Ridiculously Productive Meetings

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I bet you never wonder how 3 people with full-time jobs manage to shoe-horn in the creation of a shared rehearsal space for Fort Collins in their “spare” time. If you’ve been following us, you might wonder why I would brag about our ridiculously productive meetings for Cohere Bandwidth when we’ve been at this for almost 2 years. If you must know, most of that 2 years was spent waiting on real estate with very few DONES getting checked off of our TO-DOS. Skip below to the COMPLETION step if you are skimming.

But now that the space is REAL and under construction we spend every Friday going from Oh Fuck! to Hell Yes! Here is our extremely effective meeting process:

  1. AGENDA: Anyone can create or add to the agenda. We do this in a shared google doc that everyone can edit. The doc contains ALL of the agendas with the most recent at the top. The agenda is usually created the night before or the morning of each meeting. We’re agile and quick so it wouldn’t make sense to create an agenda further in advance than that.
  2. SCHEDULE: Meetings are always at 10am on Fridays at Cohere and last 1.5 hours. The person who is late has to get coffee for everyone else.FullSizeRender (1)
  3. AIRING OF GRIEVANCES: At the start of each meeting we get our feelings out. Yep, you read that right. If anyone is frustrated or flabbergasted or just plain giddy, we talk it out BEFORE we task. This step is key. Due to the nature of our structure, we can’t be together or even talk every day so it’s important to make a real connection to one another before we start doling out chores.
  4. ORDER: We go through the agenda in order. Always. We rarely add anything to the agenda during the meeting.
  5. TIME: Never, ever, ever put an estimated time for discussion on an agenda item. This makes no sense.
  6. COMPLETION: We complete any tasks that come up IN THE MEETING. Example, if Julie needs to email someone about a radio interview then Shane and I talk about a graphic design task or similar. This allows everyone to be productive during the entire meeting, which is something I never got to experience in corporate life.
  7. DELEGATE: If any tasks remain, they are completed directly after the meeting ends or get shifted to me (Angel) if possible since I have the most spare time to complete things. Shane will often do heavy duty graphic design tasks outside of the meeting as it’s part of his creative process.

So there. Now you know how we make the most out of our 12 hours/month together.

Does your team have an unconventional meeting process? Tell us all about it so we can steal your tips for our next meeting.

Cohere Bandwidth: Kicking It Into Gear

If you’re wondering what all that racket is, well: we’re movin’ and shakin’ over at Cohere Bandwidth. Not so very long ago in the saga of shared rehearsal space, we were getting giddy about structure and infrastructure, and waxing poetic about Magic Mick, of acoustic architecture fame. (Update — digging up the dough to hire Mick has been the smartest money we’ve spent thus far, by far. As in, spend a little, and save a LOT in the long run, that kind of smart.) Since we’re feeling pretty solid about our sound decisions, it’s time to spend some more money, this time to outfit the practice spaces with gear. But what to buy first?

The heart of the band seemed like a good place to start, and to bypass any potential arrhythmia in the process, Angel decided to immediately purchase one of the more critical components of our backline equipment: the drums. To neatly evade any repercussions we might experience from making ill-informed choices, she also immediately enlisted some expertise. She hired this guy:

Shane

Actual drummer! Not to scale.

You might remember Shane from such escapades as “the time we shut him in a portable room to play drums in sub-zero temperatures” or “the time we made him practice in the living room while we listened outside from the curb”. In addition to being a cheerful test subject and one of our favorite actual drummers, Shane also happens to work next door at the drum store and not only knows what he’s talking about, he knows where to get it. Angel went shopping and immediately came home with this sweet kit:

fraggle rock

j/k… she wishes. #notforsale

Making Things Click
As you might recall, one of the primary reasons we started this whole shared rehearsal space project was due to a strong belief that, just like any other businessperson, a musician needs a nice, normal, properly equipped place to work. Angel already knows a thing or two about outfitting a shared workspace, and one of her other strong beliefs is that she, as the owner and community manager, needs to know what’s up with the office equipment. If the going gets tough in Internet land at Cohere, when the com has been cast and the router is pouting, Angel’s the one that endures the tech call required to diagnose the problem. She is the great plugger and unplugger, the one who talks to surly onsite service repairmen, the Restorer of All That Is Right With the World.

Tech Support

Actual tech support call! Exasperation not to scale.

So why, she thought, should owning a shared rehearsal space be any different? Without further ado, Angel purchased a non-Fraggle drum kit from Shane … along with a series of drum lessons.

User instruction manual.

Adult Education
Armed with a  fierce determination and a high school marching band background (legacy: the possibility of playing “ironic jazz flute” at Musak-enhanced business networking mixers), Angel is practicing. Practicing assembling the kit, and learning the proper grip and foot positioning (it matters). Practicing patience and persistence in pursuit of improved on-the-job performance. And, practicing, because according to Shane, she might get to learn how to play Billie Jean pretty soon.

Angel Lessons

Keeping her fingers on the pulse of practice space.

Shane reports that Angel is a good student; Angel’s report: “Shane is fun, drumming is hard, and OMG there’s so much to haul!”  Her next move is to buy a throne, as is befitting the new queen of all she surveys. Well, it’s mostly so she can stop sitting on a child’s chair with a pillow in her basement practice space. After that: probably headphones and earplugs and cymbals. But eventually? She looks forward to practicing in a proper rehearsal space. Good thing we have a couple of those on the way.

P.S. wanna take drum lessons from Shane? Email him — he’s accepting new students of all ages.

P.P.S. we’re bringing back the local music track sample in our posts. Hey, here’s one:
Chain of Command by Wire Faces

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