Episode 115

Invitation to a Blame Party


April 26th, 2013

1 hr 39 mins 21 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

TOPIC: Fixing the Culture of Meetings

This week, Dan and Merlin address the problems with meetings, and how we can each choose to improve them.

Ten quick ideas?

  1. Purpose
  2. Agenda
  3. Grazing Policy
  4. Hard Edges
  5. Scheduling Guests
  6. Timekeeper
  7. No Ratholes
  8. Focus
  9. Follow-Up
  10. Consistency

Links for this episode:

  • [SPONSOR] Stock Photos, Royalty-Free Images and Vectors - Shutterstock
    Over 25 million stock photos, illustrations, vectors, and videos
  • [VIDEO] Merlin Mann - "Broken Meetings (and how you'll fix them)"
    There's a big elephant in the office today that's becoming harder to ignore—meetings.Even the best meetings can eat up massive person-hours, but those really awful ones will just kill you. You know the type.Those time-wasting, rudderless, repetitious, zombie meetings where "deep dives," "drill downs," and "face time" often mean much is debated, little is accomplished, and everybody leaves feeling broken--AND, often as not, late for their next meeting.In the premiere of this all-new presentation, Merlin Mann attacks Bad Meeting Culture with the same brand of practical, funny, and thought-provoking advice that his popular Inbox Zero talks brought to the topic of email.
  • [SLIDES] BROKEN MEETINGS (and how you'll fix them)
  • [ESSAY] Maker's Schedule, Manager's Schedule (by Paul Graham; 2009)
    When you're operating on the maker's schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That's no problem for someone on the manager's schedule. There's always something coming on the next hour
  • Drafts - Agile Tortoise
    What’s New in Drafts 3.0Extend Drafts with ready-to-install Actions from the Action Directory! ?Drafts is a different kind of note taking app. In Drafts, text comes first – open the app and get a new, blank draft. Don’t get bogged down in a timeline to tweet or post to Facebook and App.net. Don’t tap through multiple screens to compose an email or SMS. Don’t navigate folders, create files and name them just to jot down a note or create a todo. Drafts is available for both iPhone and iPad.
  • Mushroom War - The Adventure Time Wiki. Mathematical!
    The Mushroom War (usually referred to as the Great Mushroom War) is the cause of the post-apocalyptic condition of the Land of Ooo. Not much is known about the war at the moment, but the inclusion of "mushroom" in the title is probably referring to the mushroom shaped explosion generated by atomic weapons. If so, then it is likely that the Land of Ooo and the creatures who inhabit it were created from the nuclear fallout that irradiated the land. The Mushroom War is most likely started by mankind being at war with one another, but on a nuclear scale (such as during the Cold War or the end of WWII).
  • The Enchiridion (book) - The Adventure Time Wiki. Mathematical!
    The Enchiridion (which translates to "The Handbook" or "The Manual") was an ancient book with codes of conduct, guidelines, and other helpful information for heroes. The book had great power which allowed it to tear open worm holes between dimensions in the multiverse. It was destroyed by Finn in "The Lich" in order to stop the Lich from gaining access to the multiverse (although, the Lich still made it. See "The Lich" for more details.)
  • Amazon.com: The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia (Encyclopedia): Inhabitants, Lore, Spells, and Ancient Crypt Warnings of the Land of Ooo Circa 19.56 B.G.E. - 501 A.G.E.
    What time is it? Adventure Time?! Explore the magical world of Ooo with Jake the dog and Finn the human, along with the Ice King, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline the Vampire Queen, and all your favorite Adventure Time characters, in this first official guide to Cartoon Network?s hit animated series.Written and compiled by the Lord of Evil himself, The Adventure Time Encyclopaedia matches the playful, subversive tone of the series, detailing everything anyone will ever need to know about the postapocalyptic land of Ooo and its inhabitants?secret lore and spells, fun places you should visit and places where you will probably die, whom to marry and whom not to marry, how to make friends and how to destroy your enemies?plus hand-written marginalia by Finn, Jake, and Marceline. An indispensable companion to the show, this side-splittingly funny love letter to Adventure Time is sure to appeal to fans of all ages. Heck yeah!
  • [GUIDE] Success! Install 10.8 on old unsupported Mac - MacRumors Forums
    Hi, Welcome. First of all. What is "MLPostFactor" you might ask. Well. As we all know, Apple has dropped OSX Mountain Lion support for older generation of Macs (2006~2008 Macs). The goal of the project is to support all those "drop out" Macs. So we designed this app to do just that. Read more @ Post
  • Billy - The Adventure Time Wiki. Mathematical!
    Billy was a character who first appears in "His Hero." Billy is Finn and Jake's idol and the most powerful hero seen in the series. Thus, the two are immense fans of him.
  • The Lich (episode) - The Adventure Time Wiki. Mathematical!
    Finn is led by Billy on a quest to save the world and beyond from the Lich.
