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The Art of the Pre-Meeting

Surely there must be an art form to the pre-meeting because some people get it, and others clearly don’t. Deep down, I know they serve their place. They can

  1. Serve as a means to unify a team and present a common front to your customers or a large audience
  2. Provide a forum to agree on an agenda for a high stakes (execs, expensive consultants) audience
  3. Give a voice to team members that may not raise issues with ‘outsiders’ around

Unfortunately, I feel like these things are being abused. Over the past few weeks, I have been invited to several ONE HOUR pre-meetings or pre-calls. If it’s going to take an hour for these people to figure out what I am asking for, either I have gone way off base or I did not call the right person. This seems particularly true for sales calls. Am I wrong to think that a couple of emails could handle this? I have some other scenarios that I will hide to protect the guilty.

There was a terrific article written a few weeks ago called Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule, and it summed up nicely how meetings are necessary and detrimental all in the same vein. For me, I am part maker and part manager and I try to be cognizant of the detriment I bring to the makers with my meetings. Mondays are my status days, where 3-4 different groups are assembled for various projects, status is discussed and issues are raised. This is a burden on the technical staff that performs project delivery, but it’s predictable and gets blown out all in one day. There are 4 days left for them to “make” stuff. 

My Shoulder is Sore

I’m 2 weeks out from Ironman Wisconsin and my shoulder is a little sore. Like rotator cuff sore. I’m freaking out and figured I’d share w/ all of you. Guess I’ll get in the pool in the a.m. and see what’s what. Maybe I can line up a doc w/ a cortisone shot the Friday before? I won’t need it after the first 2.4 miles (although drinking on the bike w/ the other hand would be REALLY WIERD. Guess I’ll know in about 8 hours.

Microsoft Retail Stores? Sounds Kinda Lame

I had read several weeks ago that Microsoft was scouting out (maybe already building out) retail spots in advance of a push to get closer to its customers. That appears to be a growing reality as the Microsoft Jobs Blog has posted an entry that they are hiring. It was confirmed in early reports that some outlets will be opened next door to Apple stores. This just seems lame to me. The product they are offering seems ubiquitous in the retail world, and I might even argue a commodity.

Apple is a different story. Apple designs an end to end platform – an experience. Their outlets are staffed by passionate people who understand that and help explain it to the masses. Microsoft makes bits that can be strung together to do a bunch of different stuff, but I don’t need to touch it to understand the difference. Besides, Dell, HP, etc designs the hardware platform, Microsoft is just the stuff that sits on top.

Maybe I’m completely wrong and will need to go into one of these Microsoft stores to be re-programmed. I wonder what their equivalent of the Genius Bar will be — maybe the Voodoo Lounge?

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