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Meeting nightmare contest: the winners!

Today we are very happy to announce the winners of the Meeting Nightmare contest! The submission period was fantastic and gave us scheduling and meeting nightmares from people starting fires, messing up 2004 with 2040, going into labor in a clean room, having a presenter showing inappropriate pictures to teenagers, explaining spacecraft software with a pen and paper, freezing in airports, getting caught by the police in a priest robe, standing up to the boss, sleeping in a meeting at a new job, bouncing between a job / kindergarten / school / nurse / meeting / dinner invitation, reading Shakespeare, and so on.

We’ve had a great time reading all of the submissions and we had a hard time selecting ten out of more than thirty for the final round, which is why we are happy to have two third prize winners. Many thanks again to our wonderful jury (Laura Stack, Prof. Lothar Seiwert, Joe Tullio and Jean Oh) who selected the four winners!

1st place: Mirko Eichblatt winning a Samsung Galaxy smartphone with Evolution

It was funny to read that “the girls were quick with their votes,” and the guys didn’t know the girls were using Doodle. This story and graphical illustration shows the high level of brain damage and inefficiency that goes along with using email when attempting to schedule events and meetings. Of course, being a woman, I’m not shocked the women in this story were using Doodle all along, and it took the guys some time to discover it and “see the light”. 🙂

Jury member Laura Stack

2nd place: Shannon Barreira winning a Branded Doodle subscription for one year and a Doodle Chalk Board Calendar 2011 with Talent Show

This one raises an interesting aspect of scheduling: privacy exposure. Through scheduling a series of meetings and events, particularly like this one – Talent Show, a surprisingly large amount of personal information is revealed, not to mention one’s daily schedule but implicit hierarchy of organizational structure (e.g. which meeting gets a higher priority?), and a hidden talent as well!

Jury member Jean Oh

3rd place is divided between Craig Duckett and Marwin Meier, both winning an eKnife Premium Bundle with 2040 and Chad

Two excellent examples showing how a simple innocent mistake goes a long way and how expensive a scheduling failure can be.

5th to 10th place: goes to Sheri Coleman, Michele Bennett, Chris, Sandra Santiago, Chris McNicholas, Kim Heck – all winning a Premium Doodle subscription.

Read their storties here.

1st place: Evolution

In September, the wedding of a couple of our friends took place. It quickly became clear that there must be reasonable bachelor / bachelorette parties. The organization of the girls and the boys nights quickly developed into a competition between the girls and the guys.

Step 1) We, the guys (about 15 people), started the event time vote with a meeting and weren’t able to make a final decision because not everyone was present.

Step 2) E-mail avalanche – without success, because the structure was missing.

Step 3) Excel – a tedious back and forth process that led to success in the end, but it took a lot of email messages.

The girls were quick with their votes. We were surprised by this, but we accepted it. The two parties were great experiences and are certainly memorable. The Doodle punch is yet to come.

For the current organization of the Xmas dinner, I didn’t want to do things the same way and thought that there must be a better solution, which led me to find Doodle. I quickly setup a poll and told everyone about Doodle. The guys were enthusiastic, but the girls just said that they had already used Doodle to organize the bachelorette party…

To show this graphically : the evolution of scheduling

Caption: Incomplete meeting, email, tables, Doodle

(Translated from German)

2nd place: Talent show

So, I do all of the calendar appointments and arrange client and talent for our company. We’ve got one client that gives us very little prep time and notice on large educational projects. So we’ve got 5 weeks to record, edit and deliver a LARGE Spanish project. Anyone who’s involved in the production business knows that it‘s impossible to get that amount of work done never mind working on a schedule date/time schedule w/ a handful of talent.

I send out a mass email to all talents involved trying to figure out what their schedules were like. Of course, each person had specific dates and times they wanted and/or couldn’t make – a lot of back and forth via email went on. Let me tell you, it was a NIGHTMARE trying to work everyone’s needs out. Honestly it‘s like piecing together an insane puzzle, you’ve got peoples‘ day to day lives you have to work around plus what the client wants / demands. Had we had Doodle, things would have worked a LOT smoother and made my life a LOT easier.

Needless to say: we’ve got another project like this coming up end of November and I plan on testing to work with Doodle.

3rd place: 2040

A few years ago, while working for the “World’s Largest Software Company” in Redmond, Washington, I scheduled a meeting to discuss test strategy, but had inadvertently transposed the numbers of the year. I sat in an empty conference room for a half hour fuming, and did not discover my error until I had returned to my desk. I wonder how many folks will show up for my far-in-advance scheduled meeting in 2040?

3rd place: Chad

There’s no question that it’s not easy to hire a national supervisor for a relief organization in Chad. The country is politically unstable and very poor. Anyway, we needed to hire someone for that position. The regional office of West Africa in Dakar was involved in coordinating a telephone interview with an Ethiopian applicant over his mobile phone. I represent the support offices, and the personnel adviser of the Africa office, a person who is constantly traveling, wanted to be involved. However, not from Nairobi, but from a conference that takes place in North Brazil. Plus there were other colleagues that needed to be involved from N’Djamena and Chad.

As is usually the case with relief organizations, the colleagues are oftentimes in areas without communication infrastructure. If four out of five people agree on a date and time, the last participant will probably return from the field and declare that the time doesn’t work because he’s sitting in an airplane, it’s a national holiday in his country, or his brother-in-law is getting married. We needed three weeks to find a suitable time for the job interview! I joined the conference call, but the speech quality was so bad that I couldn’t catch whether the applicant spoke English, French, or some other language. You might understand why it takes 18 months to staff this position! It was eventually decided that it was more practical to fly down to Chad and fly in the candidates so that the interviews could be done in the local office… with success! (Translated from German.)

Read all other stories!

2 comments on “Meeting nightmare contest: the winners!

  1. Pingback: The Nightmares of Meeting Planning « Smart Meetings

  2. Great Stories!

    I made a mention of Doodle in an upcoming book (Wiley Publishing – release April 2011) entitled “Boring Meetings Suck” on the section relating to scheduling meetings.

    Jon Petz, Motivational Speaker & Author
    Author: Boring Meetings Suck

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