What’s the best way to run your meeting?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Why you should push your team to write (and hire people who can write) | A Founder’s Notebook

I read somewhere that strategy meetings in Amazon start with the participants reading a paper about the topic. Benefits: (i) ensures there’s a clear “owner” for the topic, (ii) ensures that meetings are properly prepared for, (iii) ensures that people consider everything the “owner” has to say about the topic without interrupting, (iv) allocates time at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to prepare for the discussion.

What’s the best way to run your board meeting?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Do You Want Better Board Meetings? Then Work The Phone – AVC

I was talking to the CEO of one of our portfolio companies last week. He was preparing for a board meeting that is coming up. He told me that he had scheduled calls with all of his board members and investors that attend his meetings and had completed most of them. He had gotten feedback on what they were thinking about his company, what they are excited about, what they are concerned about, things they want to discuss, etc. He said it had made a… (read more)

What’s the best way to run your board meeting?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Do You Want Better Board Meetings? Then Work The Phone – AVC

You can keep the calls on the short side, 15-30mins each, and that means it is two to three hours of work for most board sizes and investor groups. I would recommend doing these calls one to two weeks before the meeting so you have time to collect all of the feedback and incorporate it into the agenda and the board materials. But don’t do it too far in advance because you also want your board members and other attendees to be “fresh” in terms of … (read more)

What’s the best way to run your meeting?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Time Zone Management – AVC

[from the blog comments, not Fred] Worldtimebuddy.com is the best. They even have a handy little iPhone app.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: How to run a problem-solving meeting

Ignore these rules at your peril:

Only the minimum number of people should participate. Don’t invite anyone for political reasons. Don’t invite anyone to socialize them on the solution because they were part of inventing it–people don’t need to be in the kitchen to enjoy the meal at the restaurant.
No one participating by conference call… it changes the tone of the proceedings.
A very structured agenda to prevent conversation creep. You a… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Feature Friday: Simplified Conference Call Dialing – AVC

I was in a board meeting last fall and was bemoaning how challenging it is to dial into a conference bridge with long pin numbers on your phone (particularly when you are driving). My friend Jordy said “Get MobileDay”. So I downloaded MobileDay and that issue has been fixed ever since.
It’s a simple and well executed app.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Embracing constraints | A Founder’s Notebook

We often think constraints restrict our opportunities. But in fact constraints drive creativity. In team meetings he runs, HP manager Simon Lewis restricts the time allotted for each person’s update to one minute. Our managers have to write a monthly report which is capped at one page, forcing them to focus on what’s most important. W. hen we’ve adopted a tighter budget, we’ve often been more successful

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
One on One – Ben’s Blog

The key to a good one-on-one meeting is the understanding that it is the employee’s meeting rather than the manager’s meeting.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
One on One – Ben’s Blog

Some questions that I’ve found to be very effective in one-on-ones: If we could improve in any way, how would we do it? What’s the No. 1 problem with our organization? Why? What’s not fun about working here? Who is really kicking ass in the company? Who do you admire? If you were me, what changes would you make? What don’t you like about the product? What’s the biggest opportunity that we’re missing out on? What are we not doing that we should be… (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Why you should push your team to write (and hire people who can write) | A Founder’s Notebook

I read somewhere that strategy meetings in Amazon start with the participants reading a paper about the topic. Benefits: (i) ensures there’s a clear “owner” for the topic, (ii) ensures that meetings are properly prepared for, (iii) ensures that people consider everything the “owner” has to say about the topic without interrupting, (iv) allocates time at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to prepare for the discussion.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
The optimal number of people in a meeting is… | A Founder’s Notebook

The optimal number of people in a meeting is two. that’s because its easier to understand and work with people one-on-one. You can give them your full attention, and you get their full attention. Where possible, I try to break down group discussions into a series of one-on-one conversations, led by the owner. It sounds like a lot more work, but its actually more effective and time efficient than group meetings.

