Episode 121 — Idle Doodling

doodleIn this episode of The Engineering Commons, our intrepid crew discusses planning, leading and attending the dreaded corporate meeting.

  • It seems that Brian elects to daydream when in boring meetings, whereas Jeff has been known to doodle extensively.
  • Jeff located a website claiming to offer doodle analysis and interpretation, although the disclaimer notes that it is for “amusement only.”
  • Brian makes a passing reference to the pseudo-science of phrenology, which uses skull measurements to assess human behavior and capability.
  • Carmen’s doodles are apparently influenced by his youth, when he learned to draw the main character from Nickolodeon’s animated television series, Hey Arnold!
  • One of the benefits of a face-to-face meeting is the opportunity to observe the body language and microexpressions of other meeting participants.
  • A 2009 blog post by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham notes the differing costs for managers and makers of attending a meeting.
  • Brian notes a recent story arc, from the television series Silicon Valley, in which engineers solved a technical problem that was of little importance to their customers.
  • Our first key to running a good meeting is have a purpose.
  • Second, it is important to invite the right people.
  • Third, keep the meeting on topic.
  • Fourth, start the meeting on time.
  • Fifth, take meeting notes and distribute them afterwards.
  • Sixth, assign action items, including deliverables and due dates.
  • Jeff mentions a video about holding 22-minute meetings.

Thanks to Gavin St. Ours for use of the photograph titled “A doodle from my meeting notes.” Opening music by John Trimble, and concluding theme by Paul Stevenson.