Anyone who has worked for any company with more than, well, one person has experienced those interminable meetings filled with people who like the sound of their own voice much more than they like getting to the point.

Bloomberg reports that Google’s venture capital division, Google Ventures, has a simple solution: a mechanical timer that sits on the table to enforce 20-30 minute time limits on discussion items.

“It makes time visible and tangible,” says design partner Jake Knapp, “so it changes the way people think about time passing.” As a result, he says, long-winded participants are cut off, and the more reserved are encouraged to pipe up before it’s too late.

Knapp says he first saw the $25 Time Timer in his son’s classroom.

I figured what worked for small children would probably work well for CEOs, too.

I’m amused by a Google team using a mechanical device: don’t they know there’s an app for that?

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