In June 2014, two of our engineers went into the heart of the engineering culture in America to investigate and convey the secret recipe for the perfect software company. This is their story.
“We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are very powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large.” (Numbers 13:27)
One of the biggest Edison’s inventions, if not the biggest one, isn’t tied to electricity, light bulb, or something similar, but to the thing which was the cause of all Edison’s further discoveries. Specifically, during the 70s of the 19th century Edison opened the first industrial research laboratory (Industrial Research Lab). The laboratory was located in Menlo Park, Raritan Township, New Jersey with the intention to produce constant technological innovation and improvement. It doesn’t matter whether this was the first technologically important laboratory. What is important is that it is one of the most famous images of a new way of thinking about innovation, in this case the technological, which was born at the end of the 19th century in America.
Specifically, this laboratory is separated from the educational institutions, its goal is not the education of youth, nor does it aim toward solution of the particular problem. It is focused on the constant production of new technological inventions from any sphere available to science, inventions which would be patented or sold, in order to be able to engage in further production of new, more modern, more advanced inventions. Namely, this laboratory is focused on a constant technological production, which is possible because of the profit it accumulates and thus is focused on profit. The first objective of this laboratory, whether profit or technological innovation, really doesn’t matter; and it is probably irrelevant to ask. The profit and constant technological innovation are mutually dependent. In order to constantly innovate, laboratory needs profit, and in order to have profit it would have to constantly innovate.
The initial capital gain for this lab was the sale of the first major Edison’s invention, Quadruplex Telegraph. Throughout its history, this laboratory has had a multitude of inventions, it replaced many of its employees (one of the employees was also Tesla. It should also be noted that the holder of all patents generated in the laboratory was Edison as the main and sole founder. In other words, he was the beneficial owner of everything intellectual and practical generated in the laboratory.) It can be assumed that the laboratory went through many crises, until finally one day it reached its final termination, and some of the other labs assumed its role.
So, to summarize, Edison was one of the first people who directs a community of people (then called – Laboratory) on a constant supply of new technological products and an indirect accumulation of profit through those products in order to still be able to engage in innovation. In other words Edison was the father of all of today’s companies whom for their final product have a technological product, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s only a conceptual design or a practical implementation of a technological idea. I think this is clear not only on the basis of what has been said so far, but also because of the fact that Edison’s quotes and ideas appear in many books which mold the modern engineer.
One of the companies in which you can find the strong influence of Edison’s philosophy is Menlo Innovations, which even bears the name of the place where his laboratory was stationed. Thanks to my dear company – Devana Technologies – I’ve had the joy to experience a trip to Menlo Innovations. I think it’s very important to write something about my experience. This is not going to be an exhaustive report on all that happened during the trip, nor will it be a travelogue. Everything in the text will be subordinated to one thought which I will express later in a clearest way possible.
So, Menlo Innovations (hereinafter Menlo) is a company registered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Menlo is an R&D company whose mission is:
“…to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology”
We can already see an Edisonian attitude that it is necessary to establish a specific community of people who will deal with continuous technological innovation and who live of it. This attitude is so strong in Menlo that it got an additional turn which I didn’t notice in stories related to Edison. Namely, the constant technological development is equated with the concept of joy. Richard Sheridan (founder of Menlo) in his book which carries in its own title the term (the book is called Joy, Inc.) provides a definition of joy:
“Joy is to design and to build something that can really see the light of day, something that people use with pleasure and which is widely accepted by the people which it was intended for.”
Therefore, joy is creation and work, and not just any kind of work, but the one that is useful to other people for whom it is intended and who also enjoy its usage. This can be understood as a starting point, the thesis of origin, the Menlo axiom from which all subsequent thesis, procedures, attitudes and generally everything comes out – I note again, not the joy of life in the broadest sense, but a clearly defined concept of joy.
