlights the potency of prioritizing relationships. Many of Tony’s stories emphasize this fundamental concept as it applies to Zappos’s employees, customers, and vendors. For vendors, transparency was fostered by giving them insight into Zappos’s inventory and customer demand.  Customers saw a phone number on the Zappos website banner that connected them to Zappos employees who cared more about solving problems than call duration (10 hours is the company record for longest customer service call).  Employees benefit from a company culture that prioritizes growth and trust over short term gain.

Though I may have initially balked at the title of the book (Having been taught the difference between joy and happiness by Rich Sheridan himself) I was delighted to discover another instance of joy being a fundamental pillar in a successful business.

Get yourself a copy here!

More Menlonians Running the Experiment!

An update on Project Littleton: trying out QA in the office! Matt and Eric, both scheduled as Quality Advocates, are working on some storycards related to the hardware on the table in between them. This experiment features two keyboards, two mice, two screens – and sitting across the table, not next to each other. This form of pairing looks different than what we're used to, but our core principles are still in place! Reflecting on their time back in the office, both Matt and Eric had similar sentiments: ‘It was a little quiet – we miss the energy of the team around us. The more Menlonians we can get back into the office the better it will be.'

Right now, we have about 25% of our team in the office trying experiments for Project Littleton. What is Littleton? You can read more 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.