The Meeting that Ate My Brain


Right now, I am logged onto a conference call, a team meeting where one of our “head honchos” is blathering on about data lineage. He’s talking about tools to use, concepts, proof of concepts for lineage, etc. As he drones on, all I can think of is the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. Have you ever seen the old Peanuts cartoons? These cartoons came out in the 1960s, and every time they cut to a scene where any of the characters were at school, the teacher was droning on in the background with just “wah wah, wah wah wah wah, wah wah…” It’s classic in my mind, and it’s basically what I am hearing at this very moment while listening to this meeting.

I think meetings, conference calls, and zoom calls are all modern destroyers of brain cells. They are like parasites that feed on our gray matter yet rarely if ever, give us anything useful. Occasionally there is a nugget of something good that keeps us justifying their existence. If it were up to me, these long-form presentations would be outlawed. Honestly, this meeting feels like this because the subject is just so not what I want to be hearing about right now. That’s on me, and I know that. The reality is that in the corporate world, we end up attending some many brain-eating meetings that we have to take time after the meeting to “recover,” which just ends up wasting even more time.

The idea that hours could be wasted listening to mandatory meetings geared to serve just a small subset of the people attending is insane. My favorite kind of meeting is scrum meetings. Get in, give a status, discuss blockers, and move on. I think all meetings should be run scrum style and if people are interested in more long-form content, then let those folks record their presentations and release them as videos that folks can CHOOSE to watch. That would save a lot of time and allow us all to be much more productive.