The Bigger Picture – The Get Ready Pt. 2

March 19, 2012 Posted by David Merritt No Comments


Everything. Leads. Right. Back. To. JOY.

I had more and more questions about agile software development. The lean business model. Business model generation. Whatever you want to call it. Steve Blank’s book, The Four Steps to Epiphany, had sparked this little engine. It was a concept I had been learning more and more about over the last two to three months. On July 1st, I was asking the
right guy. Richard Sheridan is one of the founders of Menlo Innovations, a company widely known for its unique approach to software development. I wanted to get some expert advice on agile development when designing a website/product using freelance designers and developers. So these guys aren’t in house and budget is a concern. (I guess budget is always a concern) Buy-in, another concern as well.

You know those times when you ask someone you respect and admire to give you advice about something specific. And they give you an answer that doesn’t necessarily answer your question, but it somehow answers your question and a plethora of others if you look at it through a bigger lens. Mr. Sheridan’s feedback had nothing to do with software development. It had nothing to do with websites or user tests. Absolutely nothing.

However, his response had everything to do with software development. It had everything to do with websites and user tests.

He quickly reminded me what Menlo’s mission was. Why they do the things that they do. Why they exist.

Menlo’s mission is to “end human suffering as it relates to technology.” Everything Menlo does centers around the business value of JOY. Menlo’s team receives joy when their software sees the light of day, is widely adopted, and enjoyably used by the people it was intended for.

His point was getting clearer. He then took his hand and pointed directly to my heart. “People are going to invest in you because of this. Product and profits are important. But those are outcomes. But it’s all about this. The passion. You have to lead with this. Figure out your why. I’m pretty sure you already know what it is. I can sense it when you talk. But make sure you find that story and are able to tell it like no other. And that’s the story you should never stop telling.”

Some may say that he didn’t answer the question. I beg to differ. I went home and wrote a one page “why” statement with my heart. After I finished, I was pretty sure the rest would take care of itself.

I look forward to sharing that one page document sometime soon. Check back later this week to see what video Richard Sheridan recommended I watch to bring his point home.

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