I want to establish this rather narrowly defined definition into modern technological context, in which the technological innovation is drastically accelerated compared to Edison’s time and in all time before him. In fact, when you compare a man who lived in the 1st century and the one who lived in the 16th century, in a technological context, and by that I mean, the way of producing houses, tables, chairs, tools, weapons, wine, bread, vehicles and all other technological products was more or less the same. There may have been some minor improvements, but essentially everything functioned in the same way. And not only technology, but also culture, politics and the entire context in which a man existed in both the 1st and the 16th century, was the same. Therefore, the man from the 1st century would not have such a hard time finding his way around in the 16th century. However, when you compare the technological context of a man from the 16th century and the late 19th century or early 20th century, the technological difference is such that if a person could suddenly pass from the 16th century to the 19th century he would be so confused by different technological state of affairs (manner of construction, vehicles, new weapons and tools, etc.) that he would likely become paralyzed in their thoughts for some time and he would require a certain period of adjustment.
That paralysis that a person experiences when he passes from one technological context to another, I will name it technological turnaround. For example, the technological turnaround between the 1st and the 16th century is small, but between the 16th and 20th century is enormous, although between the first two the time difference is greater than between the second two. What I’m suggesting is that this technology turnaround accelerates, and it no longer requires several centuries, but only a few decades for it to happen, and soon it will take only a few years. Namely, the difference between the context of a man in 1950s and 2010s is as immense as the one between the 16th and 20th century (it may not seem that way until you compare the everyday life of both of these men). You do not have to go to the 50s, it is similar to the ’90s of the 20th century. And so on. My point is not to continue developing and proving the thesis that technological turnaround is becoming faster and faster, I just want to point out that this technological turnaround results in a market that is rapidly changing and constantly innovating, which therefore has the consequence of disappearance of different types of organization of people who fail to provide their response to the new technological turnaround, and others who respond to the challenges of this new context succeed and survive.
The question is how does Menlo’s definition of joy, on which they base all their hard work, fit this accelerated technological turnaround. In order to answer that question, I will briefly tell you about the basic features of their processes which are, as they claim, a consequence of their axioms of joy.
Daily Stand-up Meeting
Showing us from a distance a meeting that was taking place at that moment in Menlo, Richard Sheridan, founder, chief storyteller and the man who designed their main concepts, ideas and narratives, said that this was not a meeting, but rather a ritual. He interpreted and explained all the human behavior in the course of this meeting as (if he were) an anthropologist who observed a tribe or a community, therefore, the purpose of the most important point of the meeting was to interpret it and understand it in the context of cultural studies and anthropology, rather than in terms of business or economics. To him, these points are important afterwards. The gathering around the round table represents the equality of everyone, or the start of the meeting at 10 o’clock every day represents a constant, a certain event in the life of that community.
Or, nobody listens to music on his headphones, so that he can hear if someone needs help, because every member of the Menlo’s community is allowed to call for help the whole team or parts of the team.
Generally, all events in Menlo have, as Richard interprets, a strong anthological background, so that every event in the company has a defined narrative, a rather specific vocabulary that can’t be found in the general areas in the developers’ world. This could best be seen in the example of one of their meetings – daily stand-up.
Namely, the daily stand-up meeting starts every workday at 10 am. Since in Menlo as well as in any other organization they had issues actually starting the meeting at 10 am, as the people would begin to squirm, to wait for somebody to invite them or they would be late for the meeting, or eyeing whether it was 10 o’clock or not, and because there are as many clocks as there are people, one clock was tuned and hung on the wall, a clock that would ring every day at 10 o’clock as a sign for people to leave everything they are currently working on and that the meeting is about to begin. Indeed, this is exactly how it happens, as I saw with my own eyes. Everybody stands up and automatically goes to the meeting. There are no excuses like “I’m coming, I just need to finish this” or “it’s not ten o’clock yet.” Because, in the end it does not matter whether it is ten o’clock sharp or not. What is important is that the ringing indicates that the meeting is about to begin. That’s the point. It is not important whether it is 10 o’clock or some other time, as long as there is an independent object that indicates the beginning.
