Our tours of Menlo Innovations' factory floor have now gone virtual. We'll spend 90 minutes together sharing Menlo's history, values, culture and practices - and how we've transitioned to where we are today.


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September 2021 Menlo Bits


Business, Butterflies & Joy!

When one of my very best friends and mentors in life writes about a topic near and dear to my heart and calls out his appreciation for what he has learned form me on this subject there is only one word for that: Joy!

I love how Ari Weinzweig of Zingerman's builds yet another important element of his business ecosystem analogy by adding butterflies to to the mix as the element that represents joy in business. I'm sure most businesses believe they can survive, grow and perhaps even thrive without joy, just like many others may believe our natural ecosystems can survive, grow and thrive without butterflies. And now comes the challenging part of the analogy... does the garden thrive because there are butterflies or are there butterflies because the garden is thriving? When it comes to business, I believe both are true... our business cultures will thrive when there is joy and we will have joy when our cultures are thriving.

Ari offers a ton of gems in this article. Read and savor every word, just like you would your favorite order from the legendary Zingerman's. The article will not only bring joy to your day, but if you really heed its lessons, you will add sustainable joy every day... and who wouldn't want that?

- Rich


Menlo Experience Reunion
We'd love to hear from you, and see you again!

18 months ago, we had to close our doors to visitors. That was a tough day for us – thousands of people from all over the world would visit Menlo each year to observe how we work on a tour or take one of our workshops. Were you one of them? We’d love to hear from you – we’re thinking about a virtual reunion for our former guests of ‘Menlo Experiences’ and want to know what you think. 

Click here for our brief, four-question survey.

We’ve since enjoyed hosting over 2,000 virtual visitors from 65 countries and 39 states who have attended workshops and tours with ‘virtual Menlo’. If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit us virtually we would love to see you!


Last Call for our Story Mapping Workshop on 10/7!
Learn how to create and use a Story Map to adapt to changing project deadlines and budget!

*LAST CALL* A flexible technique for high-level project planning, story mapping is a great way to manage not only software projects, but marketing plans, strategic prioritization (and possibly even your house remodeling!)

This workshop introduces the basic techniques of story mapping, explains how it relates to Menlo's other project management processes, and gives participants multiple opportunities for hands-on learning in group activities. Perfect for participants that are new to this technique and that are looking to add to their tool kit of client communication and project management skills.

Reserve your spot soon for the October 7th workshop and register here!


Rediscover Joy at Work
Four ways to get your joy back at work starting right now.

A year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us missing the joy we once felt at work. The sustained stress and sadness has caused burnout even in those who love what they do. Even in organizations that fared well through the pandemic, necessary changes and continual uncertainty meant pressure increased and many of us went into survival mode in response. Though we’ve all experienced the pandemic differently, we all have been affected by losses and grief. But these feelings aren't permanent, and we can bring Joy back to the workplace. Psychologist and leadership coach Rebecca Newton describes four steps to take to rebuild our sense of professional joy: Build your strengths into your day, focus on your professional growth, share your emotions with a trusted colleague, and rebuild relationships through the work itself.

Read the full article here!


The Experience Economy
By: B Joseph Pine II & James H. Gilmore

Recommended by:
Andrew Muyanja, Senior High Tech Anthropologist®

In The Experience Economy, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore make a convincing case that simply selling goods and services is no longer enough for generating sustained business growth. They argue that businesses that want to thrive well into the future need to think hard about what experiences they can offer customers and what transformations they can help their customers achieve. 
The Experience Economy has had a tremendous impact on Menlo. In the book, the authors say that “In the experience economy, the experience is the marketing.” This is true for Menlo. Potential customers and employees often learn about our culture and our processes by attending a tour or workshop or engaging in any of our other experiences activities like book clubs and keynote addresses.
The authors provide several examples of how the same offering could change in value based on whether it is a product, service, experience, or transformation. The examples deepen the reader’s understanding of the concepts they are suggesting and causes one to reflect on how differently our organizations could approach the process of value creation. 

Get a copy for yourself here!

Experimenting with a virtual office space using TeamFlowHQ!

Since going remote, we have really missed being able to overhear each other as we sit together at pods. It allowed for serendipitous moments where you can help or learn from each other. So we ran a two day experiment using TeamFlowHQ, where you can be in a virtual office space together.

 Each person gets a circle with an avatar on the office layout, and as you move closer to someone they become louder and you can see their camera feed. Using a team of 2 pairs we set up our avatars as close as possible to our pair partner but as far away as possible, yet still being able to hear, to the other pair. We really enjoyed being able to see each other in the “room” and have a group conversation by simply moving our avatars closer to each other. It felt so much more like being together and avoided some of the pitfalls of video conferencing such as coordinating what video meetings we are attending, making sure everyone has the link, making sure everyone has the right tools, etc.  Even our project manager popped in. We could see her talking to the other pair and were able to “grab” her for another discussion just like if she was walking by us in person. It honestly felt kind of normal.

As we worked, we noticed that it was very hard to get the other people in the “room” at just the right distance from you so that they were audible but softer than your pair partner. It became clear that each avatar had a radius around them in which they could hear the people nearby. But the only way a person sounded softer to you was if they were directly on the edge of your circle's radius. One person may get the positioning just right, but at the expense of the other person's position. We couldn’t find an ideal way to prioritize your pair partner’s volume and reduce every other person near the pair. Have you tried this tool? Any suggestions?

Menlo Innovations T-shirts

Show your Menlo spirit in this polycotton blended t-shirt in Menlo orange or grey with a white logo! Use the code ‘FREESHIP’ for free shipping in the US.

Order yours 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.