Meetings Are Toxic
Don't have meetings
For those times when you absolutely must have a meeting
(this should be a rare event), stick to these simple rules:
Are all the startups here having meetings every day without any vague sort of agenda? Would they blindly keep having meetings if they proved to be unproductive? no.
It's great that 37signals have worked this out, but I don't think there's many people who don't know it/can't figure it out for themselves.
The thing is that in many places it's not obvious. There are a lot of people who spent many years in companies where this wasn't a common practice and they just don't know any better. It's not that these people aren't smart, they've just never seen anything different. Having a 1 hour meeting with a dozen people to solve the most simple problems is just "how things are done".
Let me make a quick analogy.
To a lot of people here, the idea that XP, SCRUM, and other agile development methodologies are a much better way of developing software is "obvious". To many, many people in larger companies it's definitely not obvious. They have decades of experience doing things using waterfall, and most of them have never worked at a place that did anything else. It's just "how things are done".
If you think all of these things are obvious, then this book is likely not for you. For lots of people, this book contains ideas that are very different from what they're accustomed to. That's who will get the most out of this book (or other books of its kind).
And the advice is just ridiculously obvious to anyone with
a brain. "Never have a meeting without a clear agenda."