Everyone gathers in a circle whose size varies from day to day, even people outside the Menlo organization, and at one point there were about sixty of which 30 people were actually in the company and the other 30 were from different sides, organized visitors from the university, people attending courses that Menlo organizes and others. At the beginning of a meeting, two people, usually Richard is one of those people, holding a Viking-helmet, each by one horn, introduce themselves and the projects they are working on that day. Then the person on the left side takes over the helmet. The helmet has the role of a token that gives the absolute right of speech to the person who holds it. This means that while holding the token, a person cannot be interrupted, nor can anyone else speak besides this person and nobody can take away his token. This rule is created to somehow introduce democracy, actually, people who constantly interrupt others and force their opinions do not exist in this process, yet everyone is potentially a leader of the group, at least as long as they have the token.
An interesting anecdote is related to this. There was a guy who made speeches that were 40 minutes long whenever he got the token, he was explaining how the company is in this kind of problem or that kind of problem. There is always this type of a person. Everyone was looking at the CEO wondering whether he will interrupt him, even though everyone knew the rule that the owner of the token cannot be interrupted or the token taken away. It is interesting that what would have happened in most companies did not take place here, the man was not interrupted, but the community came up with a new procedure after the meeting (that’s one of the things that distinguishes Menlo. “Let’s try an experiment” and see what happens. In line with this, everyone is entitled to propose some sort of innovation that will be adopted in a trial period, until it can be determined whether it is good or bad. What is very important for them is that something is not discarded before it gets tested first.)
They added to the existing procedure that the token can no longer be the Viking helmet, but rather a 15 kg weight that a person will hold in his hand at a right angle to the body. As long as the holder of the token in the literal sense of the word can hold out he has all of the rights that the token holds. It did not take long for the guy that was constantly worried to understand what the community was telling him, and he shortened his speeches not long afterwards.
The speech should be short, concise and meaningful, and begins by introducing yourself and your daily role on a project. If there are any news, the people are briefly informed about it; for example, today the handyman will come to replace the bulbs. If there is a problem at this meeting they will not try to find the solution, but rather everyone is made aware of the problem, and later the team will work on the solution. When the holder of the token finishes his speech he passes the token to the person to his left. If the person held that token earlier along with him, it means that he is his partner for the day, and that they make a pair, which is one of the most famous features of Menlo, and if not, that person joins the other person on his left and the two of them hold the token and the process is repeated as it was for the first two. Because of this, daily stand-up meeting lasts no longer than 10 minutes, which is really good because usually meetings of this type tend to run long and become tiresome. This meeting has the opposite effect, because people know that it will be short. This meeting is a classic example of what Richard Sheridan would call a ritual.
As I mentioned, one of Menlo’s core traits is to pair up people. There is a strict rule in Menlo which implies that at the very core of the team (programmers, designers and specialists for quality [QA]) no one does anything alone. People form pairs which, in some way, function as a symbiotic organism. To paraphrase their saying: if you want to be / work alone, go home. No one has his personal computer, desk, keyboard or his mouse. One pair uses a computer and a keyboard that is shared and goes from person to person. Everyone works alongside each other in an open space. In some cases, pairs are changed on a daily basis, depending on the project that they are working on and the card, which represents a business goal or rather the task description they are working on that is understandable to the end user. One can not avoid being paired up, nor there can be any cheering regarding with whom they will be paired up with, but rather the most important is to pair up different people depending on their knowledge, abilities and requirements of the project. Why pairing up at all? Besides resolving a couple of problems that have become a rule when it comes to IT projects, which is a negative stimulant for pairing up, there is a positive feedback that is highlighted by them. Experience has shown that a team of people that is in a crisis situation gathers for meetings or a series of meetings so that they would be able to resolve the problem or a task in the most effective way. Afterwards, they usually get back to their everyday working regime, during which everyone does his part of the job. However, the meetings that they attended together are remembered as good and rather intense hours of work. There is a rule in extreme programing which states, if something is good, do it more often. In this case that would mean that the team of people would gather not only when there was a crisis, but rather every day. Just what the pairs are supposed to represent. One of the major traits of pairing is, if an absence of something could be considered a trait, that it does not have a tower of knowledge.
