A few thousand retweets later, employees everywhere were celebrating (you can signup here). The ensuing Twitter comments saw meeting advocates defend their merits to legions of detractors.  ”We were not expecting to see such a reaction but so many people have asked for it and offered to help build it,” said Cohen in an interview.

For most large companies, Harvard Business Review estimates 15% of employees’ time is sunk into meetings each year, a number that is increasing annually. It’s easy to see why. A case study by Bain & Company found a single weekly executive committee meeting demanded 300,000 hours in employees’ time for support meetings and analysis. Multiply this by all various standing and impromptu meetings, and you get the modern corporation.

But even Cohen acknowledges not all meetings are useless. “There’s an argument to be made that meetings can make value,”he says. “It’s up to everyone to see that they do.” His idea has touched off a Twitter-storm that showcases the rift between Silicon Valley software developers’ focus on documenting process and avoiding meetings, and managers who say clear communication is necessary to reducing wasted time.

Cohen is planning to open-source his meeting cost calculator, and invites others to collaborate with him.

“I don’t have huge expectations, of people using it,” he says. “It’s a very funny concept in the abstract. I guess we’ll put it out there and see what happens.”

This photo was taken by Jamal Fanaian under the Creative Commons license.

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