Founder Stories: Lumosity’s Mike Scanlon On Exercising The Brain

Understanding the dynamics of a research-driven software company can be complex. To gain some insight, I recently interviewed Lumosity co-founder and chief scientist Michael Scanlon. Lumosity is an online training program for your brain that helps you improve memory, attention and other cognitive abilities. The site launched in 2007 and reports 40 million members.

Scanlon earned an M.S. in neuroscience from the Stanford School of Medicine, focusing on brain plasticity. Motivated by his own academic background and a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, he developed a two-way street of information at Lumosity that helps the scientific research community better understand the brain while also improving their software.

In our discussion, Scanlon talks about creating metrics for researchers and how engineers and researchers can work side by side to create an effective product, despite different goals and timelines. According to Scanlon:

The one key thing that has really helped to resolve a lot of those challenges is that everyone has the same mission at the end of the day. I think everyone at our company is in part there because they believe in the mission of improving people’s brain health. So you can resolve a lot of conflict by taking a step back.

Editor’s Note: Michael Abbott is a general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, previously Twitter’s VP of Engineering, and a founder himself. Mike also writes a blog called uncapitalized. You can follow him on Twitter @mabb0tt.