In fact, if every developer is accounted for one part of the job, it is inevitable that he knows that job the best. This could lead to the extreme where he and only he knows everything about the entire system or at least some part of the system. If for some reason he can’t, won’t or does not want to continue to work on the project, the client in most cases can only “close shop” because it required a huge effort for someone else to replace the knowledge that his predecessor had. I heard of the term “bus factor” before, which explains how many people need to simultaneously get hit by a bus for the company to be in a big trouble, but in Menlo was the first time I heard the term “tower of knowledge” which deals with the same problem – the problem of transferability of knowledge. The tower of knowledge is inversely proportional to the number of people that hold the knowledge. If the pairs are often combined differently, as is the case in Menlo, in time, there is an increasing chance that the knowledge will be transferred to a couple of people.
Also, due to permutations of paired up people, the transfer of knowledge is omnipresent in the work process and it can be scaled up and scaled down a lot easier. A team can grow quickly, but it can also get reduced quickly. In other words one pair can work on the project for one week, the next week two pairs, and then four pairs and vice versa. To me, it was quite interesting that they paid very close attention not only to scaling up, in other words, they didn’t only think through how they can slip more and more people in the project, but also how they can easily be scaled down, for example due to lack of funds, vacations, and so on. This is also great for the customer, who may want one week to have eight pairs working on a project, and the week after, only three pairs.
StoryCard and Cycles
StoryCards (hereinafter called Card) are the initiators of all of the work in Menlo. Anyone can write a card. The card has a short title and description of the work that needs to be done. The described jobs should have a business value and must be detailed enough so that the job could be estimated and tested. A written card is submitted to the Project Manager, who adds an identification number and makes a copy of the card for estimation.
All processes in Menlo revolve around a five-day cycle, whose first day is determined from project to project. Those five days are actually 40 work hours. The eight-hour workday is highly respected within the company and it is emphasized that it is very important to rest in order to maintain efficiency at work (I probably would not have believed it if I only read this, but I personally made sure this was true among all the other thing I heard of Menlo and now I am only writing what I have seen). Out of these 40 hours, 8 hours are reserved for meetings (e.g., 1 hour a week for the daily stand-up meetings, which I have already described), and the other 32 hours are reserved for the work on Cards. Each pair receives the cards they will be working on during those 32 hours. The interesting thing here is the way that the time needed for each card is estimated. This happens during the estimation meetings that are included in the 8 hours that are already reserved for meetings.
What do these meetings look like? Before the meeting takes place, the Project Manager creates a matrix where on one side of the paper is a list of all of the cards that have not been implemented yet, and on the other side is the number of hours that is always the same (2,4,8,16,32h). The cards can only be estimated for one of these values. It is deemed that if the card could be completed in less than 2 hours it should not exist; better said, no card could actually be completed in less than 2 hours. This is simply their own experience. For some time in Devana we have assumed that no card could be completed in under half an hour. The number of hours is intentionally final so that the developers would be drilled into the estimation process from cycle to cycle, because if they would allow any timetable to be taken under consideration, the developers would have more possibilities and it would be harder for them to grasp the time that is needed to complete something. The meeting would begin with the developers gathering around the round table after deciding which are the pairs for the current week. Every pair receives a sheet with a matrix and starts’ discussing how much time is needed to complete the first card. The table is round so that everybody could hear one another. For example, one pair determines that a particular card could be completed within 4 hour, but they hear from another pair that they estimate the card for 32 hours. Naturally, they will ask the second pair why are they allocating so much time for a card that they think is simple. Or, a newcomer listens to his more experienced colleague’s reasoning about a card. All in all, the transfer of knowledge and experience is very high here. Also, every pair has the freedom to determine for themselves the time value rate for a card. Every pair estimates every card for one of the available options.
