Idolatry of Innovators Can Lead You to Foolish Places

Here’s an insane thing I read on social media today:

Post by @inspiringselfcompassion
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The fellow who blocked the account above, Michael Darius, includes Apple pioneer, skeuomorph, and protégé of Steve Jobs in his Twitter bio. His actual opinion regarding taking notes during meetings is literally this:

Suffice it to say, design meetings are not a criminal conspiracy. His subsequent comment about the copious note taking that occurred after those meetings exposes the absurdity of the practice he’s touting.

I can’t recommend the practice of taking notes during meetings highly enough. Whether you’re an pen-and-paper note taker (my preference), or someone who types notes on a laptop on-the-fly, you’ll be far more likely that you’ll know not just what you need to do, but how your work connects to the work of others if you capture the right information. Depending on your role (and I’ve found this to be more and more true as I’ve gone further in management), if you distribute your notes you can become the person that doesn’t just keep track of agendas, but the person who sets and drives them as well. Depending only on your memory in a professional context is effectively trying to work with both hands tied behind your back. And that’s before you even get into meeting length, subject, or any other attributes of meetings at work.

Taking notes isn’t merely about recall, but reuse. One of the original reasons I started blogging 20 years ago was to have a public place to capture things for future use for myself. Writing blog posts about how I solved particular programming challenges over time gave me a resource that I could and did search to accelerate solving similar problems in new contexts as I moved around during the course of my career. While the earliest blog posts weren’t about meetings per se, they did ultimately lead to my taking more notes in meetings.

Being a working professional is challenging enough without having to deal with cult-like hangups regarding note taking from the Dariuses of the work world. Do what you need to do in order to put your best foot forward at work. No employer who would impose such an arbitrary, stupid, and ultimately discriminatory requirement on how you process information at work is worthy of your time.