MeetingSamurai Wants to Make Meetings a Little Less Miserable

December 7, 2011

10:00 am

We all know meetings can be long, boring, and unproductive, but San Diego-based startup Human Potential Tools cites some stomach-turning research:

According to Forrester Market Research, over 25 million meetings take place every day in the United States alone. In a recent survey of 5,000 senior managers, they stated that 90% of the meetings they attended were inefficient, 52% had no agenda, 63% had no minutes and 28% were utterly unnecessary. Have you ever found yourself wondering how much these meetings are costing?

Their new beta product, meetingSamurai, hopes to give meetings a better reputation. Before meetings, the browser-based platform lets organizers create agendas, assign times for speakers and roles to participants – like scribe or facilitator – and attach files. During the meeting, they can take attendance, edit the agenda, assign to-dos to employees, and – perhaps my favorite – see real-time votes from participants on whether the meeting is too slow. After the meeting, everyone can review what was discussed with searchable meeting minutes. MeetingSamurai is not tied to Outlook, like MeetingSense, and integrates with other calendars like iCal.

This could be an overload of features for companies who just want to speed up their meetings, but CEO Michael Saul assures me that they can pick and choose:

“All our features are set up to be flexible – you don’t have to use them and they can be skipped easily.”

Saul says meetingSamurai’s most unique feature is crowdsourcing agendas – in addition to using premade templates for meetings like board or department meetings, organizers can request that participants add topics to discuss. And the most popular features relate to accountability: tracking to-dos and making sure attendees show up on time.

MeetingSamurai is offered free during the beta, but plans will be sold for about $30 and $100. After two weeks live, it has attracted over 100 customers, including Boeing’s process improvement team and Medtronic’s international team. Check out meetingSamurai at our Tech Cocktail San Diego mixer this Thursday.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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