Afterwards, the Project Manager will calculate the middle value for estimated time for a card, taking into account the estimates of every pair for a certain card. This estimated time is assigned to the card which will be seen by the person deciding whether it should be completed in the next iteration. This person is the client. The way this is handled is quite interesting. Namely, in front of the client a couple of sheets are set, as far as I could guess, 50cm x 30cm large, on which there is a rectangle that represents 40 working hours. This rectangle already has 8h filled out which represent the fixed time that is allocated for meetings and the 32h, which is yet to be filled out. Beside this paper there are cards with estimates laid out that have not been implemented yet. The cards are cut into the predetermined sizes so the card estimated for 32 hour takes up all of the free space on the paper, the card estimated to 16 hours is folded in half so it would take up only half of the space on the paper, the 8 hour card is folded twice, the 4 hour card is folded 3 times and the 2 hour card is folded 4 times. This way, on one sheet of a paper you could physically fit only the final number of cards and depending on their allocated time. The cards are laid on the paper according to priority, i.e. according to the order of implementation.
The point of this is that the person who picks the cards understands that he can’t ask for an infinite number of things to be completed or for too many cards, and that he must coordinate his wishes and reality. He can always add another sheet of paper that is 50cm x 30cm large in which he will add new cards if he wishes them to get completed in the same week. This way, he is increasing the number of pairs that are working on a project. Depending on the number of sheets of paper, the number of pairs that will work on the project is determined, in other words, this is how the project is being scaled up or down. To me personally this was very interesting because, by using this simple method, the problems of project scaling, time estimates, project financing, etc. are shown.
After agreeing on how many pairs will work and which cards will be worked on, the Project Manager takes the stage and decides which pair will implement which card. As I said earlier, each pair has estimated a card to a different time value. The pair that received the card to implement will receive the time that they estimated and not the average value of all the estimations on that card. It is up to the Project Manager to combine the developer pairs with the cards so that the cards would be completed in time but also to ensure that the persons in the pair have a benefit from implementing these cards. For example, if there is a pair that did not work on a certain part of the project, or at least one person in that pair didn’t, the Project Manager can assign the card to them even if their time estimation was higher that the rest, because he wants them to be familiarized with a certain part of the project. Or, if he wants an urgent card to be done as soon as possible, he will assign it to the most experienced pair. When the cards that are going to be executed in the next five-day period are known, a kick-off meeting is being held and all of the developers and QA engineers are gathered to discuss the details of the implementation and software architecture for each card. There is no CTO position on the team nor a position of a head architect, but there is rather an emphasis on equality of all of the team members and on teamwork in problem solving. Of course, not everyone is equal nor are their wages the same, that depends on their position on the team, but that is not something that you put an emphasis on, nor is it easier to see who is more important in the team that way, as it is common in other companies, nor are they called up for their position, but they are rather on that position because they are recognized in the team as such (If for example, someone would like to advance in the team, he could ask the team for a feedback and if the team thinks that the person is good at his job, he could be promoted).
After the kick-off meeting, each pair takes their first card, marks it in yellow and starts with the implementation. If the couple realizes that a mistake was made in estimating the time required to complete the card, they should immediately notify the Project Manager, that must, I repeat must, thank them, so that they would not develop a fear of estimating, but quite the opposite, the desire to estimate the card better next time. In Menlo, it is quite clear that in the estimation there is no room for fear. No one is punished because of poor estimation, estimation does not mean that you will give your life to fulfill something in a given time frame, rather the estimate represents a constructive, experiential, rational estimation prone to errors. Therefore it is very important to establish confidence in the team, and that is the reason why pairs are an excellent choice, because the man with whom you sit, literally all day, all week long, you have to get to know him very well. Afterwards, they begin to resolve the problem, contact the customer and then decide whether this card will be worked on within the new time frame. When a pair is confident that they have completed the card, they mark it in orange as a sign that the QA team can test the quality of implementation and, if satisfied, they mark the card as completed in green. This means that the card is ready to be presented at the Show & Tell meeting. In fact, at the end of each iteration, the team will meet with the client of the project to look at the green cards. The client assumes control over the software and gives the final word as to whether or not every work for each card satisfied the described business needs.
