Samir: Well, let’s get right into it. I was looking at Menlo Innovation and it’s such an amazing company, such a different company, too. And you have won numerous awards in this space for democratic workplace. Can you describe some of the culture and the operating of the company? What makes Menlo Innovations so democratic?
Richard: Well, I think for us culture is everything. We often talk about our culture in terms of intentionality. We say we’re very intentional about our culture. The intention we’ve chosen is an interesting word: joy. We’ve specifically chosen to create a culture of joy here. And for us, while many people talk about happy workplaces and happy workers and that sort of thing, our focus is actually external to our organization. We want the work we do to get out into the world.
We want it to be enjoyably used by the people for whom it’s intended. Well, if you choose this kind of cultural intention, you have to start custom fitting everything you do to that intention. And so what you see here, and it probably starts to express itself in these democratic kinds of ways, is a very team oriented culture. For example, when we bring new people on board, it’s actually the team that decides who gets to join the company. I have no say whatsoever even though I’m one of the owners of the company. When people join, it is the team that decides. And they actually decide by voting. They talk about it of course and it’s not the vote that is important. It’s the conversation. But the team decides who joins. The team decides who gets to stay. So it’s an interesting cultural norm from that standpoint.
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