Sunday 3 p.m.–3:50 p.m. Showing the Costs of Meetings and Finding a Better Way

Drew Sullivan

Audience level:


We've all sat through boring/wasteful meetings. I wanted to find a solution. So I made a Python app that connects with the Google Calendar API, gets all the events in a period and posts the costs of each event to Slack. A following poll asks if it was worth the costs. I would like to describe how it was made and how we can make meetings valuable and engaging, instead of boring wastes of time.


Here's a link to the code, which I'm still cleaning up. Please offer feedback - I'm always looking to get better.

As engineers, we like writing code. We feel burdened by meetings. There are a lot of problems associated with meetings. The biggest three are:

  • Was time spent at a meeting spent wisely?
  • Were the ideas from the meeting put into action and followed through with, or did they just wash over everyone that attended?
  • Did the meeting change anything, or was it just an expensive, in-person email?

To help solve the problem, I did two things. I created an app using Python 2.7, the Google Calendar API, and the Slack APIs to show the money and time costs of meetings. And, I researched how to make meetings as productive as possible.

The intention behind the talk is to show developers how to work with Python, and the Google Calendar and Slack APIs to build the app and to describe how to get the most out of meetings, increasing productivity throughout an organization.

In small groups around my office, I've shared my app. The data that pops out at a meetings' conclusion (ex. time cost: 4:00, monetary cost: $375) and the following poll have revealed that most participants do not think meetings are worth the time or money. If anything, my app provides a tiny bit of awareness and can be used to push for little social changes to make things better.

Presentation Slides