The final product of a five-day iteration is always a DVD that is presented to the client who, at that moment, becomes the sole owner of the code or design, and all of the supporting materials supplied to him.
There are a lot of interesting processes in Menlo; about the board alone–which reflects the state of the project in the course of a cycle–I could talk for a while, or processes high-tech anthropology (My intention is to write a separate blog post for high-tech anthropology because it really deserves its own and it is not just a topic that I can only mentioned along the way), or the programming processes themselves (for example, in the TTD is present in such a way that the 90% of their code is covered by tests), but what is truly unique about Menlo is that their idea about pairs and working with cards really functions, and quite well. Of course not everything is perfect, I could write a lot about that, and of course there are many things which are not completely defined, but probably not possible in any other way, nor is it is it important to writing about at this time. Each of these processes can be analyzed in detail and we can find both advantages and disadvantages, but it is not important at this point nor is that the answer to the question because of which I started to write about Menlo.
The actual question is how does the definition of joy on which Menlo bases all their zeal fits this accelerated technological turnover. To answer this question, I had to briefly discuss some examples of their processes. I think that, after analyzing these processes, it is clear how to understand the concept of joy in Menlo the context of everyday life and everyday “… building something that will really see the light of day.” That joy should be expressed through a five-day cycles, eight-hour days, working in pairs, estimating cards, working on cards, work with the client… daily stand-up meetings, therefore, in a very concrete way, from day to day. Precisely because all of these processes and scalability in the organization, Menlo is good fit in the technological turnover and the problem it raises. For example, due to the five-day cycle, the launch of a part of the product to the market is very efficient and does not last long. Also, because at the end of each five-day cycle during the Show & Tell meeting client is presented with newly completed product, mistakes and inconsistencies are detected in a very short period of time, and therefore are not as expensive, because there was no situation in which a programmer was sitting alone in a room for a month coding something, but when the client saw and had a catastrophic reaction, for example, that it is not what he wanted and that it is a complete failure. In Menlo, if something is a complete failure, it is still only a five-day complete failure. Also, the team is constantly scaling, changes its members and their numbers, which fits excellently with the current needs of the project. So all the things that Richard interpreted in anthropological way, can also be interpreted in an evolutionary-market way. Every process in the company’s scalable and interchangeable. Each issue is planned for and offered a solution. Each part of the day was thought of and planned.
At this point, if I were to live in America, this work would, after a brief conclusion, be completed. In fact, if I lived in America, there would be no need to write this, because this story has been told many times, so much so that Walmart is sending their employees to familiarize themselves with Menlo. But after this trip to Michigan, I have returned home to Belgrade. That’s why I wrote this article originally in Serbian, because I am primarily speaking to those native in that language. And, therefore, I will write some more. In fact, I have long struggled with this text, not because it is difficult to describe the processes in Menlo, but because we are constantly raising the question now that I know all of this, what to do with it? Is it applicable in Serbia, for my nation, my state? It is not so difficult to answer the question whether the pairing, or a five days cycle, is applicable, because the answer is simply – of course it is applicable. Nor is the question of the extent to which it is all applicable here. Any reasonable person, or a good leader or team would be able to decide the extent to which to implement some of Menlo’s process. I was also asking myself why did I have to go all the way out there to see something like that, why isn’t there something like that here? And if it’s here, why is there so little of it? Even, if all of the processes are introduced here, will someone again in a few decades have to go out there to see which are the new processes and technologies, or will they create them here? And why do we lag behind the west so much, and is it possible not to be that way? Whether the companies from Serbia always are late in the technological turnover, which I described earlier? Is it possible and how to create some version of Menlo in Serbia that will successfully respond to an accelerating technological turnover and technological change? Or simply leave the R & D to America and similar countries? Is it possible to have in Serbia a consistent, and not sporadic and random R & D, as an exception that confirms the rule that there is no R & D here? Of course the answer to these questions is neither easy nor equivocal. Nor is the answer final, but rather we are answering to this question every day. However, I will write some things that cannot be disregarded in answering these questions.
