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June 2022 Menlo Bits


A Visit from Linda Rising
Spending the day with a great friend of Menlo!

We recently had the opportunity to host Linda Rising for a visit.  Linda is an internationally known author, researcher, and speaker on topics like change management, agile development, and influence strategies. 

This day was such a treat! Linda and her husband, Karl, joined us for our daily standup meeting, took a Menlo tour, and spent lunch with us. At lunch, Linda spoke to us about concepts from the book Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. 

Thanks Linda for being so generous with your time and sharing your learnings and ideas with us! 

If you'd like to see Rich and Linda working together - check out this interview they did (along with Karen Martin) for Barry O'Reilly's Future of Work livestream. 

If you want to learn more about Linda's work, we highly recommend her book Fearless Change. 


Record-Breaking Voyager Spacecraft Begin to Power Down 
They keep going and going and going!

We recently started working on our first space-related software project (exciting!) and this has resulted in us paying more attention to space news. We came across this article from Scientific American and it was too neat not to share!

What do eight-track tape recorders, computers with less memory than your car key fob, and vidicon cameras have in common? They are all part of the technology included on two space vehicles, Voyager 1 and 2, that were launched into space in 1977 for what was planned to be a four-year mission.  That four-year mission is still continuing today, 44 years later. Voyager 1 and 2 are operating and traveling where no humans have ever been. 

Read the full article here to learn how they were built, what they discovered, and where they are going!


We're growing up!
Menlo turned 21 years old on June 12th :)

Happy birthday to us! Thanks to everyone who has been with us on this incredible experiment we have been running for 21 years. We look forward to many more years to come. 

Want to say Happy Birthday to Menlo founders Rich and James? Click here to send them a birthday email! You can make it as fun and funny as you like.


Project Management: The Menlo Way
Clarity. Simplicity. Predictability.

Join us for our next virtual Intro to Project Management: The Menlo Way™ workshop on Tuesday, July 19th from 9-5pm ET. Some of the topics we cover include: 

  • Improving planning accuracy by estimating incremental tasks
  • Providing whole-team transparency with Visual Management methods
  • Establishing consensus on project priorities and trade-off decisions through what we call the "Planning Game"

If you are looking to maintain your PMP certification, this is a great way to earn 8 PDUs! 

Click here to register. 


AI 2041

Author: Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan

Recommended by: Stephanie Nagy, Software Developer

What will our world look like in 20 years? Now more than ever, we are reminded that the future may not look quite the way we expected. Kai-Fu Lee, the author of AI 2041, has a well-informed picture of how Artificial Intelligence will likely shape our future. By teaming up with award-winning Science Fiction author Chen Qiufan, Lee brings forth a blend of fact and fiction detailing ten possible applications of AI that are on the verge of becoming reality.

Kai-Fu Lee chose storytelling as the vehicle to bring AI concepts to life for a broad audience. Through a series of short stories, Chen Quifan crafted a vivid future with compelling characters to flesh out how new technologies might impact our lives. Each chapter ends with an analysis from Lee detailing potential personal and societal implications from the technology. He asks thought provoking questions about how AI will force us to navigate and legislate topics like bias, safety, job displacement, data security and corporate responsibility.

My favorite story was about two young brothers in foster care who were given their own AI tutors. The contrasting personalities of the boys drove each tutor to evolve in a different way to teach to their unique strengths. Using concepts from behavioral psychology and game design, one tutor turned learning into a competitive game with levels and points. The other tutor created a quiet bubble of space for an autistic student to find solace and safety.

In a nod to the Menlo spirit of storytelling, I loved the idea of using fiction to breathe life into the scenarios we will soon face. This collection of “scientific fiction” is a beautiful blend of how AI might shape our future and how we can make those changes safe and equitable for everyone. I can't wait to see how tomorrow's software developers and High Tech Anthropologists® will incorporate AI in products aligned with Menlo's mission to “end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.”

Get a copy for yourself here!

Staying connected to the office when we are working remotely

Nicole and I decided to run an experiment recently of having a video feed open to the office, even when both of us were working remotely for the day. As Menlo continues to run the hybrid experiment (some people in office, some people remote), we've been trying to find ways to keep up the same level of energy and connectedness across that divide. We see everyone at the company-wide stand up every morning, but our experiment has allowed us to have more of an in-office presence throughout the day, too.

The majority of Menlo's development computers are in-office and dedicated to projects, not individuals. Developers' at-home computers are used for remoting into in-office development computers and for opening video conferencing software with one's pair partner. Those in-office computers are set up with two monitors. When one of the team members is in office and the other remote, the second monitor is usually dedicated to the video feed open between pair partners. When both team members are remote though, that second monitor doesn’t get used much and for the in-office team, it just looks like an empty desk with a monitor showing what the remote team members are working on.

It was easy enough for us to move a browser window over to that second monitor, open up a video feed, and have a third “partner” connected to our meeting that was the Menlo office. We just had to be sure that the hardware (camera and mic) had already been set up in the office ahead of time.

So far we’ve gotten lots of waves and hellos from people walking by and have enjoyed being able to see who is in the office when. We’ve also received positive feedback from those in office who appreciate being able to interact with us easily even when we are remote.

- Sarah B.



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.