Weekly All Hands Meeting

I worked at a number of startups and big companies before becoming a venture capitalist.

I’ve brought with me a number of lessons I try to keep in my brian so I remember what it was all about. But often I learn the best things from our portfolio companies.

An example of something I’ve learned from our portfolio companies is the weekly all hands meeting. I wish we did this at my previous startups. Like it sounds, the meeting is where you bring the entire company together every single week. For the most part, the all hands meeting is a place to discuss a number of things:

  • update everyone on company goals and progress
  • update each other on what everyone is working on
  • opportunity for employees to ask the ceo/founders questions or concerns
  • demonstrate new things

Some of our portfolio companies invite their investors to attend or talk at these weekly meetings about various topics or just q&a. I always enjoy those sessions. 

The weekly all hands meeting makes a huge difference with culture, moral and communication. The key of good weekly meetings vs not good are transparency and consistency. Those are the essential ingredients. 

These meetings are important even in the earliest days. I asked David Karp (Tumblr founder and ceo) about this topic last night and he told me:

One of my biggest regrets is waiting until we were about 20 people to start holding regular weekly All Teams. Getting up there in front of so many people I adored was overwhelming, and my first attempt was hardly inspiring. I realized I could have had three years of practice, and a chance to work my way up to the big team, if I’d started earlier.

And as you grow you should keep them going. I’m told Google still has the weekly all hands meeting. Twitter has about 900 employees and they have “Tea Time” every single week. 

I’d love to hear from other folks things that make a great weekly all hands meeting. Such an important thing to do. 

Update: I asked Dennis Crowley (cofounder and ceo at foursquare) about his all hands meeting. Here’s what dennis told me:

i try to walk people thru:  new hire intros (everyone says 3 sentences about themselves), team updates (product, eng, community, talent, etc), then usually there’s one 5-8 min presentation from someone on the team (“noah is going to walk us thru monetization roadmap”) and then end on Q&A.

Dennis also emphasized the importance of using the time wisely especially as the company grows larger. Great point.

* * * 

(disclosure: our firm is an investor in Twitter, Tumblr and Foursquare.)

  1. beurer-mg-260 reblogged this from bijan
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  5. vpadios reblogged this from emergentfutures and added:
    Wonderful insight on how leadership can grow organically with a startup.
  6. emergentfutures reblogged this from bijan
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  9. misterchu said: Good. But change your brian for your brain (although I have known many nice brians….)
  10. david-noel reblogged this from bijan and added:
    Love these. Our All Hands are monthly are just like what Dens said, Alex walks us through the overall company progress...
  11. cynthiaschames said: I’m also a big fan of All Hands. It seems rather silly to call it such a grandiose name when you’re all of 3-4 people, but in my opinion those early stages are when it’s even more imperative to all be & remain on the same page. Good post.
  12. lilly reblogged this from bijan and added:
    Nice post from Bijan on the value of Weekly All Hands meetings — I totally agree with the value of these, had them at...
  13. bijan posted this
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