Literally copying the models, by which Menlo, or any American company works, is not the way that IT start-up companies, R & D, and the web entrepreneurship in general in Serbia should go. Not because it is not good, but rather it is not possible here and we simply cannot go down that road. Certainly, every expert knows how companies in America, and in the whole world, work so that they could take in good processes. But America is a superpower, super-economy, superfast, and super in many respects. Serbia is just super. In accordance with that we should devise our own procedures and processes. In the book Start-up Nation there is a good example that explains this situation.
“For most of Western air forces, an air strikes package consists of a series of waves of aircraft whose ultimate goal is to deliver bombs on targets.
US typically has four waves of specialized aircraft to achieve a certain part of the mission: for example, patrol combat aircraft is designed to cleanse the corridor from enemy aircraft; the next wave destroys all air defense systems that eject flares… and finally, the attackers – airplanes with bombs. “(Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s economic miracle, 186 pp.)
As Tal Keinan a fighter pilot in the Israeli air forces (IAS) says about the United States system “… it’s very complicated. It is logistically challenging … – if someone fell out a plan for a second, everything falls apart. The Israeli air force would not be able to have such a system, even if they had the resources to do so; it would fall apart. We’re not disciplined enough. “(Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s economic miracle, 186 pp.) In Israel, almost every aircraft is a jack-of-all-trades. “You do not go into battle without air-to-air missiles, no matter what the mission is. Maybe your goal is to hit targets in southern Lebanon, with zero probability to meet another plane, even if that happens, the base is approximately two minutes away and someone else could come in and help. Still, cannot go into enemy territory without air-to-air missiles, such a thing does not exist. “(Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s economic miracle, 186 pp.) IAS is different from the American system because it never sends special formation to destroy enemy radar, but fighter pilots do this work, Keinan says: “it is not so effective but is much more flexible.” also, Israeli forces, unlike the American system where only the fourth wave of attackers carry bombs around 90 percent of the aircraft is carrying bombs and need to hit the target. In the Israeli system, every pilot knows not only their targets, but also other targets in other formations, in case some of the aircraft hit. It is interesting Keinan’s attitude that half of the time Israeli pilot is shooting at targets of other pilots.
The author of this book basis his conclusion on this: “Multitasking mentality is created by the environment in which a job title – and fragmentation of jobs that goes with it – does not mean much,” and introduces the concept of mash-ups, which explains the innovation that has occurred as a combination of several radically different technologies and skills.
A similar thing is with Serbia. Air forces work differently than in America, and even in Israel, because they are almost non existent, so it makes no sense to act like you’re one of those states, but to find a solution that is natural for Serbia. Is it a solution to remove the air forces, I don’t think so, or some other solution I do not know, nor is it relevant for this work. My point is that the same thing is with technologies, and in general with everything. You can’t imitate or copy the American model, for as Keinan of Israel says, even if our company “could have such a system, even if they had the resources to do so; It would be a big failure. We’re not disciplined enough.” But it is not an obstacle to make a less coupled system, which is maybe not as efficient, but is flexible and tolerant of changes on a daily basis. And that brings me to my next point.
In fact, one of the reasons for this is that since Edison’s Menlo Park, to the present day and Menlo where I heard about their procedures, in Michigan and surrounding States of America, there has been no war, destruction, exile, mass death, in the past 150 years, everything is in a state of more or less continuous development. Of course there were also some crisis, no one is questioning that, but not nearly as many as those that have occurred here. Centuries-old enemies from all sides do not surround America as it is not as old. The case with Serbia and neighboring countries is not like that. Simply, wherever you throw a stone you stumble upon a victim, or an old arch-enemy that can attack tomorrow. The last war was 15 years ago, and the next is probably in 15 years. Here there is constantly demolitions and builds. The city of Belgrade itself , for example, was destroyed 44 times. In contrast, Ann Arbour, Michigan, once it was built it was only improved upon and redesigned. For us, therefore, it is difficult to establish continuity, stability, and quality in building anything, because always before, after or during the construction there is a violent demolition and destruction. But it is not impossible. Israel, as a state, which is in fact repeatedly changed its structure and representing the country of constant war par excellence, is trying to respond to this issue in itself a unique way.
