Shopify Cancels All Recurring Meetings with Over Two People

  • Mike
  • January 9, 2023

If you were wondering what the latest thing that a CEO thought up in his shower the size of a studio apartment that has one of those terrible “rain” shower heads and is now shoving it down his employee’s throats is…

As employees return from holiday break, the Canadian e-commerce firm said it’s conducting a “calendar purge,” removing all recurring meetings with more than two people “in perpetuity,” while reupping a rule that no meetings at all can be held on Wednesdays. Big meetings of more than 50 people will get shoehorned into a six-hour window on Thursdays, with a limit of one a week. The company’s leaders will also encourage workers to decline other meetings, and remove themselves from large internal chat groups.

I won’t pretend that I like meetings, and I do make sure that my team doesn’t fall in to the trap of meeting bloat. Big meetings, outside of “All Hands” announcement-type meetings, are usually a recipe for a long meeting where nothing gets done…but to mass remove all meetings with more than 2 people?! That sounds incredibly stupid. Yes, there are lots of meetings that shouldn’t exist at all, but I can easily think of a number of small and extremely important meetings that included, for example, one person from the key groups/departments that was 5-7 people.

Mass deleting meetings because of executive “thought leadership” will certainly cause your team to spend more time cleaning up the mess you made than you could possibly save with these rules.

Oh, look! That’s exactly what happened the last time this happened at Shopify!:

Former Shopify dev. For what it’s worth, this isn’t the first time they’ve purged all recurring group meetings. It happened several years ago as well. Surprised the article doesn’t make mention of that; maybe their source hasn’t been at the company long enough to know.

I won’t comment on the merits of this at large, but it was annoying for me at the time because I had several recurring calls with external partners, which were all summarily axed. The bot didn’t discriminate between meetings with 3+ Shopify employees, or 1 Shopify employee and 2+ external contacts. Hopefully they fixed that this time, because it was embarrassing having to explain to partners why all of our recurring meetings had gotten deleted.

As always, there’s a happy medium here. Maybe a bot that flags larger meetings to the department head to talk to the employees and ensure the meeting is optimized?

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