What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Meetings

We’re getting pumped for the Less Meeting iPad app release.This got me thinking…what would Steve Jobs think about Less Meeting? Or even, what did Steve Jobs think about meetings in general?

The Most Important Meetings Don’t Happen in the Conference Room
There’s a few lessons we can take from him, but one in particular sticks out.

You see, meetings aren’t always neatly packaged, formal events.

You’re not going to get a nice Outlook calendar invite every time you get together with your coworkers (and I’m not talking about bad meeting planners who don’t send out an agenda before their meeting). Your traditional meetings aren’t always going to be your most important either.

Yes they’re great at keeping things moving day-to-day, but sometimes “water cooler” conversations are where the best stuff happens. This is where you find out what’s really going on, realize what you were overlooking the whole time, and have those “AHA!” moments – all after the “real” meeting is over.

Pixar’s Best Conference Room
When Jobs designed Pixar’s office he realized the importance of these casual conversations. The result is the now-famous story of the giant open shared space he created at Pixar.

The Incredibles director Brad Bird sums it up best:

Then there’s our building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center—which initially drove us crazy—so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

As a result, you’re constantly bumping into people, having those unexpected, yet inspiring idea creating events. Looking at Pixar’s results, how can you argue it didn’t work?

Now, just remember to keep your iPad handy so you can have a Less.Meeting Huddle next time it happens to you!

quote via Andrew Chen
image via Ain’t It Cool News

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