July 22, 2006
@ 12:42 AM

It's been one of those weeks where it feels like I spent more time sitting in meetings or composing meeting notes than actually doing productive work. Wonder what it's like? Read the post Fireside Chat with Khoi Vinh and Jeffrey Veen: “In-house vs. on your own” on the 37 Signals blog which is excerpted below

About the chatters
Khoi Vinh is Design Director at the NY Times and creator of Subtraction.com. Previously, he was a founding partner at Behavior. Jeffrey Veen is Product Director for Measure Map, now owned by Google. Previously, he was a founding partner at Adaptive Path.

Matt and Jason from 37signals moderated.

Matt L.
Khoi, what’s the biggest difference between your typical work day now versus when you were at Behavior? And Jeff, what’s been the biggest change since your shift from Adaptive Path to Google? What do you like better about your new job? What do you miss about your old one?
Jeffrey V.
Khoi V.
Meetings is right.
Jeffrey V.
At a large orgainzation, communication is different than in a small team.
Khoi V.
There are a lot of meetings for me — sometimes that’s about 60% of my week.
Jeffrey V.
Yeah, that sounds like my schedule.
Matt L.
What % of these meetings are necessary/productive?
Jeffrey V.
Hmmm… I’m not sure I could quantify that.
Khoi V.
I’d say about 90% of the meetings I attend are necessary and productive. There are very few time wasters.

In a way, I’ve come to see meetings as central to the success of the design group I lead. They’re my opportunity to articulate the hows and whys of the design process.
Jeffrey V.
Meetings are a byproduct of scale,

For example, when we were working on Measure Map, we could come to a conclusion with five people very quickly, and launch something new.
Jeffrey V.
But at Google, there are far more dependencies.

What I miss from my old days on the XML team at Microsoft is that I often would take a day off from meetings and either shut myself in the office to get work done or work from home. Somewhere along the line I lost that habit and now every day I spend most of the day either in meetings or killing time between meetings.


Saturday, July 22, 2006 6:40:22 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
Do what I used to do, just block out two entire days plus one morning and one afternoon in your calender so people can't schedule you. If they really want you in those times they'll make the effort to come to you and ask personally at which point you can be the good guy and reschedule your "other meetings".

I know it sounds a bit dilbert, but you'll get stuff done.

I tell ya, it's not the meetings that are the killer, but the lack of time in between them to get back in the zone.
Saturday, July 22, 2006 7:08:49 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
An apropos comic that appeared just yesterday:

Ricky Dhatt
Tuesday, July 25, 2006 10:28:32 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
>I tell ya, it's not the meetings that are the killer, but the lack of time in between them to get back in the zone.

Exactly. That's the most frustrating part of meeting hell. I'm going to have to start blocking off entire days and working from home to get things done.
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