  • Image Comics | East of West #1
    "OUT OF THE WASTELAND"The things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. A Sci-Fi Western set in a dystopian America where all hope for the future rests in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse...who just happen to be trying to kill the President of the United States. One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel's FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.
  • East of West Digital Comics - Comics by comiXology
    The things that divide us are stronger than the things that unite us. A Sci-Fi Western set in a dystopian America where all hope for the future rests in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse...who just happen to be trying to kill the President of the United States. One of the most exciting new books of the year, this is EAST OF WEST, a brand new, ongoing, monthly comic from the award-winning team of Marvel's FF, JONATHAN HICKMAN and NICK DRAGOTTA.
  • Twitter / trammell: Watching @hotdogsladies' talk ...
    Watching @hotdogsladies' talk "Broken Meetings (and how you'll fix them)". Again. It's the best. http://vimeo.com/15579561 
  • Passwords for the Manly Man
    Generating passwords so strong and secure they rise like the phoenix.
  • Twitter / hotdogsladies: After a mere 30 hours in LA, ...
    After a mere 30 hours in LA, I’m already awesome at casually scoping out someone more important to talk to. Actually…could you excuse me?
  • Amazon.com: The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, Anniversary Edition (2nd Edition) (0785342835953): Frederick P. Brooks Jr.: Books
    Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects. These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system. Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.
  • The Mythical Man-Month - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Brooks' observations are based on his experiences at IBM while managing the development of OS/360. He had added more programmers to a project falling behind schedule, a decision that he would later counter-intuitively conclude to have delayed the project even further. He also made the mistake of asserting that one project — writing an ALGOL compiler — would require six months, regardless of the number of workers involved (it required longer). The tendency for managers to repeat such errors in project development led Brooks to quip that his book is called "The Bible of Software Engineering", because "everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it." The book is widely regarded as a classic on the human elements of software engineering.
  • QPR: Quotidian Public Radio - QPR: Quotidian Public Radio - “Commentary by Anton...
    Commentator Anton Cantrusku has been thinking about technology, communication, and the future of books.
  • End-of-life (product) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    End-of-life (EOL) is a term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is in the end of its useful lifetime and a vendor will no longer be marketing, selling, or sustaining a particular product and may also be limiting or ending support for the product. In the specific case of product sales, the term end-of-sale (EOS) has also been used. The term lifetime, after the last production date, depends on the product and is related to a customer's expected product lifetime. Different lifetime examples include toys from fast food chains (weeks or months), cars (10 years), and mobile phones (3 years).
  • Diceware - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Diceware is a method for creating passphrases, passwords, and other cryptographic variables using an ordinary die from a pair of dice as a hardware random number generator. For each word in the passphrase, five rolls of the die are required. The numbers from 1 to 6 that come up in the rolls are assembled as a five digit number, e.g. 43146. That number is then used to look up a word in a word list. In the English list 43146 corresponds to munch.
  • [PHOTO] kung fu grippe - "Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in _Alien_ - Riddley Scott 1979"
    Sigourney Weaver in…uhhhhh…_a space helmet_. Really very special.
  • [VIDEO] Merlin Mann - "Steampunk DIY"
    As you may know, I'm an ardent fan of "steampunk." Here's a DIY project I recently completed.
  • Dr. Nick (The Simpsons) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Dr. Nick Riviera, usually referred to as Dr. Nick, is a recurring fictional character in the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. He is voiced by Hank Azaria, and first appeared in the episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car". Dr. Nick is an inept quack physician, and a satire of incompetent medical professionals. Dr. Nick is known for his exclamation of "Hi, everybody!" upon entering a scene, which is immediately followed by the other characters present with, "Hi, Dr. Nick!", with one exception: in "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", Mr. Burns replies with "Ho, mersimp son!", but with the same inflection as the usual greeting.
  • Pain & Gain (2013)
    A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by Shutterstock (use code "BACKTOWORK4" for 30% off).