Ev Williams (CEO of Medium, Co-founder of Twitter)
How to End Every Meeting — Medium

End every meeting with a “closing round. ” In a closing round, you go around the room and give everyone a chance to comment on the meeting. There is no discussion or back-and-forth allowed. It creates more mindfulness about what just happened—and how things might go better next time. And it lets you know where the group is at emotionally, as well as potential issues to follow up on that weren’t strictly part of the proceedings.

Amir Elaguizy (CEO Cratejoy, YC Alumni)
58 things I learned at YC – Giftshop Scientist

Bring a notebook; don’t take notes on your phone. People think you are tweeting or something.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How do you (and your manager) know if you’re a good collaborator at work? | A Founder’s Notebook

Like everything else, collaboration should be measured by results, not process.

Robyn Scott (Co-Founder at oneleap)
The 30 second habit with a lifelong impact — The Startup — Medium

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points.

What’s the best way to run your board meeting?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Do You Want Better Board Meetings? Then Work The Phone – AVC

I was talking to the CEO of one of our portfolio companies last week. He was preparing for a board meeting that is coming up. He told me that he had scheduled calls with all of his board members and investors that attend his meetings and had completed most of them. He had gotten feedback on what they were thinking about his company, what they are excited about, what they are concerned about, things they want to discuss, etc. He said it had made a… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Do You Want Better Board Meetings? Then Work The Phone – AVC

You can keep the calls on the short side, 15-30mins each, and that means it is two to three hours of work for most board sizes and investor groups. I would recommend doing these calls one to two weeks before the meeting so you have time to collect all of the feedback and incorporate it into the agenda and the board materials. But don’t do it too far in advance because you also want your board members and other attendees to be “fresh” in terms of … (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How we run board meetings at Seeking Alpha | A Founder’s Notebook

No dial-ins because it kills the conversation. If someone can’t attend, call them the following week to update them. Don’t go through the board materials during the meeting we assume everyone read them in advance. No texting or emailing during the meeting so we provide a break for people to make calls or email. Never make decisions during the board meeting group dynamics are unpredictable and an unreliable decision making mechanism.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Don’t waste your board meetings on updates | A Founder’s Notebook

Don’t waste your board meetings on updates. We take an extreme approach to board meetings in Seeking Alpha — there are no updates. The updates are in the board letter and time series charts, which we send to the board and expect everyone to read before the meeting. The entire meeting is devoted to discussion, and lasts no longer than three hours.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How we run board meetings at Seeking Alpha | A Founder’s Notebook

Invite input. Ask the board members before the meeting for their wish list of discussion topics for the meeting and board packet. Send out the board packet early to allow everyone to read it in advance. No powerpoint in the board packet because it isn’t conducive to rigorous analysis. Instead, I write a letter which references a comprehensive set of time-series charts. Be transparent share the board packet with the whole company before sending it… (read more)

Peter Fenton (General Partner at Benchmark)
Sunday Conversation #1: Peter Fenton, Benchmark Capital – Haywire

Great board meetings are focused on asking tough questions and applying critical thinking, as opposed to just updates. I encourage a lot of the entrepreneurs I work with to get rid of the PowerPoint.

Peter Fenton (General Partner at Benchmark)
Sunday Conversation #1: Peter Fenton, Benchmark Capital – Haywire

If you think about it structurally, I think there’s something ideal in a board meeting where about a third of it is update. “Here’s how we’re doing, here are the financials, here’s the progress against commitments we’ve made. ” The second third should be some meaty topic, you know, competitive landscape, potential product road map, any number of things, but a really meaty discussion which is bringing out the best of the board members. The last th… (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Don’t make decisions in board meetings | A Founder’s Notebook

The CEO should speak to every board member individually before the board meeting, and should try to know each person’s viewpoint before the meeting.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Board packet — why we send a letter instead of slides | A Founder’s Notebook

I stopped using a PowerPoint for our board packet a while ago. It was too easy to make minor updates to last quarter’s slides, leading to formulaic results. So instead, I now provide two Google docs to the board, which I share with the whole company: 1. A comprehensive set of time series charts. 2. A letter covering what happened during the quarter, our focus for next quarter, and our strategic position. The letter is 3-5 pages long, and referenc… (read more)