On meeting effectiveness

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Setting: in Cafe Septieme on Capitol Hill in Seattle. D and I and an ex-colleague of hers K, who were spending the summer as a legal intern Seattle, were talking about the ACLU office, and the waiter W happened to overhear us.

K: ... and so it's interesting talking with the Dougs.

W: The Dougs? Do you mean the guys at the ACLU?

K: Yes, do you know them?

W: Yes, I'm running the campaign for I-75 [a proposition to decriminalize marijuana] and so know them from there.

All: Whoa, small world!

J: [putting the pieces together] Oh, so you must know my friend Pat Wickline from Hempfest -- he does the art.

W: Oh yeah, Pat's great.

D: K, have you seen his [Seattle Squid] yet? It's in the Pike Place market.

All: Yeah, great squid!

J: [seizing the chance to tell a story] Y'know, Pat and I work together at Microsoft, and he's always telling me how much better run the Hempfest meetings are than our meetings at work -- there's an agenda, if things get off-topic somebody hits a chime and ends the digression. [Thinks to self: Pat always notes that it's particularly amazing because they're all a bunch of stoners; but I wouldn't want to offend anybody, so I'll leave that out.]

W, excitedly: Really? That's great to hear! I'm actually the guy who set up the meeting procedures! A few years ago it was all really chaotic, a huge waste of time, and people rebelled against the structure, but soon most people came around ...

J: I just wish our meetings at work were like that.

W: And it's pretty amazing, because they're all a bunch of stoners.