🗂The best kind of meeting

Conditions affect everything, including meetings. Amazon notably has employees write up their ideas in a document and share that before the meeting rather than another slide deck. We’ve seen people praise Zoom’s time limit (on the free plan) because it forces the end of the meeting. We know that extroverts dominate debates.

It goes to reason then that changing the meeting conditions will change the meeting outcomes. Should meetings…

  • be first thing or after lunch?

  • be in-person, voice only, or video?

  • include brainstorms, or should that be before?

  • be walking or seated?

  • be capped in time?

  • include physical reminders, like how one CEO had a toy stuffed elephant in the corner of the room?

There’s no secret recipe for meeting success.

In the early days of Google, co-founder Sergey Brin had a hard stop on meetings. He’d walk into a meeting, set a timer, discuss the topic at hand, and leave when the timer dinged.

One such meeting was figuring out a name for Google Map views. At the time, the team called the fly-over view ‘satellite view’. This wasn’t technically true because many of the perspectives were from airplanes, not a satellites.

To save space, one engineer changed ‘aerial photography’ to ‘bird mode’.

So, in walks Brin to find a better name. The engineering and marketing teams go back and forth with Brin. The timer dings with nothing better than ‘bird mode’ and out walks the co-founder of Google.

What happened next?