Boycott A Meeting Day?

Jason Fried and the team at 37signals are working on an effort to make January 19th “Boycott a Meeting Day”. At first I loved the concept, but the more I started the think about it, the more I began to be troubled by the flaws in the concept of “boycotting meetings”.
Here are a few stories I will use to discuss the subject, : image

  • Story 1: You say “Every time I drink cheap red wine, I get headaches”… Jason F (a totally fictitious character and a really nice guy) says “Stop drinking wine, it is terrible for you, it gives you headaches!”
  • Story 2: You say “I go to the Gym for 1.5 hours a day and I am not losing any weight”. Jason F says “Stop going to the gym, it is not working for you”
  • Story 3: You say “I get a lot of speeding tickets” Jason F says “Stop driving, it only results in you getting speeding tickets, that is no good!”

Now, I agree that the fictitious Jason’s suggestions will provide solutions to the problems, but I don’t think his suggestions are actually the best solutions.

  • For Story 1, wouldn’t “drinking decent wine” actually be a better solution to this problem? Better wines typically contain less sulfites which cause headaches. Alternatively you could try a less heavy wine such as a pinot noir or an Italian wine. After all, red wine in moderation is good for your heart. “Not drinking wine” is just a crappy solution.
  • For Story 2, Maybe before dropping your gym you should look at the other factors involved. Are you eating the correct amount of calories?image Maybe a better approach would be to stop eating that tasty Chipotle steak burrito with extra guacamole and chips for lunch every day. Alternatively, evaluate if you are workout intensity is the right level for you health goals.
  • For Story 3, Speeding tickets suck, but not being able to drive also sucks, especially if you don’t live in a good public transportation city. Can I recommend that you buy a radar detector or just drive the speed-limit? Driving the speed limit also has the added advantage of saving you money on your vehicle’s fuel bill.

In conclusion, “Running more effective meetings” might just be a better solution than “not having any meetings at all”. Maybe we should all try to have a “Run Awesome Meetings Day” where every meeting has a good agenda, effective moderation, quality meeting notes, and accountable action items.

image sources: and

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