“… One rocket falls on the Tefen Industrial Park, …, and a multitude of rockets exploded nearby. Although, during the war, many employees temporarily moved, with their families, in the southern part of the country, Iscar’s customers would never have been able to know. “It took us a little time, but we did not miss a single delivery,” said Wertheimer, “For our customers around the world, there was no war. ‘” (Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s economic miracle, 151 pp.)
This should not be Serbia’s way, at least it seems to be so currently, and that is way I wrote about that in this passage. What this passage shows in a very graphic way is Israelis’ solution of constant conflict in their territory. Every entrepreneur, R & D sector, every developer and do what each system in Serbia has to count on, following the example of Israel, is that war, and conflict may occur in the future, which is further or closer, and will be repeated, simply because the history of this place shows it. (I would now go into whether this regularity constant demolition can change because it is not subject of the work. It is simply a constant on which you have to count on currently) Without this premise when developing software, and any other technical products in general, organizations from Serbia are in big trouble.
Peter Brown, a professor of ancient history at the University of Princeton, has an interesting anecdote. In fact, he lived for some time in Cairo, and then moved to California to teach at UC Berkeley. It is interesting how he describes the situation in the parallel pools in Egypt and California:
“Another event is found in me the feeling that I found myself between two different worlds. Shortly after I arrived in California, I went to the university pool in Strober Canyon, in the hills above Berkeley. A month before I visited its equivalent – a swimming pool in Club Jazeera in Cairo. The same bright sun was shining over one and the other. But shone two very different scenes. Entering the Strober Kenyon, I became aware of a dead silence. There is no voice was not heard, although the pool was full. Swimmers slid one after the other in parallel strips, silently, purposefully, with ease threatening sharks in the aquarium. In contrast, the club Jazeera, the pool is spun out full of sounds. Young men raced around it, screaming jumping into the water and noisy kicking, sending fountains of water all over the place.
The area around the pool had no similarities. Around the pool at the club Jazeera women were sitting in chairs, bodies covered with frightening black silk, happily chatting. In contrast, Strober Kenyon women were joined by swimming across the silent, then, when disciplined movement stopped, they would leisurely sprawled around the pool, both men and women with naked torsos, exposing the body to the sun in complete silence.
It was an instant lesson on the different ways in which societies can print their own rules on the bodies. Because the balance between discipline and relaxation surprising differed. Human’s energies were allowed to different flow, because they are young and natrontane Egyptian giggled and shouted over the foaming water, in a way that would be totally inappropriate in pious silence which supposedly relaxed Californians clung to a perfunctory their tour. Only the one who above all value freedom given to the body – everyone’s body – can be exposed, it could mean that one group was ‘liberated’ from the other. When it comes to the noise and physical movement, the message would have been completely different. Accustomed, as I was, to murmur and eloquent gestures, the scene of silent monad in Strober Kenyon me, to be honest, filled dam. “(Braun, Peter, The Body and Society, Clio, Belgrade, 2012)
My experience is quite similar to this, and for me personally the last sentence of the paragraph stands. I think that Richard Sheridan would agree with this passage, although I do not know which side he would be closer to. (I noticed when I shared this quote on my Facebook profile, or when I read it to my friends, many of them had a reaction like : “We are the ones from Serbia, something in between. You’ve got both.” I think this can be an advantage, thus representing a mixture of different cultures, and thus easily, although it seems that it is not so, adopting new practices or processes.) Simply put, some things are close to me, and some distant, like Richard and people from Menlo. Some of the practices and behaviors recognize as their own, while some of my habits completely alien, because I belong to a culture of Balkan nations. However, the technological shift is imposed every culture, every nation, every country, every company and every individual. Menlo gave its answer to the problem. The people of my lands, my company from my lands, developers, engineers and entrepreneurs from my lands will have to give an answer to the problem of the increasingly rapid technological turnover authentically and in an original way or they will not be in the next turnover.