Meetings Stories June 30, 2014

Google Venture’s mechanical secret to efficient meetings in a digital world

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?

Meetings Stories May 6, 2014

Google may be publicly denouncing some of the NSA’s recent tactics, but the search giant might be closer to the agency than it has led people to believe. A chain of emails between Google execs and former NSA director Keith Alexander suggests that the company may have downplayed how closely the two have worked together in the past.

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