On Defense Against Power-Play Meetings


Almost all meetings are just power-plays in disguise.

Years of my life have been wasted in useless meetings. At a large company, meetings are standard. Get a few people together to talk about a problem. Sounds easy, right?

But instead of a quick resolution, you have to book a conference room for two days from now. Then, you invite stakeholders. Someone suggests so-and-so should attend too. More invites.

When you finally meet, what happens? Nothing, because everyone ends up in a power-play.

Let’s take a look at three common useless meetings and ways we can fix them.

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How C2I Intel Overcomes the Knowledge Gap to Deliver the Lowdown

Knowledge is power, and when you’re an entrepreneur and running a small business, it’s a challenge to get sufficient people-power to catch all the relevant information and news out there. We talked with Michelle Frome, president of C2I Intel, which solves that problem by delivering that knowledge directly, providing competitor and industry intelligence to help companies gain a leg up.


Michelle’s path to providing the business scoop was indirect. Brought on by a company to help build an electronic medical record product, she found that she needed a way to keep track of confusing and evolving regulations, as well as keep up with competitors. She worked with programmers in Vietnam to create the technology that would automate much of that work. With the medical records project up in the air, Michelle and her team decided to focus on developing the software for business intelligence instead, bringing in review teams to help target, tailor, and finetune the research.

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How Mozilla Foundation Navigates Across Teams

The Mozilla Foundation has a super software team working on projects that range from Popcorn (a video remixing application) to Thimble (an easy-to-use web page maker) to Open Badges (a digital badges system that support learning and achievement).

Developer Jon Buckley talked with us about the struggle to align three teams when Mozilla Foundation wanted to integrate Badges into both Popcorn and Thimble. Combining multiple product worlds could very well collide into chaos and confusing communication, but Mozilla Foundationis seeing smooth sailing.

Status update discussion used to fall to a weekly call, which was time-consuming, while a shared mailing list was only used periodically for such purposes. The Mozilla Foundation teams soon turned to iDoneThis to coordinate communication for people spread across time zones and for cutting across teams.  “You don’t have to worry about being in the same room at the same time. That asynchronous nature of updating people is very helpful.

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How Sourceninja Gets an Extra 7 Hours of Productivity Every Week

We went through AngelPad with the guys at Sourceninja, so we’re proud that they’re one of our oldest and most loyal customers.  Sourceninja is worry-free open source management made simple.


One of the first lessons of AngelPad that the founder Thomas Korte impressed upon us was to maximize every minute of every meeting, because time spent in meetings has a multiplier effect.  Every meeting costs the number of minutes it takes multiplied by the number of people in the meeting.

For the Sourceninja team, this used to mean 20 minute standups for their four-member team on a daily basis.  20 minutes five days a week for four people multiplies out to close to 7 hours per week spent in their daily standup.

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