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An informal, stream-of-consciousness reflection on business ideas, events and issues in modern business, modern life and with some specifics to the web-software industry by Paul Tomori, Internet Entrepreneur

Bloomberg's Meeting Countup
Time Management Tip From The Man Who Defines The Adage That Time Is Money

By Paul Tomori
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 05:41:46 (EST)

Well, you might think I fell off the face of the earth. Sorry to disappoint you! December turned out to be a busy month with a deluge of work projects followed by the peaceful serenity of a week (mostly) off for holiday time with family. Of course, there's a price to pay for most people's Decembers and I am not forgiven that price by anyone. January, as always, is a catchup month for me, so priorities dictate less time for blogging.

And on that note, today I pipe up with a phrase that is growing in popularity: Meetings are Toxic.

For the last few years, I have pretty much insisted that whoever calls a meeting must provide an advance written agenda. That the agenda is rarely adhered to very closely is something that still needs to be dealt with, but my intentions are good, so that's a start. In the past, I would come away from some very long meetings wondering to myself, "ok, so what do I DO differently now?" and "what is now actionable?". If meetings do not have a resolution of some important debating point or an outcome that is specifically actionable, then really what was the point? As Jason Fried so aptly observes, most people at the end of a meeting "resolve to set their next meeting date". Useless.

Also, from my experience, people usually fail to actually tally up the cost of a meeting in terms of dollars. If you have 6 people in attendance and the average wage is say $25 / hour... and the meeting lasts for an hour and a half, that meeting just burned through $225 of 'someone's money. I have been to longer meetings attended by many more than 6 people whose average wage was MUCH higher than $25 / hour. In some cases, such meetings come to over $1,000 in costs, not to mention any travel time/costs for some attendees. My biggest complaint over long meetings is that the time could otherwise have been spent on building something (valuable product) rather than burning through something (valuable money), but that's another cost whose abstractness makes the damage of a long pointless meeting quite difficult to quantify.

So, in the interest of good time management, I am keeping this blog post brief. And here's an interesting approach to meetings from Michael Bloomberg, who should need know introduction. Enjoy.


By the way, a happy prosperous new year to you. Remember, prosperity is as much (or moreso) defined by the status of your health, than the status of your bank account. Live accordingly!

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